Cougar Craft

Reading, reflecting, writing – Reaching out to the world

March 21, 2020
by StarPilot

The 2020 Student Blogging Challenge

This March the Student Blogging Challenge kicked off for the spring session. Although our school does not have any participants this time I am a teacher commenter for the students who are participating. I will try to showcase their posts and perhaps some of you may want to visit and comment. Remember those important points about commenting:

  1. Make your comment relate to something specific in the post. Don’t just say “Good job!” or “I love your post!” This shows that you really read it and thought about it.

  2. Make a connection by relating something you know about to the topic of the post.

  3. Ask a question to demonstrate interest in the post and possibly keep the conversation going.

  4. Carefully read over your post to be sure you have used correct grammar and spelling.

  5. Check that you have not shared personal info such as your last name, your town, or your school.

Here are the bloggers I visited this week. They were all students in Mrs. Yollis’s class in California, and I believe all in third grade. They all have a creative twist to their blogs.

Pancake Wizard is a pancake who loves to do wizardry as well as dance

Cooper’s Coop-tastic Place is a blog written by a very cute dog who get to do things with his humans.

Happy Hank is also a dog who likes Minecraft, soccer, and dancing and Blastoff with Berkeley is the blog of another canine who likes rockets and basketball.

Finally there is Lucky Ducky, a bright yellow duck who is into soccer and Minecraft.


Students participants are from Canada, US, New Zealand, Nigeria, Australia, UAE, England, Malaysia, and France. More students may be joining in in the next week or so. It will be so interesting to read and comment on their writing. Why don’t you join me?


All images from Pixabay

June 4, 2019
by StarPilot

2018-2019 Comes to an End

We have enjoyed our experience as a “book club” this year with fifth grade students Rheeya, Justin, Virginia, Cyan, Layne, Ellie, Jacob, Sanaa, Jake, Rufus, and Libby. Their thoughts and activities on our three novels are posted on their individual blogs.

We first traveled to ancient China with When the Sea Turned to Silver, by Grace Lin. Students summarized the various stories within the story, pondered the motives of characters, and searched for symbolic meaning. In Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus we learned of the 19th century Japanese wariness of strangers from other lands, especially North America, and how a young Japanese boy named Manjiro grew up to become a bridge between America and his native land. Finally, the modern day tale of Peak by Roland Smith took us to the top of Mt. Everest and all the physical and mental struggles involved in climbing the highest mountain in the world. As we finished the novel, Mt. Everest itself was a current events topic and we were able to understand the dangers the climbers faced after what we learned in Peak. All of these novels were based in Asia because in fifth grade the students learn about Asian countries in their social studies curriculum.

As part of our learning journey we also participated in the 10 week Student Blogging Challenge run by Edublogs. This gave us the opportunity to write for an authentic audience and interact with students and teachers around the world. We learned skills relating to positive commenting, inserting and crediting images, hyperlinking and embedding, and writing for an audience.

The last post created by students was a Bento Box Book Report to pull symbols from one of the three novels and tell how they were related to the story. This was done in a non-linear Google Slides document embedded into the post. We hope you will take the time to look over their efforts this year and leave comments on their writing. We have enjoyed taking this journey with them.

-Star Pilots

April 24, 2019
by StarPilot

Tonga – Week 8 Challenge

(Week 8 Sample Post by Mrs. Ruffing)

For this week’s challenge I have chosen to research some information about Tonga. My reasons are 1) I have seen news reports that Tonga, an archipelago of islands in the South Pacific and northeast of Australia, is experiencing the effects of rising sea levels and 2) I have encountered at least one student blogger in the challenge who said he was from Tonga.

Although Tonga is a very beautiful island (see video below), there are many concerns about rising sea levels due to climate change and warming oceans. According to a number of sites there is a serious threat to the islands in the Pacific. At the site Climate Data Information it is possible to see charts of the impact of rising seas on a number of island nations, including Tonga. It would be so interesting to hear first hand from some natives of that region exactly what adjustments they have made in their life style and what the future may hold going forward. Maybe knowing some actual circumstances and how people may be coping would move us all to take more action regarding climate change.

April 2, 2019
by StarPilot

Do you know about Netball?

by Mrs. Ruffing

In reading blog posts from students around the world, I have come to realize that there is a sport that is extremely popular among many of our student bloggers that I was totally unaware of here in the USA. That sport is “netball”.  I decided I should not assume that it was just another name for basketball. It is definitely not! I found this information on Wikipedia (and yes, in this circumstance it is fine to draw upon a Wikipedia entry):

  • Netball is a ball sport played by two teams of seven players. Its development, derived from early versions of basketball, began in England in the 1890s.
  • Netball is most popular in Commonwealth nations, specifically in schools, and is predominantly played by women.
  • According to the INF, netball is played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries.
  • There are four major international netball competitions; the Netball World Cup, Netball at the Commonwealth Games, Netball Quad Series and Fast5 Netball World Series.

Below is a video (about 7 minutes long but having more than 1 million views!) that will give you an idea of what netball is like. It would be great if we could hear more first hand experience from our participating student bloggers about netball!

April 1, 2019
by StarPilot

Blogging Challenge Week 3 and 4 comments

During weeks 3 and 4 of the challenge I visited a number of student blogs as part of my role as a teacher commenter. Week 3 was about using images correctly and Week 4 was a catch up/free choice week. That worked out for us because our school was closed for spring break during week 4! Here is the list of students I visited. Give them a look and a comment if you see something that clicks with you!

Week 4

Julia, a USA 12-year-old, has written a beginning to a mystery story. I hope she lets us know what the big crash was in the kitchen. Check out her About Me page. She has quite an extensive list of things. Perhaps you have something in common!

Isabelle, from the same class as Julia, wrote a post about a favorite city to visit – Chicago. Although I have never been to Chicago other than a layover at the airport, I shared some information about the 25 tallest buildings in the world, two of which are in Chicago. Do you know what the tallest building in the world is?

Nikki from USA has submitted several posts written before the challenge. I commented on three of them. One was from November but titled Spring Poem. She seems to really enjoy writing poetry and has included some spiritual thoughts along with her description of Spring. She also submitted a link to a January post titled Glory to God in the Highest, I commented that I wish we had a world where peace was the theme instead of war and hatred. If you have some ideas on how to be a peacemaker, perhaps you can share them with Nikki.

I also commented on Eduardo’s post, The Best Game of My Life. He is an 11 year old from Colombia and has done a wonderful job writing his post in English. I have to assume that English is not his native language and I am very impressed with his story. I shared information about March Madness and the Final Four. Check out his blog if you are a basketball fan also. My comment to Eduardo has not yet been published.

Week 3

Emily in USA created an image of a flower but I am not sure what program she used to do that. In my comment I did ask that question but Emily has not replied yet.

Alexis from the same class created an image of a skateboarder. It seems her class may have been using the “create your own image” task for week 3.

Aleira from Australia created a slide show of images relating to her special interests. She used a site called PhotosforClass for her images. That site provides copyright free images with citations! In a second post for week 3 Aleira created an image using Canva for a beautiful quote.

Brian, a classmate of Emily and Alexis, created his own unique drawing and quote. It deals with mountains. Check it out here.

March 15, 2019
by StarPilot

Blogging Challenge Week 2 – Commenting

Posted by Mrs. Ruffing

This year I am happy to be a volunteer commenter for the challenge. I have 5 students to visit each week and leave a comment on that week’s post. I would like to share the student posts I have visited and encourage others to visit them as well, and check out some of their classmates too.

Challenge Week 1 Students Visited

Arthur from New Zealand – I read all of Arthur’s posts and learned that he loves nature, the beach, and long bike rides. I commented on the unusual and colorful background he has for his blog. His teacher has not yet approved my comment to him.

Tylah from New Zealand – He likes KFC and fish and all sports. I asked if he ever went fishing and ate fish that he caught. KFC seems to be popular in NZ like it is in USA. Here is the KFC menu in New Zealand. Do they have they same menu as in the US?

Molly from New Zealand – She has a great “Where I’m From” entry from February and seems to love drawing and helping her family. She says she lives on a farm filled with tomatoes! I hope she sees my comment soon because her teacher has not approved it yet!

Ella from New Zealand – has a dog and 8 cats! (I told her I was allergic to cats.) She hasn’t seen my comment yet!

Uliti from New Zealand – Uliti says he is from the island of Tonga and from hunting animals in the bush. How interesting it would be to carry on a conversation with him! From Uliti I learned that Malo e lelei means “hello” in Tongan.

Sadly, the country of New Zealand has experienced a terrible tragedy. If only all the people of the world could communicate and learn about each other when they are young and realize that we have the same hopes, dreams, and fears. We hope to communicate further with our fellow bloggers in New Zealand!


Challenge Week 2 Students Visited

Miles from USA – Miles made a slide show of his 5 rules for good commenting but I couldn’t actually see it because it may have only been shared with people in his school. I asked if he could change his share settings but so far he hasn’t. He also has some posts on random crafts that he makes so check out his other posts if you can’t see his slide show.

Lucy from USA has a very colorful post on her rules for commenting. She believes that commenting can start a conversation and reminds us to PROOFREAD!

Leon from Taiwan is 9 years old and shared his thoughts on commenting. He thinks commenting is a way to make friends and learn from other people. I agree!

Evanne from Taiwan is opposed to very long comments and also people arguing or saying mean things to each other in comments. She sees a lot of that on social media.

Jerry from Taiwan is 16 and has many comments on his week 2 post. I liked that he talked about comments being a motivation for the blogger.

March 7, 2019
by StarPilot

Avatars Rising

Our class is excited to be a part of the Student Blogging Challenge. So far they have created an avatar, an About Me page, and written a short intro post to their blogs. Here is our slide show of all our class avatars. Many thanks to Mrs. Vasquez for sharing her template! The students have also put the same information in the About page on their individual blogs. Please check out their individual posts and pages and get to know the awesome fifth graders of Cougarcraft!

March 3, 2019
by StarPilot

Blogging Challenge Week 1 – It’s all about you!

Mrs. Morris has posted the first challenge of our Student Blogging Challenge!

What do we need to do this week?

Create an avatar.  Since we are using iPads we will need to find the best way to do this with our iOS devices. Here are some suggestions.

pickayoo avatar

PICKAYOO – This is a free avatar creation app for both male and female simple style avatars. Here is Mrs. Ruffing’s PICKAYOO avatar.




Portrait Shop Cute -free app for both male and female avatars. There is also a Portrait Shop Animal version if you prefer. Here is a male avatar from this app.




Avatar Maker: Selfie – This is a free app for male or female avatars.  There are many variations of this app.

(Who says your avatar needs to look just like you!)



Finally, if you have access to another device like a laptop or desktop computer, you can use  or (these don’t work on iPad) . Websites like  and can be used on any device.  Here are examples from these sites.



2.  A second task of this week’s challenge is to create an About Me page.  A “page” will be accessible on another tab of your blog and it will be static, unlike a post that will gradually move down the page as more posts are added. Look at the top of our class blog page.  Do you see “About Us” at the top? That’s a different location than where your posts are appearing. How to add the About Page? Here is a video that shows the steps for adding a new page in Edublogs.


Be sure to review directions in Google Classroom for the shared Google slide project where we will put our “about me” info and avatars together into one slide show. Please write a PRIVATE COMMENT on that assignment if you have any questions and we will help you out. Sounds like a great snow day activity!

Mrs. R.


November 18, 2018
by StarPilot

Welcome to the Cougar Craft Blog!

This blog site will be a place where we can reflect on what we are reading and share those reflections with the world. In the process we will be working on our writing craft, our commenting skills, and sharing some creative projects related to our reading.

Speaking of creative, how do you suppose the image in the blog header might fit our blog’s purpose? Can you see anything symbolic in that image? Notice below how the image creator is credited.

Write on!

Header Image: Watercolour by Prawny via Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain