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What Teachers Should and Should Not Be Posting on Their Classroom Webpages


Jan16

More and more teachers have the opportunity to cut a slice of the Internet pie and share content with administrators, students, and parents.  Many, however, are unsure what to do with this slice or how to serve it up to waiting guests.  Fear not, I have a few suggestions that might get you started.  I’ve broken it down to “Should” and “Should Not” lists in hopes of making it easy.

SHOULD POST

  • Inspirational quotes on your homepage are an excellent welcome to your parents and students.  Need help finding a quote?  Try Quote Stumbler (“find a quote” is in the top left corner), Quotiki, or The Quotations Page.
  • Upcoming events that pertain to your classroom should always be posted on the site such as field trips, major project deadlines, guest speakers, themed days (I know a Chemistry teacher who has Mole Day once a year), and final tests.  As much as you love the basketball team, it simply isn’t necessary to post those games on your class site.
  • Homework assignments should be posted, but I do understand the difficulty with this.  I was never one who could stone in my lesson plans two weeks in advance since my lessons seemed to alter regularly depending on classroom situations.  If your web site does not already offer an assignment calendar, my suggestion is to create an RSS type calendar at RSSCalendar or Kiko.  Students can subscribe to the feed on their own sites and even receive email reminders with Kiko.
  • Weblinks that go hand in hand with current curriculum.  Honestly, this is the most important component to your web site.  The most common mistake I have seen is the posting of generic links to grammar or math games rather than the specific units the class is currently studying.  If Ancient Egypt is the topic for February, then post interactive and informational links on Ancient Egypt.  Even if you are a math teacher, put links up on current concepts, not just homework helpers.  Traffic to your webpage will increase and you will find you and the students becoming more dependent on the web page.  Plus, when you need a link for an interactive whiteboard computer lab activity, it will be there without students having to type out 12” URLs.
  • Vocabulary and spelling words should be posted.  Yes, I know this seems trite, but trust me.  As parents and students visit your site more regularly, these words will be “in their face”, so to speak, and can be easily referenced.
  • Student artwork is one of the best features to add to your site.  Don’t have a scanner?  No worries!  Take digital pictures of the artwork and make a slideshow.    I would update this every few weeks to keep new color and vibrancy on your page.  Even if you are a high school teacher, consider this opportunity.  When I taught language arts, I would spring an art pop quiz on the students asking them to draw the major conflict of last night’s reading in stick people.  I instantly was aware of who actually read the content and it was a wonderful way for students to be alternatively assessed.
  • Photo of the day or week with a brief caption.  Have students take photos not just of what is happening in class, but of a stack of novels students are reading, the view out the classroom window, a sculpture in the library, or the dessert at lunch.  It doesn’t need to be a glamorous photo, but it gives parents unique insights to school happenings and encourages students to notice the little things.
  • News from the front lines.  Use your web space as the current event news feed for your parents.  Don’t feel that this needs to be lengthy, but it should be relevant.  Include highlights of the week or student quotes. 

SHOULD NOT POST

  • Images copied from other websites.  UNLESS you have posted images that you have taken yourself or are in public domain, copyright to everything does not belong to you.  Sorry darlin’.  I do have some light in this dark tunnel, however.  You can purchase royalty free images for less than $2 at many sites such as iStock Photo and StockXPert, and public domain images (aka FREE) can be found at Discovery Education Clipart Gallery,  Public Domain Photo Database, WP Clipart, Photos8, US History Images, and Karen Whimsey Public Doman Images.   There are some wonderful images that you can also use from the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, but each one has unique copyright rules, so be sure to read closely before posting on your site.
  • Your weekly schedule of when you go to PE/Music/Art and recess.  This is only needed at the beginning of the school year and will clutter up your webpage.   The students know the routine fairly quickly, so save the virtual real estate for more enlightening information. 
  • Anything that does not fall under district policies.  Be sure to check on rules for posting student names, photos, and work.  This will save you from a great deal of grief later.  I promise!  Oh, and if you need a quick fix for blurring student faces, try FotoFlexer, a free online image editor that has a pixilation tool for blurring.
  • Nothing.  I know it takes time to post content on your web page, but you will find the more you post relevant and current information, the more traffic and successful communication you will have with your parents and students.

Good luck with your slice of the Internet pie, and be sure to save a bite for your students.


posted by
1/16/09

Know what I like about this post? The positivity! Your list of Do's is longer than the Do-Not's. Thanks for sharing these ideas!


posted by
1/16/09

Well stated MrsSmoke. I would add a FYI to the "Should Not Post".....be sure to follow school AUP when coming to posting students pictures, names, etc. As for positives: the more communication and sharing of student projects the better life will be in the classroom because students will be engaged and working towards the opportunity of having something posted for all to see.


posted by
2/08/09

Nice Job, MrsSmoke. Thanks for the FotoFlexer tip!



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