If You Give A Student A Website…


A Rhyme? Why not!

Let’s start out in a rather unconventional way.

Just in case you aren’t familiar, the title of this post is a play on the popular children’s book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff.

Even though the original wasn’t a rhyme, once we got going, we just couldn’t stop.

Here goes…

If you give a student a website, at first, he isn’t going to be sure what to do.

He will start by wanting to decorate it and personalize it too.

He’ll no doubt choose some interesting colors and flashing widgets – making sure he has the most.

Once you go over expectations, you will assign the student to write his first post.

The student will ask, ‘is this for a grade?’, and he will probably groan.

But once he publishes to his new website, he’ll immediately want to pull out his phone.

He’ll post a link to twitter and facebook, out across the interwebs his post will be sent.

He’ll hit refresh in his browser, over and over, just hoping that a visitor has left a comment.

Before long he’ll see the comment notifications show up in his queue.

And an ongoing dialogue between his family, friends, and classmates will certainly continue.

So the next time he learns something new in your class, there won’t be much of a fight.

Before you even get the chance to finish, the student will ask if he can write another post on his website.

iPadpalooza Conference

This is a companion post to a presentation we gave at iPadpalooza 2015 in Austin, Texas.

We published this post as a reference for those in attendance, but we hope it is also useful for anyone else that may be reading.

Here’s a quick overview of a few of the topics we discussed:

  • Giving students websites increases motivation, reflection, and ownership of learning
  • A blog is a type of website that includes an RSS feed (subscription) and comments (feedback loop)
  • An ePortfolio is a structured blog or website that includes scaffolding for organizing student work
  • Publishing on the web is not only ‘the law’, it builds digital citizenship and provides an authentic audience for students
  • There are tons of web publishing tools available. WordPress powers 25% of the entire web for a reason.
  • Many schools and districts are providing WordPress blog and website networks to every teacher and student.
  • No two implementations are the same. Make it your own. But know there are tons of resources available.

And here are all the links that were shared.

That’s it!

Please leave any and all questions you may have below!

Happy blogging!


10 thoughts on “If You Give A Student A Website…

  1. It’s really interesting blog. If student was given a website. As a student of Masters(English) at Department of English,Maharaja Krishnakumarsinghji Bhavnagar University (Gujarat,India) I was given a task to prepare a website as part of academic project blended learning. I can easily relate with the steps given here. When the first time I heard about it I was confused as in where to start. Then slowly started compiling all the things and it was done. It was the best experience of my life. It not only makes you walk through memory lane but also you can see self improvement. What you were back then and what you are now. Every university and every department should use this idea as a teaching-learning pedagogy.

  2. You could include a lot of the TEKS for language arts for most grades, too.
    ((12) Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students (with adult assistance) are expected to:

    (A) identify different forms of media (e.g., advertisements, newspapers, radio programs); and

    (B) identify techniques used in media (e.g., sound, movement).

    (13) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Students (with adult assistance) are expected to:

    (A) plan a first draft by generating ideas for writing through class discussion;

    (B) develop drafts by sequencing the action or details in the story;

    (C) revise drafts by adding details or sentences;

    (D) edit drafts by leaving spaces between letters and words; and

    (E) share writing with others.

    OR even social studies
    (15) Social studies skills. The student communicates in oral and visual forms. The student is expected to:

    (A) express ideas orally based on knowledge and experiences; and

    (B) create and interpret visuals, including pictures and maps.

  3. I am interested in creating subblogs under my blog. I want my students to blog in groups so that it is easier for me to track and evaluate. Can someone help me with that ? Is it even possible?

    1. Hi, your best bet would be to create categories on your blog and then, assuming the students are all posting on the one site, have them assign their posts to the correct category when submitting or publishing them. You can then add a custom menu to your site whcih can include links to the category pages where all of these posts will be displayed in their assigned category. Here are some help pages: http://help.edublogs.org/adding-tags-and-categories-to-a-post/ and http://help.edublogs.org/custom-menu/.

  4. How do you manage the blogs and provide security for the kids at the same time? I love this idea for students but I also know that web presence can sometimes create unwanted attention, so to speak. I’d like to hear ideas on how to use the blogs and maintain privacy to some extent.


    1. Hi Aubra, you can have the blog as open or private as you like. It can be fully public, or password protected. You can set it to allow any Edublogs user to view it, or just the users who are registered on your specific site.

      Password protection is a popular option that allows students and parents to access the site but still have a fairly secure site on which to share and interact.

  5. I really want to begin classroom blogging next year and excited about it. I must admit that I am nervous. I have 150+ students and the idea of monitoring that many students sounds daunting. Any advice? Thanks!

  6. Good foundational information. I would like to begin using this in my science class, uploading projects, work examples, and as a study tool.

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