How I Created My Websites

Welcome!  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.

1. The Beginning

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.

2. Planning

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.) 

3. 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.  

4. 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. :)

5. 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 them.  

6. 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.

7. 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 added.

That's 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!

 

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