I am working this year on updating my classroom website. I have a very skeletal website from several years ago that has never gotten much traffic. This year, as we are moving towards more technology and 1:1 technology in my school, one of my goals is to update my classroom website and to make it useful and user-friendly. This led me to some tips.
5 Tips to Creating a Classroom Website:
1) Think like the parents and students (the clients). What do they want to see on a website? What would make them visit it? Some of the things that came to mind for me are listed below:
- Assignment calendar, possibly with printable copies of assignments
- Photos or updates on what is happening in class
- Contact information
- Some information about me
- Other resources that they could use if they are ‘stuck’
2) Make it visually appealing. Many times businesses have very appealing, easy to navigate websites. While an individual teacher can’t hire a web developer, do your best to use easy to read fonts, bold or larger headings, and adequate spacing so that it is easy to follow.
3) Don’t be afraid to use a template or guide:
There are many websites that can help make your life easier. Consider – do you want a wiki? a blog? a website? Do you want to use your district page? If not, you can easily re-direct from your district page to a page of your choosing. But check out your options. A few are shown below
Wikispaces for Teachers
Article on Picking the Best Classroom Blog
Weebly (with tips from Scholastic)
Google Sites Classroom Website Template
4) Include the students
Our classes, essentially, are about the students in them. Give students a chance to participate in creation. Perhaps a student who is done early could take a few photos. Or a student who is a good write could write a ‘newsletter’ or ‘blog entry’ about what has been going on in class.
5) Keep it up to date
A website is not useful, and will not be utilized, if it is not up to date. Therefore, it is important that you keep it up to date. Make it easy on yourself to do so. Come up with a template or strategy that you can update easily. You don’t have to write a book! If you can embed information from somewhere else, use it!
You can create a useful website with limited work on your part, and help keep parents and students informed, successful, and connected!
Tara is a science teacher from upstate NY. She has taught General Science, Biology, Environmental Science, and Earth Science.