Did you know that you can create your own classroom website right from your Google Suite? You can even have students create their own websites. Google Sites is absolutely free! Here is how you get started with Google Sites.
Create a Google Site
Creating a Google site is simple. On the Sites homepage, start a new site by clicking blank or choosing from a template. In Drive, you’ll choose “Google Sites” (click more if it’s not in your viewable menu) then you can get started. You’ll be prompted to choose from a template gallery if desired.
Popular Google Site templates include:
Try using the Class template for your own classroom website and the portfolio for your students to add their own work to share during conferences.
Google Site Themes
Before you start your site, choose a theme that works for you! Themes have different fonts and color schemes. You can switch themes easily by going to the theme tab on your Google Site. I generally let students play with the theme for a little bit if they are creating their own site. They like to have different options and explore, and it keeps them from getting too click happy once they start creating content.
Inserting in Google Sites
Google Sites has several options on the Insert tab. First, you and your students may insert a simple text box. The box can be manipulated and moved to fit the site look and feel. Next, you can upload or search for images. By searching for images straight from Google Sites, you’ll make sure you and your students have images that are allowed to be shared under Fair Use and copyright rules. Then, there is an embed option. Insert a URL or embed code to share videos and websites right to your site! Finally, one of the best features of the Insert function is sharing items directly from Google Drive. Images, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and more can be embedded into your site with a click of a button.
Some advanced options under the insert tab include collapsible text, image carousels, buttons and dividers, maps, calendars and more. If you can create or find it in the Google Suite, you can insert on your Google Site!
Creating your Google Site Homepage is just the beginning. Just like any website, you’ll want to create main and subpages to organize content. For example, if you are an elementary classroom teacher, you may create a main homepage with your name and second grade, for example. Then you may create several pages for each content area (math, science, social studies, reading, writing, etc.). Finally, you may create subpages under each of those pages that focus on certain units or standards. In addition, parent information, extension activities, or student announcements may be additional pages.
For students, I recommend having a page for each content area so they can share reflections and student work before conference time. The first time, I always have students complete this in class step-by-step. Some students catch on quickly and like to add content throughout the year, but it’s important to revisit steps and expectations.
Google Sites is so intuitive and fun. When you or your students finish creating your site, make sure to hit “Publish” then name the Site. The creator can then share the site as view only or give editing rights.
Get started creating and using Google Sites in your classroom today!