- Will you choose bright colors? School colors? Primary colors?
- Will you choose a fun, vibrant layout? A classy, clean layout?
- Should you pick something with a sidebar? Two sidebars? Columns?
Keep It Simple
Then, lay out a good framework on paper first. If you are a kinetic person, use notecards with various features written on them so you can move them around. Otherwise, just sketch something out. What do you need in a sidebar? What kind of navigation titles should you include?
- a quirky welcome message
- a facebook Like button
- links to my school and district websites
- the school hours
- mission statements for our school and our district
- a way to contact the teacher
- a link to subscribe to my blog posts
- a list of awards our class and I have received
- a suggested fiction reading list
- a Quote of the Day widget
- links to archived blog posts
- two graphic hit counters
- links to my administrators and peers
Other options exist, as well, but that's a matter of preference. You'll be able to pick and choose these things along the way, and by all means, feel free to change it up later. Your tastes and opinions may change as your website develops. Your site is fluid; go with it.
Navigation and Sub-navigation
My navigation menu was much more complicated before I streamlined everything to my preferences, since I did not plan ahead on paper. Once I decided to take the plunge to simplify, I narrowed everything to four categories:
- the Homeroom tab, which brings everything to the blog page so folks can see the latest news, notes, and nonsense
- the Orientation tab, where people learn about the skeleton of our class, how we work, how we do things, and who the crazy teacher is
- the Positivity tab, which is a collection of upbeat and profound poetry, pithy prose, and particularly plump ponderings
- and the Exploration tab, where students (and others) can share in investigation and discovery lessons and projects
But I digress...
Hovering over one of the navigation tabs allows the subnavigation menu to drop down, revealing a plethora of options. A person might click on the navigation words or point to a subnavigation topic and click there. Either way, that person will then embark upon a magical journey to the chosen destination. Many of those destinations are collections of projects or activities; others are the projects and activities themselves. Again, most of this can be mapped out on paper ahead of time, before you launch it into cyberspace.
Then there are the sub-subnavigation pages: if you hover on a subnavigation topic with an arrow next to it, yet another menu will appear. Hopefully you can figure all of this out without me making this post any longer than it needs to be.
Please feel free to contact me or comment on this post if you have questions about your own site.