Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tech Tip: Classroom Website

At my school, teachers are encouraged to maintain a classroom "portal" or website to adapt to education in this day and age. My portal serves as a primary part of my class, and I recommend my students check it at least once a day. Not only does it help parents stay in touch with what is going on in class, it tremendously helps with students are absent. They know the portal is the first place to look.

Things I keep on my portal:
  1. Announcements
  2. Calendars 
    1. Learning targets
    2. Daily notes (with my actual handwriting)
    3. Homework
    4. Answer keys, when necessary
  3. Textbook links
    1. Extra practice
    2. Online textbook
  4. Helpful links that I have collected over the years about a variety of topics both subject specific and more general
  5. School news
  6. Department news
  7. Parent tips and links
  8. Countdowns
  9. Extra credit submission forms
  10. Blank power point slides that they can print prior to class to allow them to focus upon the content instead of feverishly writing
I strongly recommend the use of GoogleSites to maintain a classroom website. All you need is a free gmail account. My school uses Google as our platform, so our email, portals, docs, etc. are all integrated; however, you can always create a free gmail account devoted solely to your classroom. After having created many GoogleSites over the years for both myself and others, I find it to be extremely user-friendly.

No matter what platform you use to maintain a class website, it has paid off ten-fold for me in a number of ways. I find that my students are MUCH more accountable and responsible. They appreciate how I tentatively plan in advance so they know what to expect (especially if they anticipate an absence). Parents like that they can get online and see the notes to better help their students at home if they have questions. In the world of "connected-ness" I would say, give a classroom website a try!

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