Monday, December 16, 2013

The Google Site FounderBook

My fifth grade classes are studying the Founders and the Constitutional Convention.  There are lots of fun ways to redefine the traditional essay project with this rich subject matter. I really appreciate the work that many have done using social media parodies, like these examples of Historical Fakebook projects.  I wanted to leverage these ideas, too, but using Google Apps - Sites in particular.  

I wanted to build a Google Site that capitalized on the efforts of the class by building social interaction into the project.  What's the point of building a FounderBook page if the founder can't interact with his contemporaries?  

So, this is my first attempt.  It's a good start, but I'm sure I've missed an opportunity or two. This template allows students to build a profile for a Founder, blog from his perspective, and perhaps leave comments on the pages of the other founders. Announcement pages and page templates make Sites well suited for this task.  I built two convention pages to accommodate a class of twenty-plus students.  There is a founder template page ready if you need to add personalities to the list.  The respective convention home pages feature announcement gadgets to display the running blogs for each founder.  

If you're interested in using the template with your class, simply follow the directions below:

1. Create your site by clicking “Use this Template” on the top of the template linked here: https://sites.google.com/site/usfounderbook/


2. Edit the Homepage of your FounderBook by clicking the pencil icon on the top right.


3. Assign Founders to the students in your class by replacing the placeholder names in “Convention 1” and “Convention 2”


4. Click the blue “Share” button and give the students in your class edit access to the site. 


5. This site will now appear on the Students' Sites pages, located at http://sites.google.com. You can also copy and paste the site address into a Google Doc that is shared with your class.

6. The "Instructions Page" assumes that your class has already done research on their Founders and gives a step by step guide to complete the project.

I have several classes using the template and it's going well so far.  Let me know if you improve on the template and/or try it out!