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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Keep a Class Website!

My apologies for not posting last week.  We were back to school and the first week was even more draining than I thought it would be.  It is amazing that even after doing this for a number of years, the first week is still extremely difficult.

This week I am going to step away from films and curriculum and work on posting why you should keep a class website and the importance of being transparent with students and parents/guardians about our work in our classrooms.

I first saw a post about how vitally important this topic is over the summer and thought to myself how silly the post was because it is just an expectation at my school.  However, I recognize that at other schools teachers are not expected to do this, and this may seem like a great deal of work, but I can tell you it is very easy.  Some districts have begun to use websites like Moodle and other blackboard type sites, but I would suggest you take a look at Google Sites.  It is extremely easy to use, and it also allows you to have a website with professional appearance using very little time.  All you need is a gmail account (which you can get for free), one hour of free time, a computer and you are set up with a great communication tool.  A friend of mine has a post about it on his blog, here is the link.

Here is the website I keep for my courses.

What can you do?
Course Resources-- I have a portion of my site that is dedicated to keeping a collection of resources, files and readings for class.  Whenever I copy something to give to my students, I make use of the "send pdf" function on our school's copier.  I think most copiers have this option and you should check on it with your school's IT person.  You can send the handout to your email address and easily upload it on your website.  If your students have the problem of eating handouts (mine do, they seem to disappear moments after I give them out) they can get a copy of it online.

Course Announcements-- Need to make sure people outside of school know the homework?  Google sites allows you to have announcements that the world can see.  You can even link to the homework on your site so parents/guardians and students can access it.

Document your work-- Show off what you do with your students using Google sites.  It is really easy!


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