With Google Sites, kids can build collaborative websites. Just create a Google Site. Add the directions and a page for each student. Then you can sit back and watch. In no time, they’ll create a professional-looking website.
What’s cool about Google Sites? All students can work on one website simultaneously. (However, only one person can work on one webpage at a time.) So your class can collaborate to build a content-based website.
Start with a Brief Research Project
When building a collaborative website, begin with a short research project that can be broken into many parts. For example, I wanted my students to research diseases. Since there are more diseases than students in my class, it worked well for a collaborative website.
You can also form groups and give each group member a different part. For example, when studying Native Americans, assign a different tribe to each group. Within a group, ask different students to research homes, clothing, food, shelter, and traditions. The group can work together for their cover page and supply maps that show where the tribe lived.
Any content that can be split into parts works well for this activity!
How to Build Collaborative Websites
Create a Google Site & Add Directions
First, make a website with Google Sites.
Second, add directions. When you put them on the home page, kids can click back and forth. Or you can put them directly on each student page.
Add a Page for Every Student
Select Pages in the bar at the top right. Then click on the plus sign at the bottom of the page. Name your page, and you’re ready to go.
Once you’ve created the first student page, it’s time to format it. Page features are added in sections. You can choose templates or add single features (text box, image, etc.) The objects populate the screen from top to bottom in the order you’ve added them. But you can click and drag to rearrange them at any time.
For this project, I wanted each student to add a picture and write about the disease. Therefore, I chose the template with one large picture to the left and writing to the right. Since I didn’t want them to add an additional title, I deleted that box.
Every student would use the same format, so I simply duplicated the slide and renamed it for each disease. To rearrange pages, simply click and drag.
How to Manage Collaborative Websites
Make a Copy
From any page, click on the circle with three dots at the upper right. Then choose Duplicate site.
Share with Students
Hit the blue Publish button at the top right. Then follow the directions below.
Note that you can go back and change the settings. Just click on the person with the plus sign in the upper right.
Explain Rules and Consequences
For this project, everyone works on the same website. You know what that means. Naughtiness abounds. Lay the groundwork. Anyone sabotaging another’s work will be kicked off the site.
And let them know up front that you can find out who the saboteurs are. Here’s how you do it.
As noted, you can use this feature to revert to an earlier version. This feature is great for kids (or teachers!) who accidentally change or delete their work.
Follow these directions to see revision history.
Provide Note Taking Sheets
Since this is a collaborative project, note taking sheets are a must. Once all (or at least most) of the students finish, ask them to learn from others’ work.
Powerful Learning with Google Sites
Collaborative websites like this provide powerful learning. After all, kids are constructing their own knowledge. They’re collaborating. And when they’re done, they have something awesome to show for it.
Google Sites offer endless opportunities for directing student learning. You can create independent learning modules, webquests, PBLs, novel studies, and eBooks. Sites provide a great platform to supplement learning, organize research, direct homework, and even flip your classroom. What are you waiting for? Build a Google Site today!