Using Weebly Education: Lit Circle Websites

Do you use literature circles in your classroom? If you don't you should seriously consider it. I've seen such growth from my students during literature circles. I love, love, love them. What I don't love? Loads of paper that can sometimes come with literature circles.
What's a teacher to do? Problem.... meet solution. One of my best friends shared with me that she was using FREE Weebly for education websites for her book groups. I dove in head first. At first, I was lost. "Oh gosh, what have I gotten myself into?" Then, as I figured it out, it got easier and easier. The first part took me three hours to make. After that, I could whip up a quick page in 15 minutes or less! Genius!

It has an easy to use interface. Once you get the hang of it, there's no stopping you. 

You seriously just drag and drop what you want onto the page.

When you're ready to work on another page, you just click the page navigation at the top, choose a different page (or create a new one), and keep working.

In addition to their easy-to-use platform, they also offer a ton of free themes for you to chose from and personalize. Win!

I want to give you a little tour of what all we use our weebly website for. You might just decide to try it out for yourself.

When my students pull up our lit circle webpage, this is what they see. (Minus the watermark in the bottom left corner.) Because this is a working site, I purposefully cropped the url out to protect my students and their information. 

If students scroll down, their is a quick snippet of information about our literature circle overview. 

The menu in the upper left corner has all of the navigational content they need. Each section has it's own page: book groups, reading schedule, assignments, discussion board, project menu submissions, graffiti wall, rubrics, recommendations, and contact info. 

This may look a little odd because I wanted to zoom out so that you could see what this page looks like as a whole. This is their book group page. Once students rate their books and I place them in groups, I list their groups in the "type here" areas. The book covers change from semester to semester based on what books are chosen by that set of students. 

Next is their reading schedule. I go through and break each book into four sections. This gives students some guidance on where they need to be at the end of each week. Instead of trying to figure this out on the fly, I figure it up before we start the lit circles, make a chart for each book, and post them on this page. This allows students to check it anytime even at home. 

My sophomores aren't always the greatest at time management, so I created this assignment page for them. They have discussion board assignments (whole class) and book group assignments (small group) each week. Breaking this down into specific days helps students to not get overwhelmed. I remind my students that these are just guidelines. They can complete their assignments in any order that they please as long as they're done by the end of the week. 

The discussion board houses their whole class assignments. Their expectations are listed on the right hand side. The prompt and requirements for each specific assignment are listed within the individual posts. This is set up just like a blog in that I can post new content, they can reply to my content, and they can reply to one another. I can also filter this content and approve it before it is visible to the rest of the class.

The neat thing about the weebly sites is that you can build personalized forms for your students. This allows them to submit links, files, and content directly to you. No email needed. :)

I also have a section of the site that is dedicated to the rubrics that we use in this unit. These are a few of the rubrics that my students see when they head to that area.

I also love to have students recommend their lit circle or independent reading books, so I created this page for them to share those ideas. It is a common space between myself and my team teacher that can be reached from either or our sites. Once a student clicks on a genre, it takes them to a recommendation page (that is set up like a blog) where they can share their recommended reads.

One of the last things on the navigation menu is a contact form. Sometimes I'm out for a meeting, sometimes a student is out, and sometimes we're all scattered all over the campus. This allows students to send me a quick, private (from their classmates. These messages archived for transparency) message. I can then take care of any issues or questions.

Do you use a website for your lit circle or other units? What site do you use? I'd love to know more! Leave me a message below. I can't wait to hear from you!

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