How I Created My Websites
This page explains how I built and designed my websites, particularly Mrs.
Gomez's Second Grade, since most questions are about building a
class website. I am not an expert at web designing nor do I have
extensive knowledge of HTML coding. With lots of research, I
learned how to create my own class website. Below is a
step-by-step explanation of how I created my class site (now defunct). There are many wonderful websites that give
you design and technical information on building
class websites so I will not go into too much detail. If you
have any questions, please feel free to email me.
My class is lucky
enough to have computers with Internet access. I wanted to take
advantage of the various websites developed for children. But
second graders have a very difficult time typing in long URL addresses
to get to these sites. That is when I decided to create a
page with links so that my students could click their way around.
I was able to create a page using www.quia.com,
which is excellent for beginners.
Later on I found
class websites that impressed me and made me realize the educational
opportunities that creating a class website could offer my
students. I had Microsoft Frontpage 2000 on my computer so I read
the help section and bought a book on learning how to use Frontpage.
After a few trial practices building a page, I was ready to create Mrs.
Gomez's Second Grade website. The great thing about Frontpage is
that you do not need to know HTML coding or web designing.
Microsoft Frontpage no longer exists but there are other great programs,
such as Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web.
In order to
create a good class website, you need to make a plan of what objectives
and contents you want on your pages. If you are not sure, check
out other class websites to see what they have. Once you have
completed your plan, then it is time to build your pages.
The objective for
my second grade website was to provide online activities for students,
showcase student work, offer ideas and links to other teachers, and
provide information for parents. (Busy Teacher's Cafe was created
when the teacher resources outgrew the second grade website.)
Clipart and Graphics
In order to build
my webpages, I needed clipart, graphics, and backgrounds to decorate the
pages. I created a folder called Clipart. I searched
on the web for school graphics and checked out other class websites to
see where they got their graphics. I downloaded many graphics,
backgrounds, signs, page sets, etc. by right-clicking onto the images
and saving them in the Clipart folder.
After a while, I
began making my own graphics when I couldn't find ones I needed.
That's when Busy Teacher's
Cafe Clipart was born. Although I enjoy making graphics, I
really don't do them that often. I use Paint Shop Pro 7, which is
what I also use to create titles for many of my webpages.
Designing the Webpages
Now that I had enough
graphics, I began to design the index page. Your home page should
always be labeled index.html or index.htm. One thing to remember when building
a page is to make it appealing but easy to navigate. As the months
have passed, my pages have become simpler. When people begin
designing, they go crazy adding cute effects which can get annoying
after a while. (I know I did that a lot! :) The most
important thing to do is to make sure that people are not overwhelmed
with so many effects and graphics. Hopefully, I will learn to take
my own advice and cut down on graphics. :)
Finding a Web Host Provider and Uploading the Site
Once I completed the index
page and a few other important pages, my site was ready to be
published. I signed on to www.freeservers.com.
Within a couple of hours I had an account and information on how to
upload my site. The site was uploaded and Mrs. Gomez's Second
Grade was finally on the web!!
Many of the free web host
providers have their own WebPage builders so you don't need Frontpage....I have never used these services so I am unable to comment on
Promoting the Website
So I have a website that
is published but now I needed visitors besides parents and
students. In order to get my website on the search engines, I had
to submit my website to each search engine, like Yahoo and Ask Jeeves.
There are some free services that will submit your information for you
periodically. Joining webrings is also a good way of sharing your
site with other educators.
Maintaining Your Site
It takes many, many hours
to build a website but once you are done, maintaining it is quite
easy. Depending on your content, it could take up to a couple of
hours a week. It's a good idea to maintain your website every so
often so that visitors will come back to see what new things you have
it. I hope I was able to answer some questions on how I created my
website. Please check out the other links for more information on
creating a class website. Good luck!