Friday, July 30, 2010

FRUGAL FRIDAY - FREE, EASY, USER-FRIENDLY CLASS SITE


Today my Frugal Friday tip is something that has been staring you right in the face.

Literally.

I'm serious.  It couldn't be any more "in your face" at this very moment.  

Today's tip: Blogger

This little ole blog of mine may look all fancy pants (humor me people), but it's actually very simple to put together.  It's the creative genius and witty wisdom of the posts that take the time (again, humor me people).

The actual blog itself is quite simple.  A few years back I shut down my costly, time-consuming, headache-causing(#$@! HTML) class website and switched to blogger.  It was a great move. Here's what I love:

  • The newest material is at the top so families don't have to check in and hunt for updates.
  • It's kid friendly for the same reason.
  • It's free.
  • That's worth mentioning twice.  It's FREE!
  • You can keep it simple and have it serve it's function or you can make it all fancy pants.
  • You can easily add links, photos, videos, etc.
  • You can blog a post and then set a date and time for it to go live. (Hence all the typos on this blog.  I often compose them at midnight when the Littles are asleep and I should be too.)
  • People can "follow you" which means they are automatically alerted when you make an update. You do follow me, right?

So, how can a blog be a class website you ask?

See those tabs at the top that read Shop Littlest Learners, About Me, Contact Us, etc?  If you click on them you will see that they take you to set pages.

You could just as easily make those pages be: About the Teacher, Class Information, Homework, etc.

Want to know the best part?  I use my blog in class with the kids.  Not this one, Silly.  I have a different one for school.  And in case you are wondering it doesn't play Margaritaville or make mention to my innards.

Have you ever tried having a class of children type in a URL?  Even in today's high-tech era where kids are smarter than adults, the task of typing in a URL is painful at best.  What I do is blog a message to the class and set it to publish just before we go to the computer lab.  My site is bookmarked so my little friends just need to log in, click on the link to the blog and read the daily entry.  In the entry I give them instructions on their tasks in the lab and provide all the links.  No pesky URL typing going on in my lab.  The bonus is that children who are absent can still take part in the daily activity and they can always revisit it from home.

Another bonus is that you can eliminate paper and skip the hassle of doing a weekly newsletter by simply updating the blog.  

Give it a try.

Want another Frugal Friday tip that is also really a FREE Friday tip?  Check out The Cutest Little Blog on the Block for free backgrounds and templates to make your new class blog look super spiffy.

7 comments:

Pam said...

- just wanted to say "thanks" for the organizational tips! I teach a preschool special education classroom- very different than a third grade classroom! But still I find useful tips for organizing the "teacher stuff" and my own home office! I recently started a blog for our own classroom www.cricketcornerkids.blogspot.com
and, yes, it was VERY easy to set up!!

futureflstar said...

I love the idea of a classroom blog. I just hope my principal loves it as much. :) I didnt' set up a class website last year and I'm determined to do something this year!

Mrs. Cagle's Class said...

Because of your blog, I started one for my class over the summer. It's still in the beginning stages, as I work out what will be on it. I love using Blogger, though! And the tips for the computer lab? FABULOUS.

:-) Kellee

Sunny said...

I LOVE having a classroom website. Even in my inner city district where you'll hear them say time and time again that the parents don't have the technology at home...usually about 90% of my kids have computers with internet access at home. So I maintain a website because even if one kid uses it, its worth it!!

I don't use blogger for it though. I host my own site. I've done everything from use the HTML which can be fun sometimes but irritates me because I can't update at school. I've recently gone to using WordPress because it allows me to customize just a bit more than blogger does and since its self-hosted I have a bit more freedom too. My domain is mrs[lastname] so all the kids know it and its easy to remember and spell. I love it when kids from other grades come up and tell me they were on my site (I always post it in the computer lab for all the classes to utilize).

Finding Normal said...

I love this idea, but my school has blogger (and yahoo and snapfish and facebook and anything else that I could use with my kids) blocked. Boo hiss.

Cyndy said...

I'm so thankful that I found your blog on PT, either by you or another poster but your blog is pushing me as a teacher and I LOVE it! Thank you! I would LOVE to do a blog for this class. I'm not sure how many parents and students will follow the blog but I'm willing to give it a try! Thanks for the inspiration! Again, and again and again!

The Polka Dot Room said...

I love your blog...now I am usually pretty tech savvy....but not with blogger. I used one of the free backgrounds you suggest (the cutest ever) but it doesn't show up correctly. And the picture I added is huge. I can't figure out how to resize it and I can figure out how to change fonts. Any suggestions would be appreciate! TIA!