Florence High School Library

August 2014 Newsletter

Building a Great Class Website!

I don't know about you, but sometimes I struggle with the question of what should I put on my website. I am not talking about colors and fonts, but what information will be the most helpful to parents, students, and teachers. I recently read an article that dealt with this issue. In Doug Johnson and Marti Sievek's article Build an Awesome Class Website with Google Apps, they emphasize the importance of transparency with parents. According to them, "Transparency builds trust and, hopefully, engagement. It enrolls parents as helpers in holding students accountable for their success, and it helps them provide the support their kids need to learn."
Who wouldn't want that? But - what does that mean for us? Does that mean that we have to spend hours slaving at the computer? I don't know about you, but with everything else we are being asked to do, I really don't have time.
That was what was great about the article - it was full of ideas that are quick and easy and don't cost anything. Best of all everything mentioned has tutorials already created and all you have to do is Google what you are looking for. YEAH!!!!!!

Some Short Answers

So what is considered to be a Google App?
Really it is Google stuff that you may already be using. Examples would be Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Forms, etc.

Do you need to sign up for another email account?
Nope, your RCSD email is a Google account. This means that your username and password from RCSD are all you need.

What about putting information on School Wires?
You can embed straight into School Wires just by a few small steps.

I don't know how to embed anything. What are my options?
First, come see me! I will help you walk through the process. The neat thing is that once you have embedded a Google Calendar, for example, you never have to access it on School Wires. Just make the needed changes in Google Calendar and it will automatically update.

Just One Word of Warning

There is only one problem with the article - the authors constantly refer to Google Sites. Since we use School Wires, that really is not necessary. Anytime you see "Google Sites" in the article translate it into "embed into School Wires." If you want to play around with creating a webpage, try Google Sites out. It has some really neat templates that make web design sweet and simple.

Recommended Tips

Think about creating a Google Form to gather information you need from students and parents. Google Forms can also be used for a quick assessment. My favorite thing? You can link a spreadsheet for all the answers. You can create required questions so that students must type their name and class block. You can also have a Google Form create an email every time someone fills the form out.

Go Green with Google Docs. Anything that you have created in Word can be converted to a Google Doc that can be shared with specific people or be left open to anyone with an RCSD email.

Create a Google Drive Folder for each class. This will allow you to drag and drop any examples of past work into the folder for each assignment. Share the folder with each student and then create a folder for each student within the class folder. Share the folder only with that individual student and now the student can drag and drop homework assignments straight into their folder. You can edit or allow peers to edit and see the revisions color coded by persons. No more wondering who has actually worked on the peer editing. You can even make notes and suggest changes that the student can see. Best of all you don't have to print out student papers.