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The Classroom Website - A Powerful Educational Tool

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Keywords: digital pictures, video, communication, website, podcasting
Subject(s): Photography, Information Skills, Reading, Podcasting, Technology, Social Skills, Video, Spelling, Science, Math
Grades P-K through 5
School: Highland Elementary School, Sylvania, OH
Planned By: Michele Henson
Original Author: Michele Henson, Sylvania
The classroom website supports what I am doing in the classroom. I think of it as an extension of my daily lesson plan.
To enhance the website it is fun to incorporate pictures using a digital camera as well as short Flip Video clips. Podcasting (Tool Factory) as well as Voice Threads can then be utilize to provide student input.
By visiting my website found below you can follow along as I describe how I use each section as a teaching or communication tool.


site is by TeacherWeb which I would recommend to any teacher hoping to begin a website. It is easy to use and provides a wide variety of tools to prepare blogs, emails, photo galleries and page links.
Now let's look at some of the key pieces of this website where I have incoorporated the digita camera, the Flip Vido camera and Tool Factory Podcasting.
1. Class Activities - Parents are always curious about how their child fills their day. This section can contain topics such as the computer lab, lunch, morning count, recess, reading, math and other classroom activities that take place daily. Digital pictures are made into a picture show using slide.com and then the students tell about the show using Tool Factory to podcast.
2. A Guestbook is fun to add so people who visit your website can sign in. Our class then tracks them and spots where they are located around the world. There are several online sites that provide guestbooks free of charge.
3. One of the most important parts of the website should be a calendar. This cuts down on the number of phone calls and emails about "what is due when". I have designed mine to be a teaching support as well. Depending on our unit or topic for the day I provide a link to a support site on the internet. Following the activity you can provide pictures from the day or short video clips. What fun for the parents to be able to follow their child each and every day and for those looking for that little extra to have the support of a powerful link.
4. I like to post my weekly newsletter on the website. I no longer send a paper version but have my parents check here where it is then emailed to them. Once again I like to provide a picture show of the children enjoying the weekly activities.
5. In my first grade classroom we do a poem and word wall words weekly. I type these onto the site and the children then create a podcast using Tool Factory to enhance the text. Students now have a visual and a verbal tool for practicing.
5. I love the Flip Video. We created short clips on book reports as well as us doing the phonics dance. What fun for the children to watch and parents to enjoy.
6. As special activities take place in the classroom we use our digital camera to capture the moment and then we prepare a "digital scrapbook" using Smilebox. This can be emailed to parents as well as placed on the site for recall and enjoyment.
Our website is enjoyed by the parents, students and even grandparents. What a "winning team" your classroom will be when everyone is informed and has tools at their fingertips to prepare! The possibilities are endless and as you preview my site you may find other ideas I have used.
Links: Mrs. Henson's Class
Materials: Point and Shoot, Digital Cameras, Flip Video