Making a Class Site

I feel like I have spent a lot of time talking about teaching lately, but I think it’s really important with how much teaching has changed in the past few months. This is only my fourth year of teaching, but things have changed so rapidly that it has felt like a whirlwind.

As an update, I am teaching virtually this year for the whole year. Learning digitally can be overwhelming with the amount of resources alone, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make a website for my class to use for the whole year.

Making a Bitmoji Site

The first step to making a class website was learning how to use Google Slides as a Bitmoji site. I thought it would be more complicated, but really it’s just a slideshow with websites and other slides linked to objects in the slide. For example, you click on the board and it links to another slide with the morning message. Or, you could link a whole new site to a book on the bookshelf, where it takes you to a read aloud video.

On the main page, I linked the reading nook, a morning message which I post every day, the work station, and a google meet for us to meet in.
The reading nook is where students can go to find books to read virtually. Each of the books on the bookshelf links to the whole series on Epic. Epic is a site where students can read eBooks during school hours!
The work station is where all of the students can find their work for the day. They can click on the date on the calendar to open their assignments.
After students click on the day on the calendar, they can see all of the work for the different subjects for the day. Their work is all linked from Google Classroom to the book, paper, and calculator pictures.

It took a while to figure out how I wanted to organize everything in my Bitmoji classroom. I worked on it for weeks (while I was waiting for any information on what the school year would look like). Once I had my Bitmoji site figured out, I wanted to make a site for open house.

Open House Site

Since open house was going to be virtual this year, I wanted to make something for parents to go to if they needed any information about school this year–especially if they couldn’t make it to open house. I made another Bitmoji site in Google Slides with all of the information that I could think of to help parents.

The homepage links to all of the other pages in the open house slideshow. I made sure to put all of the important information in it.
If you click “About the Teacher” on the homepage, it takes you to this page. I wanted parents and students to feel comfortable with me, and I wanted them to know a little bit about my background in teaching. The heart button takes students to an activity on Classkick (more on that later) where they can tell me more about them.
If parents click “Contact Information” on the main page, it will take them to this page, where they can find all of the ways they can contact me.
The “Class Information” tab takes you to this page, where I tell the parents that their students will be learning virtually all year. The tabs for the subjects on the side all open up to tell parents and students what they will be learning this year in each of the subjects.
Setting expectations during the first few weeks of school is extremely important. Learning virtually is no different. I made the expectations very clear with my students from the beginning–plus they like the Bitmojis throughout the visual!

The “schedule” tab opens up to my class schedule–which I will get to later on. I made a Google Form for parents to fill out their contact information and for me to find out more about the families that I will be working with. That is what’s linked to the “parent survey” button.

After I figured out Bitmoji sites, I figured I would take it a step further and make it into a full website.

Google Site

Making the Bitmoji site was probably the most tedious part. After putting all that together, all that had to be done was to put it on a Google Site. When you add the Bitmoji site, all you have to do is insert Google Slides. From there, you can add buttons that link to other pages on your site, and make it pretty!

The home page of my site has buttons across the top that link to other pages and link to other important places. My Bitmoji site acts as it should in “present” mode for the students. They can click through all of the pages that I showed above within the site.
The “class information” button on the homepage takes you to the open house slideshow page, where parents can access the information for the whole year.
The “contact info” button leads to a page with helpful videos and key terms (in case the student needed help with terms). At the bottom of this page, I listed my contact info again for parents.

The “Google Classroom” button simply takes the students to their Google Classrooms. I wanted to give students options on how to access their work. If they didn’t want to use the class site, they could find everything they needed in Google Classroom.

The “Note to Mrs. Grifski” button links to a Google Form where the students could send me a quick message without having to go to their email. I think the students like it because they can send me something quick and it will send it directly to my email.

My schedule is linked to the homepage as well. I linked it as a Google Doc so I can make changes quickly, and it updates on the site automatically. In fact, I need to update the schedule to include in social studies this week!

I keep adding to the class site to make it functional for us. I think the kids like it because it’s fun and colorful. Parents have told me they like it too because they like finding everything they need in one place.

I have links to other things on the bottom of the page like links to Google Meet for their specials, a timer, and a reward system. The reward system hasn’t been started yet, but I plan on adding that in within the next couple of weeks.

So far, the site has kept the kids and I all organized, and it makes it easy to teach throughout the day because everything is already linked in place. I am so glad that I spent the time to make this site before school started, and I think my kids are too. Happy learning!