How to Make Classic Google Sites

Let’s take a look at how to make Classic Google Sites. For teachers, they can be invaluable tools. Why? First, they’re great for storing instructional materials. Second, you can share with others. Third, and probably most importantly, kids love when you create learning modules for them. They’re engaging and educational!

How to Make Classic Google Sites

Why Make Classic Google Sites Instead of New Sites

The first thing to consider is whether you’ll use Classic or New Sites. Of course, it depends on your specific classroom needs. And the site’s purpose. Although New Sites feature sleek, simple designs (and are easy to create), Classic Sites provide more options. Google offers a bunch of handy comparison tables that will help you decide.

Note: Google will be discontinuing Classic Sites at the end of 2021. In the meantime, they’re rolling out more new features for New Sites.

Design and Organization
  • Pro Classic – This platform allows you to use a pre-designed template or create a custom design yourself. Unfortunately, New Sites does not. In addition, New Sites limits you to 5 subpages, while Classic Sites allows unlimited subpages.
  • Pro New – New Sites automatically adjust to your device (e.g., mobile phone). While Classic Sites do not, you can go into Manage Sites and turn it on.
Sharing and Permission
  • Pro Classic – Classic allows one custom sharing feature that tips the scales: “anyone with the link.” What does this mean? Only those with whom you share the link can access the site. With New Sites, you can share with everyone on the Internet, people in your domain, and specific people (but you have to type each and every one of their email addresses in…) In many school districts, teachers and their students have different domains, so this can be a pain.

Basic Steps to Make Classic Google Sites

To get started, open your Google account. Then click on the apps menu and look for Sites. If you don’t see it, click More. And if you still don’t see it, simply search the term “Google Sites.” Click the red CREATE button and choose Classic Sites.

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How to Add a Page

Now you’re ready to add a page. You’ll see an icon with a plus sign at the upper right. After you click it, give your page a name.

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Take a look at your options. For example, you can change the template of each page. Choices include the traditional web page, announcements, file cabinet, list, and start page.

After you choose a template, consider where you’d like the page. If it’s a main category, go ahead and keep it at the top level. Later, as you add more pages, you can create an elaborate web of subpages.

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When you’re working in Sites, you’ll either be editing a single page or the entire website. Keep that in mind. To edit one page, click on the pencil icon. Broken lines will appear around the area you can edit. When you want to move to another page or make changes to the entire website, click Save.

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Page Options

When you’re working on a specific page (which means you’ve clicked the pencil icon), you’ll see page options in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Let’s take a look at four sets of options available to you:

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Site Options

After you’ve hit Save, four icons will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. You already know about the pencil and plus icons. Powerful options can be found using the gear dropdown menu. Today we’ll discuss a few.

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Let’s try editing the site layout. When you click on that, five options appear.

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Today, we’ll try adding to the sidebar. This is just one of many ways you can customize your Classic Site.

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More Page Options

For each page, you can change the settings. However, you cannot do this in edit mode. Instead, hit Save and open the gear menu. Choose page settings. For a more attractive page, deselect subpages and comments. If you want a longer (or bigger or more colorful) title to appear on your page, deselect the title and type a new title on your page. Finally, if you want to attach a document to your page, keep it selected.

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Classic Sites offer more sharing options. Of course, you can leave your website private. On the other hand, you can make it public or limit sharing to specific audiences. In addition, you can choose the level of sharing. People may just view, edit, or share full ownership with you.

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Classroom Applications

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing a variety of instructional and organizational applications for Google Sites. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. When you match your classroom needs with Google Sites, the possibilities are endless.


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