Teachers are all too familiar with the black holes that masquerade as student backpacks, swallowing important papers. A Web site can provide a more reliable conduit to students and parents, and you don’t need to be an HTML whiz to create one. The companies below provide education-themed templates, Web hosting, and lots of handy features, and they’re almost as easy to use as a word processing program.
By far the most professional-looking option, School World has tools for creating calendars, quizzes, Web-based forms, message boards, and more. It costs $39 each year for a basic subscription and $59 for premium features.
TeacherWeb’s clip-art style is reminiscent of the Internet’s early days, but the site does let you choose from several templates and colors. You can also customize sections for announcements, homework, grades, and more. The cost is $27 per year.
School and Teacher has an e-mail reminder tool, so kids or parents can receive an e-notice before an assignment is due or when an event will take place. You can also upload documents and post them on the site—especially helpful for students who lose assignments. Sites are free the first year and then cost $19.95 per year.
School Rack offers fewer options, but it is particularly easy to use and completely free. It’s best for simple tasks such as posting a syllabus, classroom rules, or your contact information, and you can create a separate section for each class you teach.
Class Notes Online is also free and has calendar, syllabus, and grade book tools. Users log into password-protected sections.
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2006 edition of Teacher