A web presence is a great way to stay connected with, parents, students, and the community. Calendars, newsletters, assignments, tests, class projects, and any other great things that are going on in your classroom or school can be shared out. My favorite way to have a web presence is the creation of a teacher website. I have not found an easier way to create a teacher website than with Weebly.com. With Weebly you do not have to have any prior experience of website building. If you can use a mouse and know how to drag and drop, then you can create a website with Weebly. Let me show you how.
The first step is to go to www.weebly.com and create an account. Like most sites, you will need a valid email address and create a password.
Once you have signed up and signed in, then you will need to make some decisions. The first of these is to choose a theme or layout for your website. You can choose a theme with pictures, that you can replace with your own. The pictures you see on the themes are there just to show you what it looks like. You can easily change them out with your own. You can choose a theme where the pages of your site display down the side or across the top. To see all themes, click on the design tab at the top and choose Change Theme at the left.
Once you have chosen a theme, you are ready to start building your site. To do that, click on the build tab at the top. You will also see several buttons at the left. Most of the buttons are available for your free website. If you see a star on the button, those are for a paid for account. To use one, simply drag and drop it with your mouse over to your webpage. Titles, text, images, maps, buttons to create links and more are available. You can easily drag the components and rearrange them once you have them on your page. If you want to create columns, simply place a component to the right or left of one you have already place on the page. Look for the red line that appears when you drag each component over. This line indicates where your object will be located. To delete a component, simply hover over it with our cursor and click the blue x in the top right corner of the object.
To add more pages to your website, click on the pages tab at the top of the page. Click on the orange add page box and give your new page a name. You have four choices of how you would like this new page to look. The tall header is the same as your home page. The short header gives it a smaller picture. The no header leaves the picture out and the landing page gives you a variety of a picture with text around it. From there you can click save and edit to begin work on the new page.
When you are ready for the all to see your site, you will have two more decisions to make. Sometimes it asks you this at the beginning. Remember, this is a free tool and the order of operations can change at a moments notice. You will need to decide you want to name your website (Site Title) and also what do you want your parents, students, and community members to type in to get to your website (Site Address or URL)? The Site title can be anything you want. The site address can only be used if no one else in the world is using it. For example, www.google.com or www.ebay.com are already taken. If you choose 6gradepumascience.weebly.com, it may not be taken. For the free version of weebly, you must have it end with weebly.com. We are all about free right now. To get to this part, go ahead and click publish in the top right corner. These questions should automatically pop up, unless they occurred after sign up.
When you have successfully published your site, you will see the following announcement. This is to show you that your site was published and also that the name you chose is available without the weebly.com on the end of it. That is great if you want to pay. This little announcement will pop up every time you publish any changes on your website. If you are happy with the free version, like me, then simply click on the blue and white “x” in the top right corner. You can now go to your website by typing in the site address that you chose. You will now have a web presence that you can begin promoting.
If Weebly isn’t your thing there are other great website creation tools out there that are good for educators as well. Wix and Drupal are a couple of them. Drupal does not include web hosting so there could be an additional cost if you go that route. Google sites is also another free option that you may want to consider.
- Stay connected with students and parents
- Provide an online hub for class resources
- Share your lessons so they can be reviewed
- Have students interactwith your lessons online
Why It Matters (Teaching Rubric)
The essential teacher competency of Effective Lesson Design (competency 1.1) includes addressing individual student needs and increasing student engagement. Using a website to organize your digital lessons and resources helps make your lesson available to your students on their schedule adressing at least some student needs. Adding digital resources through your website can certainly add to engagement as well.
If you don’t have a teacher website, I encourage you to give it a try in the near future. It is a great way to communicate and share what is happening in your classroom with parents and the community. Today’s challenge is imagine how you would use a teacher website and how it would benefit you as an educator.
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