Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Websites For Your Class - Easily Accomplished!

Dear Friends,

If this is the year that you are going to have a class website, you have chosen an excellent time to do it. Never before have there been easier ways to have your own website, easily created, web-based (able to edit it and post from any computer) and free! The ones I am going to recommend are even Ad-Free, which to me is important when students and parents are going to be using it to gain classroom information.

Why Create a Classroom Website?

Once you have a classroom website, you have opened the doors of your classroom to anyone who is interested in what the children in your classroom are doing and/or learning. This definitely includes the many grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who live in cities far away from the classroom. It is so appreciated by these people and the students themselves who share their pride in their classroom with so many others.

They also open up their classroom with peers from around the world as you create relationships with classrooms around the world and share your website with them.

Having a “voice” that reaches far beyond the classroom really motivates kids to want to read and to write. Also, your young artists will enjoy sharing their work, too.

What a great way to keep parents informed! Is there an important letter going home? A field trip next week? Perhaps you are currently seeking parent volunteers to help out with that art project next month. A classroom web page let's parents have a peek at what's going on - just in case Mary loses her backpack (and school newsletter) on the way home.

The web page publicizes what is happening in the class. Parents read about a project and a talented construction worker may show up to lend a hand at building the bird house you need for the science project.

Students will never have time within a school day to use all of the good links that will enhance their learning of content or of a skill. The website will be the perfect place to list websites. Boy, will parents appreciate that!Students will love hearing from people from all over the world who may look at your website. Have a “generic” email address on the first page of your website to invite comments. You, of course, will control the password.

Display pictures of all of the classroom projects. If your students have just finished creating a classroom mural that is, well, magnificent, wouldn't it be a shame to keep that from the rest of the world? Let folks know about it! Of course, refrain from adding names.
Teachers see so many faces coming in and out of their classrooms. Wouldn't it be lovely to keep a visual record of all the wonderful things your students said, did and learned throughout the year? You can do this with a classroom web page.

So What Can You Use To Create These Easy, Free, Ad-Free Websites?

These are the two that I have noticed lately that I would recommend:

WIX - This is an easy to use, great looking results website that is an online website builder - there is no need to have it hosted. You make it and then provide the weblink to others!

Weebly - This one was highly recommended by Jen Wagner. There is even a You Tube Video Tutorial that walks you through the steps. That can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjY83SnrO1M

Please let me know if you "take the plunge" or if you already have an active website that you would share with me. I would love to hear from all of you about your success at trying this.

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