Monday, June 4, 2012

Classroom Website vs. Classroom Blog

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

Today I want to tell you about the wonder that is BLOGS.  Most of you are familiar with how blogs work by now....and you are in fact reading a blog right now!

Blogs are such an amazing tool to use in your classroom.  In this post I will tell you why I believe that it is way easier and better to use a blog for your classroom instead of a website.  Please know that this is just my opinion, and if you choose to use a traditional website instead, that is totally fine- a lot of teachers do.  However, I do think that blogs are better and easier... read on to find out why! :)

Traditional Websites
I started out my first year of teaching with a traditional website.  My school had a lot of technology and wanted every teacher in the district to have a web page for parents and students.  We had old-school Netscape Composer as our website building software and I built a website.  I even figured out a little bit about HTML coding on my own.   My website had some useful links on it, and I updated it about once a quarter.  It looked ok...but it did NOT look modern or professionally made.

Then, our school got Adobe Dreamweaver as our website building software.  Oh my gosh!  So stinkin much better! (I am extremely partial to Adobe products!) It was easier to create a website and I definitely had a better looking finished product.  However, it still wasn't exactly like I wanted it.  I updated it a little more often... maybe like twice a quarter, but that was about it.

I used a traditional classroom website for 5 years.  That's all I really knew.  No other teachers in my district used a blog... so it didn't even cross my mind to use one for my classroom.  My 6th year of teaching, I became a 4th Grade Classroom Teacher and wanted a website that I could easily update, write notes to parents, update spelling lists, and for it to be an interactive place to connect with students and parents.

ENTER... the blog!!

First of all, I want to tell you-all who are a little afraid of blogs, they are WAY easier to create than a website from scratch!   The template is already there, you just drop and drag the elements you want onto your page!  They have pre-made backgrounds and all you have to do to get a blog is create a log-in user name and password.  No hosting fees, or other fees of any kind!

Secondly, you can do EVERYTHING on a blog that you can do on a website.  You can link assignments, documents, newsletters, etc. to your blog.  You can create different pages for different subjects.  You can have links to other websites you want your students to visit.  And you can design it the way YOU want it... and it won't take you a full work week to get your new blog into shape!

I love my classroom blog- all I have to do in order to write a quick note to parents or students on my blog is to log in, like you would log in to your email.  The same goes for updating any information on your blog as well!

Blogs are super easy to create, maintain, and update.  I would recommend using a blog instead of a traditional website for ANY teacher!

Check out the blog I created for my future classroom at Mrs. Stout's Class Website.

**This is my first post in the Classroom Blog Series.  In the next few posts, I will take you step-by-step and show you how to create your OWN classroom blog!  I will even be posting some background and other FREEBIES to use on your classroom blogs!**