DIY Classroom Websites: Getting Rid of the Guesswork

You may have heard of colleagues making their websites for their classes. What’s with all the hype? What’s the benefit for my students? Do these teachers spend their already limited free time learning how to do web coding? We want to debunk the myth that building a useful and beautiful website is impossible. With a little bit of planning, you can be on your way to having your site that makes other teachers ask, “how do they do it?”

Get Some Webspiration
You are probably thinking, “where do I even start?” Maybe you have an idea of what you want your class site to look and feel like, but if not, start searching the web to find your muse. Peruse some of the below examples to get the ball rolling. The internet is your oyster – do not be afraid to explore a variety of blogs that are education related, or even any blogs that are on an entirely different subject. You will know what you are drawn to when you see it!

Examples of A+ Teacher Websites

BierosnkiEd by Andrew Bieronski
Mr Bieronski’s site showcases his passion for education. It does not end at being resourceful for parents and students. He highlights how he is actively working to keep the education industry up to speed with the “rapidly changing career space.”

Mr Vogel’s Classroom Website by Zack Vogel
From weather and time to resources even parents can learn from, Mr Vogel makes this site a one-stop-shop for learning.

Master Barrett by Sara Jo Barrett
While this site is no longer updated, it boasts an award-winning design and layout. It is broken up into distinct sections valuable for different visitors.

Free Website Builders
There are a plethora of free website builders. Again, where do you even start when it comes to choosing your platform? To keep things simple, here are three commonly used sites known for being user-friendly and for having a ton of great apps or plugins. If you know anyone who manages their site, education-focused or not, it might be worth sitting down with them over coffee to learn why they love the tool they use.

Wix
Can we get a round of applause for the invention that is drag and drop? Wix has mastered the mix of beautiful design with user-friendly editing. Picking a theme, adjusting your layout, and customizing your main navigation menu is all done with a few clicks. It allows you to customize the desktop and mobile view completely, so your readers get the best experience possible. Spice it up even more with one of the free Wix Apps you can embed right into your page.

All you need to do is wave your magic wand…or mouse…and voila!

WordPress
If you want to share your website with the world and wish to optimize the amount of traffic coming to your site, WordPress is for you! This site builder prides itself on being able to handle lots of website traffic and its Search Engine Optimization capabilities. It comes with a ton of handy plugins as well to keep your readers coming back.

Weebly
Blogging and branding and video backgrounds – oh my! Weebly lets you create a double-duty page. You can keep a useful classroom site that informs parents and students, but if you use a blog as your creative outlet, Weebly might be the platform for you. Try and pick just one theme!

Potential Page Elements
So, you have decided on your platform, theme, and what kind of online presence you want to portray. Are you a fan of doing things by the book? Indiana University Bloomington has you covered. Its education department has a publicly available rubric for their students in a course focused on edtech with a checklist of items to include. Here are just a few to think about:

About Me 
Sharing information (at your discretion) about your personal interests and a brief history of your teaching career might be helpful for parents and students to feel more connected to you. The sooner you and your students get to know each other, to quicker you can get right into the nitty-gritty of learning.

Teacher Schedule
While you might not want to make public your ENTIRE daily agenda, perhaps you have office hours students and parents can take advantage of that only pertain to particular subjects you teach.

Supplementary Home Activities
If you have simple and safe science experiments your students can perform at home, recording a video of you explaining the instructions would be handy. A particular history topic supplemented with a sample diorama project students can do with their parents is a great way to keep them engaged in their learning.

No matter the route you choose, make sure your tools are working together to avoid adding unnecessary steps to your daily workflow. Your classroom website should be a fun adventure where you can share your passion for education! To make it a multi-purpose site, you can share your Planboard lessons to your website with a live link PDF, or even embed videos directly from your newly created page into your daily lesson plans.

Don’t forget to share your beautiful pages with us! Tweet us @chalkdotcom, or even better, share your live lessons that lead right to your new sites.

Happy creating!

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Laura is passionate about empowering educators. She believes equal access to personalized education is one of the ways to a better world.