Setting up a Google Site


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You may be asking yourself, why should I have a Google site? A website is a place where you can store a great deal of information, useful tools and gadgets all one spot that is easily accessible to you, your students and their parents. I chose Google for this mini course because it is free and easy to use, even for those who are not tech savvy. You will start by reading a list of the top ten reasons why you should have a website and then read an excellent article from Educational Leadership magazine about the five different levels of classroom websites. After you decide what kind of website you want to create for your classroom, you will set up your own website with a template of your choice and a home page.

Navigation tips

I recommend that whenever you go to a page outside of this mini course you open it in a new window. To open any page in a new window you need to right click on the link and select "open in new window". By using a new window, you will be able to get back to this course without having to use the back button on your browser.

When creating and editing your google site, you can make both the Google window and the mini course window smaller. You will then be able to follow the instructions as I walk you through the steps by seeing both screens at the same time.

Why Should You Have a Website?

This is an excellent Top Ten List[1] that applies to teachers in every discipline. As you read the list think about how your website could incorporate the benefits mentioned. When you have finished reading go to the discussion tab at the top of this page and post your answer to the questions 1 and 2.

How Will You Use Your Website

Here is a link[2] to the website an orchestra teacher set up for his students at one elementary school. He works at three different schools in one city school district and has a website for each school. This site is simple and requirs very little effort to maintain but has valuable resources for his students and their parents.

This is a website[3] I set up to use with my elementary students. I use it in the classroom and as a resource for my students and their parents outside of school. I usually spend a few hours a semester maintaining it, usually adding more tools and features that will be useful to my students.

This band website[4], set up by a band teacher at a city high school, has many pages and enables the teacher to make announcements, recieve student or parent comments, and give a great deal of important educational information to his students. This site requires a more time and effort to maintain but also helps the teacher communicate easily with many students.

Read the article "Making the Most or Your Class Website"Media:Making_the_Most_of_Your_Class_Website.pdf from the February 2001 edition of Educational Leadership. As you read this article think about what kind of website you would like to create for your classroom. Then return to the discussion tab and answer question 3.

Getting Started

Step 1 - Setting up a Google account

If you already have a Google account you can skip this step and proceed to step 2.

  • Go to Google[5] and click on the upper left hand corner where it says sign in. You will get the screen you see below.
  • Click on "Create An Account Now" and fill in all the required information. All you will need is a current e-mail address, a password and your birthday. You also need to agree to the terms of service and type in the word verification.
  • After you have filled in all the fields simply click on the button at the bottom of the screen that says "I accept. Create my account".

Google account (800x450).jpg

Step 2 - Setting up a Google site

  • Make sure you are signed into your Google account and that you are on the Google home page.
  • At the top of this page you will see a list of options, when you click on the word "more" a list will drop down. Scroll down this list and click on the word "sites". You will be brought to a new page where you can create your own site.
  • Click on the button that says "Create new site"
  • Choose a template from the gallery and create the site name.
    • You can change your template any time you want but the site name can never be changed once you have created the site.
    • It is very important that you think carefully about the name of your site.
    • It is best to have a simple site name that is easy for students and parents to remember.
  • You can choose your theme and set your options after you have created your site so do not worry about those two sections of the screen for now.
  • Enter the word verification and click "Create site"
  • On your home page click the box in the left corner that says "Edit page"
  • Write a brief welcome to your site in the text box and click "Save", you can change this message any time you want by clicking on "Edit page" and saving your changes.

Congratulations, You now have a Google site. Proceed to Unit 2 Adding Tools to Your Site