Classroom Web Site in Language Arts Instruction

Using a web site as a core piece of your language arts teaching opens up a number of possibilities for ties with the reading part of the curriculum.
It can be used anywhere a class newspaper would be used.
It can also be used as the organizing entity for your start of day routines. You can set up daily features as well as adding any interesting articles you've found or any date specific web sites.
In the realm of differentiated instruction, you could create, in effect, a want-ad section where students could select from various learning activites and negotiate a contract for providing that content, complete with milestones and a final schema for assessment.
Examples of activities are:
Have the students contribute book reviews of what they are reading in their self-selected, independent reading. This would have to be a persuasive piece that is intended to get their classmates to want to read the book as well. In addition or instead of just a written review, they can utilize all of the tools of the web to try create a promotional web page to convince their classmates to read their book. This can also be used to encourage other children to try a new book.
Have them write blog entries about their book as they read, giving chapter by chapter summaries, or daily reflective pieces.
They could also re-imagine it as a graphic novel, and post their pages, or act it out and video this, or record dramatic readings.
A number of these activities could be done in groups as part of the guided or independent reading portion.
It would even be possible to run book clubs or literature circles on line, either with a chat site, or a mailing list. For some children this could be a less threatening way to participate, since this gives them time to review, research and refine their contributions in a way that is not possible in a live, face-to-face book club or circle. This can be a good accommodation for ELL students, or students with processing or other disorders.
I could also have them create a web page where they take some person, place, or event from their stories and do some independent research on it, to see how reality compares with the story. This would contribute to their critical thinking skills. This could also turn up interesting cross-curricular ties, or just be a means to expand on their interests, and make the books more applicable.
You could also setup the website to anonymize the students posting so the other students wouldn't know who contributed what. This would allow you to do peer assessment and editing in a non-threatening environment.

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