What is Weebly? – And Why Have a Classroom Website?
Weebly is a website that allows you to create your own website. Weebly is free, but there are plans you can upgrade to for a fee (more on that below). Weebly allows you to create a website for your classroom – which is a great way to keep consistent communication with parents and students. On your website you can upload newsletters, photos of you classroom, student work, and students at work (make sure you have approval to put students images and/or work on your website). Your website can include a school calendar, reminders of field trips or other important news items, and include a way for parents to keep in contact with you through email and/or comments sections to updates. You can also include a short biography about yourself, including appropriate contact information. Further, you can include student-created blogs on your classroom website. These are only a few of the perks about having a classroom website.
Weebly Website Plan Options:
Free: This option is very basic, but allows you to have a classroom website. There are no privacy options, and your website will not be a traditional .com site. Your site will be, for example, mrpiesclassroom.weebly.com.
Basic: At this option you get everything from the free plan, plus you are able to remove the .weebly.com and add your own custom domain. You will need to buy this separately. You can do this at a website like GoDaddy.com. Domains typically cost $10-15 per year and you can buy them for multiple years. There is no privacy at this level. The cost for this plan is $49/year, but there are options at the six month and two year marks as well.
Pro: At this level you get everything from the free and basic levels, but now you can add password protected pages. The cost for this plan is $99 for one year, or $159 for two years. This is the plan that I would suggest for teachers due to the privacy you receive with it. If you work the website properly, you could even put multiple classes on the website if you teach more than one class. Each class can have a different password.
Weebly, along with other classroom websites, allows you to easily create a customized website for your classroom. The website allows you to keep in contact with parents and students. If you take advantage of a service such as Remind101 that allows you to text parents for free, you can send out update texts informing them that the website has been updated. You can have students save their written work to a Word file, and then copy/paste their work onto the website as a student-created blog. Students can do this with their real names, or with a pen name. Some students may find motivation in seeing their personal writing in digital print, on a website – they have been published!
A classroom website can primarily be used for communication to parents. That said, if you incorporate blogging into the website, any writing standard can be used. Writing standards such as perspective and opinionated writing are good options for blogging. Since the blogs will be student work, you can assess their work from the blog.
Upside: You can use a classroom website created on a site like Weebly to communicate with parents in many ways. Classroom newsletters, updates, school and classroom news, calendar dates, student blogs, images of students and their work (in accordance with school policy), and many other options help to make classroom websites a strong tool in education.
Downside: Weebly is free, but in order to get some of the desired aspects of a classroom website, it is going to cost you. This is true about most, if not all, personal website building sites. The usefulness, ease, and price will vary from site to site.
A classroom website is becoming more essential as the years go by. You can create a classroom website for free on many sites, such as Weebly. To get some of the desired aspects of a classroom website, it is going to cost you. That said, if you properly utilize your classroom website, the cost will be worth it.