One of my teacher friends asked me today for information I had about creating a class website, and I thought I'd share my thoughts here. I've kept a class website (that I update weekly) for the past 4 years and it has been one of the primary and most effective ways of keeping my parents informed and involved in their child's learning. At Noelani, we're fortunate to be able to house our class websites on a school server, and most of us use iWeb (a fantastic Mac program). I've also experimented with Google Sites and love that it's easy to set up, use, and maintain (not to mention, FREE!). Google Sites is also great because you can access it from any computer.
As far as the essential information to include on a class website, here's what I have found most valuable:
* An introduction/welcome sharing your teaching philosophy
* Photos of students learning (images can be so powerful! Just remember to get parent permission- there's a school form for this)
* Updates/Reflections of learning/Upcoming events (I do this through a blog page)
* Links for parents/students that you find useful
* Student work/media projects
I also update homework daily (using Google Sites), which has been very helpful for students and parents. I've uploaded student podcasts, Keynote presentations, pdfs of exemplary student work, and my grade level partners and I update our website daily for parents with photos and student reflections while we our on our annual Big Island trip.
Teachers- do you have any tips about creating/maintaining class websites to share?
Parents- what would you like to see on your child's class website?
Here's the class website I created/updated last year. It'll only be up for another week or so, as I'm working on this year's website! Here's our Big Island site, which my grade level partner, Jeff, designed!
P.S: I'm off to Pohnpei (in Micronesia) for an education conference tomorrow (I have to be at the airport at 4am!), and I will try to blog from there about my experiences!