What functionalities should a good classroom website include? If you’re a teacher trying to set up a classroom website, consider the following five scenarios:
- A student is at home and wants to find out when the next test, quiz, or deadline is.
- A student or parent wants to get details on an upcoming field trip.
- You want to show off your students’ science projects or art exhibits.
- You want to post a daily lesson plan or class syllabus (especially helpful for students who were absent that day).
- You want to poll your students for an important class decision.
You might be thinking, “that sounds great, but how do I create a website and how much will it cost?” Let’s find out!
Create a free website for your classroom
If you use WordPress.com, setting up a website for your classroom can be completely free. To sweeten the deal, there’s no complicated setup process and you don’t have to know a thing about coding.
1. Choose a domain name
WordPress.com walks you through the setup process, step-by-step. First, pick a domain name for your website. For example, “Judy’s Classroom.” As you can see below, WordPress.com gives you multiple domain name options based on your desired name.
WordPress.com handles hosting for you, so you’ll get a domain extension (such as judysclassroom.wordpress.com) if you choose to continue creating your site with a free WordPress.com plan. Paid options are also available if you want your own domain name, require more storage space, or would like to implement plugins.
2. Pick a theme
WordPress.com offers hundreds of elegantly designed free and premium themes (including responsive, mobile-friendly ones) for you to choose from. Simply select one that suits your needs.
3. Create pages and posts
On your website, Pages contain static (unchanging) content that people can reference to find specific information. You can link your pages to your navigation menu to make them easier for people to find.
Examples of pages that you might want to include are:
- An “About” page, where visitors can learn more about you and your website.
- An “Upcoming Events” page, where students and parents can find out about important deadlines, exam dates, field trips, and more. With WordPress.com, you can integrate a Google Calendar into your website so that students and their families will always be presented with your class’s most up-to-date academic calendar.
Posts, on the other hand, are dynamic content entries (that are displayed from newest to oldest). You can organize your posts using categories straight from the WordPress Editor. For instance, you might have a category called “Daily Summary,” where students can read a recap of what was covered in class and what the homework assignment was on a particular day.
You can also add media (such as video and photo resources for your students) to pages and posts.
4. Engage your students
Get creative so that your students don’t feel like your class website is a one-way line of communication. For instance, you could add polls to collect feedback from students, or conduct a vote for an end-of-the-year party theme.
Also, come up with incentives to encourage your students to interact with your website. You might give them five bonus points on a quiz for participating in activities like answering another student’s question in the comment section of a post.
You could also empower your students to write “guest” blog posts on your class website by adding them as Contributors or Authors.
A class website enriches students
A Nielsen study found that 45 percent of American children between the ages of 10-12 own a smartphone with a service plan. In addition to being free and easy, creating your own classroom website takes advantage of that technology in a positive way. It can also enhance your efficiency in the classroom while increasing student engagement at home.