Google Sites for Virtual Learning (Part 1)

This summer I have been searching for things that will make it easier for my students and families to communicate, stay organized, and on the same page with me.  Since we will be 100% Virtual to start the year, I want an EASY solution.  In that search, I stumbled upon Google Sites....and I am in love!

Great way to keep connected during Remote Teaching is a Google Site

Getting Started

Setting up a Google Site isn't super difficult.  You have access to it (for FREE) in your Google Suite.  That is the little waffle you see by your name at the top of the Google page.  It is one of the options, just like Google Slides or Docs.  After you choose a site (make sure you go to the NEW Google Sites),  it is pretty much a blank slate with lots of layout options for you.  I just started by playing around with what was there.   I moved things around.  I added things from the LAYOUTS menu.  Once you get the hang of it, it is actually rather intuitive.  Here is a video that walks you through setting up rather easily and clearly.  

It was deciding the direction and focus of the site that had me stumped at first.  I couldn't  settle upon my desired outcome with the entire thing.  Did I want it to service parents?  Only a place for the kids? Replace my existing class website?  Work hand in hand with Google Classroom?  The answer was, in truth, all of those things.  I wanted this to be a One Stop Shop if you will -- a classroom hub.  Once that was figured out, I was off and running.

Cover Page


My site cover page simply introduces the two PORTALS that I wanted my families to be able to access.  They are the STUDENT PORTAL and the PARENT PORTAL.  They are not in the navigation bar, as I wanted them to truly be a portal to another place type of thing.   You can see that at the top of the picture above.  Here is a picture of how I set that up.  


You can see I did Pages > Student Portal > Press 3 dots > Hide from Navigation.  You can also see a visual of this here in my Instagram Highlights.

Due to the limited font and picture capabilities on Google, the Portal pictures were made in Power Point using a stock photos from Deposit Photos.  I have an account there, so they did cost me a nominal fee to access.  I am sure there are free stock photo sites that you can use though and achieve a similar look.   The fonts are from A Primary Kind of Life.  

Once I made the two picture (student and parent portal), I inserted them onto the page using the "Image" button on the Layout menu.  I then made them clickable by highlighting them, pushing the link icon, and linking it to the hidden "Student Portal" page on the site.



Student Portal

Integrating Google Sites and Google Classroom

Once the kids click STUDENT PORTAL, they will be taken to their main page.  This is the page I intend for them to check daily.  I want them to start here as their morning work so to speak.  There are three sections.  The first is a Daily Check-in (from Jennifer Findley) that will serve as a way for us to connect AND for attendance purposes.  

The Daily Agenda is next.  That is where the kids will see specifics on our learning goals and standards for the week.  These are Google Files from Ladybug's Teacher Files.  Since they are housed in Google when I update them in my Google Drive, they automatically update on my Google Site.  My plan is to update them once a week, as all 5 days are there.  I used the "Google Drive" button on the Layout section to embed these into the site.  If a student needs a more close up look, just clicking on it will make it enlarge.

Having one place for all of the work for the day is a great idea on a Google Site

Finally, there is a link to our Google Classroom.  That will take the kids to the actual work section to turn things in.  As always, this is password protected, so I will also be keeping the Zoom link there.  

At the bottom, there is a link to a secondary page that has extra practice links and above and beyond work for those kids who want "extra credit" or to take their learning further.  I plan to update this throughout the year.  




OK...that was information overload!!  I will stop here for now so you can get this part set up.  In Part 2, I will show you what I have on the Parent Portal page, including the links that are there.  I will also show you the Amazing Work and Classroom Library sections.

So, with all of that so far, what questions do you have for me?  I will try my best to answer them.

49 comments

  1. This is fabulous! I'm so excited to follow you and find out more!

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    1. Thank you! Glad to have you along here for the Google Sites ride :)

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  2. Really nicely laid out - I think this will really help your students stay focused and be successful virtually.

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  3. Our district is changing from Google Classroom to Canvas. Is this compatible with Canvas? I really like the thought of having a place for parents to go outside of student areas. My kiddos are LIFE Skills, so parents will always be in their section, as well. Is there a way to keep eyes out of other's information and work?

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    1. I do not know anything at all about Canvas, so I am not sure if it is compatible. Parents will always have access to their students' things, as they do so now (my parents can access Google Classroom, Schoology, etc...) but I teach elementary. I am not sure about older students.

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  4. How did you make the "Mrs. Moorman's Class" photo???

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    1. I used a stock photo from Deposit Photos and placed a pic of my own classroom on the computer screen.

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  5. Thank you so much! You have inspired me to do something similar. I am curious about what links you are providing in your parent portal! Will you be showing that, too? Thanks again!

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    1. You can find info on the Parent Portal here https://www.teachinginroom6.com/2020/07/google-sites-for-virtual-learning-part.html

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  6. Question! Do parents/students have to have a Google account or be signed in to be able to access the site? This is so awesome!

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    1. They do not have to have a Google account to access this. I have it set so anyone can access it.

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  7. This is great! Thank you, I've already started on my own class website!

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  8. Love all this...can you talk more about your above and beyond section? What did you add there??

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    1. You can find info about the Mastery Club on Mrs. Renz's website. And you can read about the Reading Olympics here https://www.teachinginroom6.com/2012/07/the-reading-olympics-basics.html

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  9. The "im done now what page?" Is that a subpage of student portal or is it a link? Im a bit confused on accessing a subpage when it's hidden from navigation.

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    1. It is a separate page that they can access through the button on the Student Portal only.

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing! I've been working on my site these last two days totally inspired by you!

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    1. Oh! I would love to see if when you are done :)

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  11. Which font group from @primarykindoflife did you use?

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  12. Thank you soo much!! I was looking for a solid way to organize things for parents and students. I would have never been able to do it without all of your detailed explanations. I really appreciate it!!

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  13. When your students check in daily do you have a new check in for each day? How do you update that per day?

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    1. No. I have the form set so that the kids can respond multiple times. That eliminates the need to change the form daily.

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  14. Thanks for sharing this! i am having trouble with the link to the portal. Do I have to make the page first and then link it or the portal graphic?

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    1. Yes. Make the page on your site first. Then link to the Portal graphic.

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  15. I ❤ this (and all your stuff)! I was wondering if you would still use the daily check in if the students will be logging in for Zoom meetings?

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    1. Yes. They will be doing both as sometimes during the Zoom I just get too busy to take attendance.

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  16. I love this, and I have been following your instructions to create my own classroom site! Thank you for sharing the steps! I have a question about site privacy. Is there a way to make the site viewable to only those who have the link/web address?

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  17. Thank you for sharing this resource. I have a question about your google classroom. Does your class ever visit your google classroom homepage or do they really only go there to view the assignments, turn them in, etc? Is the google site page your primary way for students to access assignments, content, etc? Thank you!

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  18. I absolutely LOVE THIS! I was wondering if you could share where you got the picture of the laptop screen you used on the main page? thanks!

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    1. I got it on Deposit Photos, then added my own classroom picture and text to it.

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  19. Hi Stephanie!
    Thank you for this great resource! I have a question about how you use the Daily Checkin... I know there is one for each day. Do you have to go in and change it every day, or is there a way that we can assign one to each day? I'd appreciate your help with this part! <3

    Tracy in Windsor CA

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    1. You can set the form so that students can respond more than once. That eliminates the need to have to change out the form each day.

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  20. I am so tech challenged and your tutorial has been a huge blessing - thanks you for walking me through this! I followed your examples and steps and have created the cover page and successfully created the student/parent portals. Would you care to please explain how you created the images/links etc., on the student portal page. Specifically, how did you create the clickable Check-in, Agenda, Today's Work boxes? I would be so grateful for any guidance. Thank you for sharing your talents!

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    1. I'm in the same boat on this question. I've got everything set up, but can't figure out how to create the clickable links to the things in the Portal. Will they click on the picture to bring them to the Check in/Agenda/Today's work? If so, how do you go about that?

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  21. Thank you! A colleague and I have been working, and without an example it's been challenging. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and making this seem manageable! :)
    -Rae

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  22. Hi, our grade level was thinking about using Google classroom to put up resources and assignments, what would you recommend, Google Classroom or Google Sites? Are there grading features on Google Sites too?

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    1. Google Sites is simply a website. It has no grading capability. I personally find it more organized than Classroom, but will be using both in my room next year. They will work in conjunction with each other.

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  23. This is amazing! Thank you so much for writing these "How To" posts! I have two quick questions: how do you link up to Google Classroom and make it private?

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    1. Google Classroom requires you to sign in in general in order to access it, so it is inherently private.

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  24. Thank you so much! This was extremely helpful!

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  25. In deposit photos, did you mesh two photos together or was that the stock photo? If it was the stock photo, what is it called?

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    1. I am looking specifically at the white brick wall with the light bulbs. I know how to place the writing in powerpoint.

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  26. I love your site! I am having trouble getting the "home" button in the top right corner? Can you explain how you did that please :)

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  27. I love how you set up your Google Site! I am struggling with some of the same questions. My other question is how do you incorporate this with Schoology. Do students go to Schoology and go to the google site/classroom from there or do you insert google docs/slide assignments into Schoology? Thanks! I don't want to have too many places for kids/parents to go to!

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  28. Hi there! This has been so helpful! How did you create the number buttons?

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  29. Hello I have a question? Which program should I create my banner and buttons in?? Google sites or drawing. I just saw that you can change the buttons are link in drawing and it will update in Schoology.

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