Monday, March 31, 2014

What's In A Web Page - Things You Should Be Sharing. Part II

Reviewing and getting your students ready for testing always seems to be a daunting task but think of making things easier because as you prepare your students in the classroom for what they will need to know for the testing why not remind them and their parents from your teacher website. It would be great to add information onto your website that will help students beyond the classroom.  

Even if that page starts out with a reminder to the parents that testing is coming up and that their children should be ready for test day by getting plenty of sleep the night before and eat something on the morning of the test.  

A great web page to create would also be one that has the same information abbreviated that you are going over in class on the web with web links they can go to for further information.  

If you are a teacher that will not be changing grade levels or subject areas this page is now available ongoing for your students and parents as a reminder of what is coming up in the fourth quarter.  

Talking with other teachers can help you if you change grade levels or subject areas because you could share your information with them and visa versa so your web site stays up to date.  

With the summer months coming up you also want to have information on your site again that promotes yourself, your class and your school so if there are any potentially new students coming in they will be able to make an informed decision to attend that school.  

Other types of easy quick web pages that you could add to your site:

  • A summer reading list for both incoming and outgoing students.  
  • A list of local summer locations and activities that offer a learning environment in which students are interactive and a part of the learning process.  
  • A page that talks about what students can expect as they enter the new school year in your classroom.  

What other types of pages could you create on your website that would offer the most information?  How about an individual page per Quarter that outlines what you are doing if you are an Elementary teacher.  If you are a subject area teacher you can put that class syllabus on the site.  How about those always great self-promoting pages that outline a great lesson, an incredible learning activity or field trip.  You can create a homework page that lets your students know when assignments are due.  

If you are a Magnet school you can have a page dedicated to outline your school classroom for the time of the year when Parents are looking to enroll their child(ren) into these schools.  Or as a Kindergarten teacher you can have a page that talks about all of the wonderful learning that is going on in your classroom for Parents during Kindergarten registration.  

With all things being said if you do some upfront work on your web page it will pay off in the long run with continued views from students, parents and community members.  It will ensure that the information you are sharing is up to date because all you will have to do ongoing is make small changes to keep things current.  And it will guarantee that you sell sell sell what you are doing in your classroom to get the buy in from whomever is looking at your website.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Geddit And Don't Forget It

So I found an interesting new site today that I thought I would share with you.  for some this might be old hat for others its brand new and you will really like it.

Let me start with some questions:
How many times does a student come up to you after the class to say that they really do not understand the material?
How often in class do you ask a question where you get the blank stairs or no one raises their hands?

In your mind you may be thinking that the students did not do their work, or just don't care.  But what if there was a student that really does not understand the material but is just afraid to ask questions.  Geddit allows you as the teacher to know how your students are doing at anytime during the class.  It gives a voice to the student that is afraid to ask the question.  As the teacher you can do some Formative Assessment by asking them a question on the fly by sending it to them silently.  The student can tell the teacher silently through the App or site by clicking on the bar graph and sending it to the teacher.  A student can even get the teachers attention by raising their virtual hand.  The one thing that I see is that it help with differentiated instruction by allowing the teacher to see students strengths and weaknesses an then be able to react to them quickly.  Maybe by grouping students that understand the concepts with those who do not for some peer assistance and collaboration.

Above is a quick video about Geddit, what it is and how it works.  The product is platform independent so as long as you have a Wifi enabled device and/or computer connected to the web you can use Geddit.  In the iPad App store you can search for Geddit and download it, or you can open any browser and go to to use the product.  When you get to the site there are just two options, Sign in as a Teacher or Sign in as a Student.  As a teacher you will create your account setup your class and give your students a code to join your class.  It is completely protected from outside influence since you need a code to join.  According to the website creators there is no requirements, or limitations, when it comes to age.  The site is very easy to use and set up, within minutes I had my account created, class setup, app downloaded, website up and created a generic student log in and was testing everything out.

Tune in next week for some ideas on how this can be used in the classroom. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

What's In A Web Page - Things You Should Be Sharing. Part I

Let me start by asking you this question… 

What do you do when you open a web page to a site that you think has information about spring and Summer clothing and it is still talking about the upcoming fall collection?  

You would open up another web page with the information on it that you are looking for....right?  

That is the same thing that happens if a parent, community member or even your students do when they go to your web site and there is no information available that they are looking for.  They go somewhere else, and that is not good.  

I see this every day in what I do both in and outside of the school system.  I admit that I may not have the best patience when it comes to outdated web pages but just think about this scenario:
  • I am a parent, living out of state, who is moving to the area this summer and I need to figure out what school I want my child to go to in the fall.  
  • I start looking into the schools that are close to my new home and when I check the teachers’ websites many of them still say "Welcome to the new school year" or "Have a Wonderful Holiday Break."  
That would not be a great way for a prospective parent to start their search of a new school for their child.  This may even cause that parent to reconsider attending a school in the area based on their first impressions of what they see on a teacher’s web page.  

Think of it this way, your web site is selling a product.  Whether that product is something that is tangible that you can hold in your hand or an idea of what there is to offer.  If the web site is not current or full of non-relevant information you will lose the sale, and in a game of numbers could mean the difference between an extra classroom of students and a teacher or combining classrooms of students and losing a teacher.  

What if you are applying for and/or are receiving a grant and part of the requirements are that you keep a current account of activities on your website.  You may lose the grant because of an out of date web page or site.

This scenario may seem extreme and some of you may be saying: 
  • "No way, that's not me." 
  • "I keep my web page up to date."
  • "My students won't go to my webpage so why bother."
  • Some may be saying "It doesn't matter because a parent will see the school web page before mine and that is all they need to see."  
But let me tell you more often than not those first impressions are the ones that stick regardless of how good you or your school is.  

So let’s get away from the negative and look towards some positives.  Just some simple things that can enhance your websites to keep them informative and current for anyone that may be looking at them.

Let’s start with today, we are in the final week of March and we all know what will be starting up at the beginning of April.  Yes, its review and testing time.  Raise your hands if you agree that you will spend the bulk of the quarter reviewing for a week of testing, then retesting.  Caught you, some of you actually raised your hands and that's OK.  

Join me next week to keep in the loop as I talk more about ways to keep your web site up to date. 

photo credit: jinkazamah via photopin cc