Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Super Hero Website

Super Hero Website

Today I am leading a workshop on how to be a super hero with Google Sites. What are some characteristics of a super hero website?

Your Google Site is your secret identity/alter ego. It is who you are on the web.

It is your super hero lair.  Just like Batman keeps all his cool stuff down in the batcave the Google site lets you easily integrate all of your documents, calendars, images, etc… in one place. It houses all your things you need for students.

Your Google site is your sidekick. It helps you look good. It is there to support you when you’re down. If you are posting things daily to your website then students who are not even in class can visit your site and get caught up. No more excuses. Absent? No problem, your students know to find the information off of your site.

Utility Belt of weapons of mass information at your fingertips.

Every good super hero needs spandex, Google sites lets you customize your site exactly the way you want to fit your super persona. Besides the awesome templates you can choose from you are able to edit it even further with horizontal instead of sidebar navigation… or no navigation. Put your own logo on it and even customize it further.

Google sites is all about collaboration, it is your super league. All the teachers in your grade level or team are able to be owners of the site and contribute. No one person has to be responsible for maintaining the whole site.

With super speed you can have a website up and running and quickly keep updated.

With the ability to add as many Blog (with RSS) feeds as you want you will have the ultimate hero signal.

Let your Google site be your Super Universe. Everything everything you do in your classroom you will want to put on your site. Keep it updated, post everything, hold students responsible to check the site.


  1. Create a Google account just for teaching. You might want to start having students turn in homework via Google docs and it is a good idea to keep all those docs separate from your real ones.
  2. Go to http://sites.google.com and create a site
  3. Use a BLANK template. It is tempting to use the classroom template but that will be frustrating to delete the parts you don’t want. Start from scratch.
  4. Choose a theme (you can change it later)
  5. Once in your site in the upper right hand corner is a button that says “more actions.” Click on this and choose “site permissions” at the bottom.
  6. SHARE this site with yourself (as in any other Google accounts that you have). This will make it easier to edit if you don’t have to sign in and out of your Google accounts. Make sure you make yourself OWNER.  Also share with anyone else who might remotely want to contribute to your site. Make them owners too.
  7. On the home screen you should notice in the upper right two buttons: create page and edit page. These only show up if you’re signed in. (note that the sign in is at the bottom).
  8. Click edit page.
  9. What is great about Google Sites is the INSERT menu. You can just insert pictures and Google things very easy. (note: you have to HAVE these things to begin with, the Google site does not create the item).
  10. Insert a picture. Google Sites lets you upload from your harddrive! Tip: If you see a picture on a website you can use command shift 4 (macs) and do a screenshot and then upload the screenshot from your desktop.
  11. Put a description of yourself/classroom.
  12. Under that go to the insert menu and the last option to insert is
  13. Now create a page (button in upper right)
  14. There are 4 options for page types. Most of the time you will do a regular webpage.
  15. Create a page for each subject you teach. Type a description if you want and hit save. I will make Algebra, Geometry and Stats pages.
  16. Click on the algebra page (actually click on the page you created) and click on the CREATE PAGE button.  (note: this is easiest if you are on the page you want to create a subpage for to begin with).  Create a page and name it algebra calendar (or whatever you want).
  17. You want to create this page UNDER the algebra page.  You are making a subpage, if you were not on the algebra page to begin with you can always move the page to the right spot if you need to.
  18. Go to the insert menu and insert a calendar. Note when you insert the calendar you can put in more than one calendar at a time, you might want to do this. Also you can choose month view or agenda view.
  19. Try using the layout menu to do a 2 column page. In the first column is your calendar in month view and in the 2nd column is your calendar in agenda view.
  20. Notice when you save that on your calendar at the bottom right is a button to allow parents and students to add your calendar to their calendar. (Note: make sure your calendar is public).
  21. Click back on the algebra page, we want to make another subpage but we want it under algebra not under the calendar.
  22. Click to create page.  Call it homework and choose the ANNOUNCEMENTS page type. This will create a blog.
  23. Save this page UNDER the algebra page.
  24. Now create a new post. What is great is that this blog has an RSS feed associated with it, and when you add new posts the old posts will automatically be moved down the page and automatically be archived.  Use the announcements style page whenever you are having information you will update frequently.
  25. Now click back on algebra and create a page. Call this page CLASS NEWS. Choose an announcements template and create it UNDER the algebra page. This creates a NEW blog with a different RSS feed. Put class announcements there that are different from listing the classwork and assignments each day.
  26. Click back on algebra and create a page and use the page style of lists. Call this page algebra links.  Create this UNDER the algebra page.
  27. On the page choose the last option to make a custom list.  Create a column called unit, create a column called description and create a column called URL (note change the type to URL).
  28. This creates a button you can click on that will create a form for you to fill out so you can list websites for resources for students.
  29. Click back on the algebra page. Click on the create page button. Create an announcements style page and name it Student Stars. Create this under the algebra page.  Use this to post student work samples. Insert pictures of student work
  30. Repeat steps 21 – 29 for each subject you teach
  31. To edit the sidebar, if you are logged in, you will see “edit sidebar” on the left hand side. Click on the link.
  32. In the settings on the navigation block click edit.
  33. Where it says level of pages to show… choose ALL from the drop down list.
  34. Now choose to add a sidebar item
  35. Scroll down the options and find the Countdown and add the widget to the sidebar.
  36. Click edit on the widget so you can choose a date to count down to, this will show a countdown to…. open house, the next test, last day of school, whatever you want!!
  37. Make sure you click save changes and then you can click to return to the site.

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