Create a teacher site using Google Sites in five steps

Create a teacher site using Google Sites in five steps

Google Sites is possibly the easiest way to quickly share information online. This platform also makes collaboration a simple and natural part of the process of creating a website, making Google Sites an ideal fit for any classroom, PLC, administration team, or grade level partnerships. Getting started with Google Sites is a breeze, and you can have a fully functioning site going in just minutes.

I have worked with many teachers on setting up their own classroom portals with Google Sites. Each teacher has different needs and therefore each one created a very different final product, but I think I’ve boiled the basic process down into five easy-to-follow steps. Of course, you can build your site to be as big and unique as you’d like – Google offers complete theme customization and the ability to expand a site far beyond the basic level – but if you’re just getting ready to jump in, this guide should get you off and running.

If your district or building does not have an installation of Google Sites, you can create your own page by going to sites.google.com. You need a Google account to sign in.

Step 1: Create your site and set your sharing settings

The first step in the process is to create your site.

The only setting in the creation process you cannot change later is the URL of your site. For everything else, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect right away. You can always change your site title, theme, colors, and description later.

Be especially careful to set up your sharing settings correctly. You want to select “Only people I specify can view this site” if you do not want any one else to be able to change your site without your approval. If you want everyone to be able to view your site without having to sign in to a Google Account, check the box besides “Everyone in the world can view this site.”

View the video tutorial below for a step-by-step explanation of the process.

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Step 2: Make your welcome page

Once you’ve made your site, click Edit Page to bring up the editor. This works like a basic word processor enhanced with the ability to easily add pictures and links to a variety of resources.

You can change the layout of your site easily and embed anything from Google Docs or your Google Calendar to your site as well.

When you have a Welcome page created, save it knowing you can return to it at any time to change and update it.

View the video tutorial below for a step-by-step explanation of the process.

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Step 3: Create an Announcements Page

An announcements page gives you a quick and easy way to update the daily or weekly happenings in your site. It works very much like a traditional blog – giving you the ability to make posts and archive older entries automatically.

Click Create Page, and then select an Announcement Page. Name it and decide where you want it to be located in your navigation structure.

The video below takes you through the process of adding events, creating a table of contents, and organizing your class blog.

View the video tutorial below for a step-by-step explanation of the process.

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Step 4: Upload and link to documents

The video below takes you through the process of adding and linking to documents step-by-step. You can upload and link to almost any file. If you are considering uploading Word documents, please consider saving them as PDF files or uploading them as Google Doc documents before you do so. This gives students the ability to view these files from anywhere, even if they don’t own Microsoft Word.

View the video tutorial below for a step-by-step explanation of the process.

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Step 5: Embed documents, presentations, calendars, etc.

The real power of Google Sites comes from its seamless integration with Google Apps. You can embed presentations, documents, spreadsheets, videos, calendars and more directly into your site in just seconds. This means that students and parents can view materials from your class and resources you provide instantly and without having to download anything.

View the video tutorial below for a step-by-step explanation of the process.

Conclusion

Google Sites can be expanded, customized, and shared far beyond what this tutorial covers. This is just the quickest way to get off and running with a Google site. You can experiment with settings in the More Actions menu on the top-right of the screen. You can Share your site with others to collaborate with grade level teams, manage your settings and themes, and change even the smallest details of your site.

The video below walks you through some of the more advanced features of Google Sites. You may want to check these out so you know what’s possible to do with your site once you’re comfortable with updating it and working with content.

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