My class website allows me to provide my students and their parents with access to important educational materials. This has been instrumental in creating the classroom I have today. All I have to say when students ask what’s for homework is “Check the website!” Literally everything for the students and parents is on it! Let's take a look at 5 easy tips for creating your own classroom website.
1. A Child Will Lead Them
Go and ask the young teachers who are comfortable with technology. This is one of the first things I did. They know what works best out there. It is amazing how quickly they can show you what to do and in some cases may actually get you started while you watch. Don’t be afraid to ask! I have learned so much from the younger teachers. One teacher fresh out of college showed me and it took less than 15 minutes to get my site up and running! And it boosted her confidence as she began her very first year.
2. Bloom Where You’re Planted
Play around with your site if you can. I know our time is limited, but take some time to watch educational videos provided by your website builder. They are usually short and informative - worth your time. Also, try to make the site look like you and the things you value: if you like color, make the site colorful, or if you like nature, put a nature scene in the background image. I think of my site as a way that I can have my students and parents get to know me. In math class, there is so little time for that.
3. Baby Steps
Next I had to decide what I wanted to put on the website besides just homework. Initially that may be all you can fit, which is fine. But as time goes by you should be able to do more. I was able to put more things on my site, like TenMarks. With TenMarks, I could assign a practice quiz that the students did online which was automatically graded.
4. If You Build It, They Will Come
Of course, you should let your students know about your website the first day/week of class. I found that our students, for the most part, can get on websites pretty easily even before they leave the classroom! I was concerned about this only to realize that there was no need to be! Even if some students had problems I found that other students could help them more effectively than I could.
5. Can We Talk?
On some websites, parent communication is more natural than in other places. On any website your email can be a click away. But the fact that I could daily or weekly update my website was one way that the parents could trust that I was doing my best in terms of communicating what was needed for the class, etc.
Image Credit: Marie/Creative Commons