Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quick & Easy Webpages for your site.

As a new teacher in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools you are required to maintain a webpage. Are you struggling to figure out what to put on your site?

Here is a quick idea that can add a number of additional pages to your site very quickly and can be easily maintained with little effort.

As a teacher you follow the NC Standard Course of Study which outlines the information that you will teach through out the school year. Those of you who are in Elementary Schools teach your students all year long while those of you who are in Middle and High Schools may teach multiple subjects, by quarter, semester or other. The information that you share with your students does not change unless the SCOS changes... correct? As a Middle/High school teacher you may be providing students with a Syllabus to outline the course in paper format, while Elementary school teachers you may be relaying information as needed to your students and parents.

Why not create webpages designed for each subject(Middle/High) or by quarter(Elementary) that you create all at once and then hide/unhide when you change classes, quarters or semesters?

Elementary Teachers:
You teach the same information to your students according to the SCOS by quarter. Now unless the SCOS changes you would not really have to change or modify your webpage except to change the start and end dates of the quarter and the year information. Normally you outline the semester activities, lessons and projects on a sheet that may be in your classroom or you may send home to parents with their children which you hope gets to them. Why not create a separate webpage for each quarter and make it active/inactive as needed.

Middle/High Teachers:
You teach multiple subjects across the entire year, or by semester or even quarter. Again unless the SCOS changes the information you provide to your students would not need modification. Your students may expect that you provide them with a paper syllabus, or some sort of outline for the class that they will follow through out the year. Why not create a separate webpage for each subject area or class that you teach and make it active/inactive as needed.

So how do you do this? After you have been given access to your Schoolwires webpage at your school you will be able to go into the Site Manager page and click on the New Page button. This will show you the 8 different pages that are available to you within the Schoolwires webpage system. The easiest page to choose is the FLEX page which offers you the easiest method of getting information to your students and parents.
Once you have clicked on the Flex page give it a title that corresponds to the information you are going to put on the page, ie; 1st Quarter, 2nd Semester English, Algebra I, US History, 3rd Quarter for 5th Graders. Then Save the page so that you can begin adding the information to the page.

Once you have completed all the information for each page and created each page according to your needs now you can make them either Active or Inactive. How do you do this you may ask? Here is a quick lesson followed by a short video to demo the action you would take within your Site Manager.

While on your Site Manager home page. Under the heading Current Pages there is a series of columns. The one to the farthest left shows the Status of each page. By default each page is set to Active but there is a small check box to the left of the word Active. If you UN-Check one of those boxes it will place the corresponding page in an In-Active mode thus making it invisible for students, parents and community members when they are looking at your site. As an example, if you are an Elementary school teacher with webpages for each quarter that outline the SCOS for students and parents as the end of October approaches over that final weekend you would go into your Site Manager and Un-Check the 1st Quarter webpage and Check the 2nd Quarter webpage to make it viewable.

Here is the demo video:

video

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Butter Up Your Lessons With Timetoast

Once in a while I come across programs or websites that can completely change the way we teach. And I do believe I have found this with Timetoast. Do you have students create timelines? Creating timelines can be a time consuming, and, let's face it, boring. Not with Timetoast.

Timetoast is an online, interactive, timeline program. Using a free account students and teachers can create a wide range of interactive timelines. In the example below a student has created a timeline of the NASA Space program. Each dot represents information entered by the student. When you move across the time line you see the event that corresponds to that date. Cool Huh? But timetoast takes it one step further allowing users to link events on their timeline to other websities like videos, interviews, or pictures. Now that is cool!

Another great feature is that once you create your timeline you can share it with others with a simple web address. So students can share with other students and teachers can share also. There is not a feature yet to make timelines private but that is coming. In the mean time check out Timetoast and timeline to your heart's content!

Timetoast

Here are some other timeline creators too: