Setting up a class website has profoundly changed my teaching and my students' classroom experience. I had originally planned on using a website as a way to keep students up-to-date on in-class homework assignments, but it has grow in to so much more. Yes, my students can easily catch up on work they have missed if they are absent, but they can expand their English language learning experience by reading our blog that usually has something to do with what we talked about in class, they can add their own comments on the blog, they can review past computer lessons, they can revisit links that we have used in class, and they can make use of their new-found computer skills on their own personal websites (some of them are linked to the class page).
We begin many lessons by opening our class website and exploring the latest additions to the site (i.e. new student writing, recipes, ESOL links...). I have even begun to post the computer lessons on the website; that way students can choose which links they choose to follow versus me writing links on the board and students spending a lot of time trying to copy the links correctly on their own screens. Finally, incorporating the Weebly site into my ESOL classroom, although quite time-consuming at first, has streamlined my own time spent planning and has made my teaching much more organized and focused.
At the beginning of the semester the students and I were really excited about setting up a class website and four months later, we are just as excited about this new learning tool. It has brought new life to my classroom.
Here are two free website builders that offer easy-to-use templates: Weebly and Google Sites.
Share any class websites you have developed or website builders you can suggest by commenting below.