Friday, December 13, 2013

Organizing Student Websites

I am just so excited for this post….For years I have been wanting to find a way to make student websites more accessible and easy for my students to open. It is hard trying to teach first graders to type a URL into the URL bar. They waste so much time trying to type the link in and by the time they actually finish they have wasted five minutes of their time. Well, I found an AMAZING and FREE website to help me organize all their websites. The website I am speaking of is called This website allows teachers to organize all the websites into icons (which look like app icons). It also allows you to set Symbaloo as your homepage, so that when students open the web browser, they are already logged into Symbaloo. They simply have to click on the icon of the website they wish to visit and WOOSH… off they go. Below is a picture of my homepage.

I have color coded my icon so the students know which section in which they should be working. On my page, blue represents websites that may be used during "center time." Yellow are the websites students use for homework. Red are websites students can use during math time or math center time. Green are websites students can use during indoor recess. Also, any websites that need a student login, I print out the login information for that site and tape inside their classwork folder so they always have their username and password available.

One other feature that is great about Symbaloo is that they have a Google search bar build right into your icon page. The students can simply search right from the Symbaloo page.

Now you are probably wondering… "What websites are you using?" Well below is a list of the websites I have linked into my Symbaloo.

Center Time Websites

Indoor Recess / Free Choice Time (Website Name & Link)
Now I am sure you are wondering… "How do I set up the icons?" Well… you will find the steps below.

STEP #1 - Copy the link of the website you would like to create an icon for.
STEP #2 - Click on a blank "box" on your Symbaloo page.
STEP #3 - Click on "Create a Tile"

STEP #4 - Paste you link and name it. Choose your tile color. Then choose your icon to represent that site. (Sometimes an icon is provided  OR you can choose an icon from the icon library. Below is what this part looks like.)
STEP #5 - Click "save"

There you have it. It is as simple as that. I hope you love Symbaloo as much as I do. Just give it a try!