Standard Lesson

Website Planning in a Bilingual Classroom

3 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Three 60-minute sessions
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In this lesson, designed for a heterogeneous group of students that includes English-language learners, students work together to plan a website based on their home knowledge. An introductory lesson outlines the structure and components of simple websites (home page, titles, headings, links).  Students take home and complete a bilingual student and family interest survey, then work in groups of four or five to identify common themes among the responses. Each group makes a flow chart to think graphically about the contents of their planned website. Each student keeps a project notebook to record new ideas, summarize group work, and share the project with family members. The teacher can make the planned websites a reality using one of the online website-building platforms in the Resources list.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Technology can help students expand their repertoire of literacy practices by linking home and cultural knowledge.
  • Teachers can draw upon students' home knowledge, culture, and language practices for classroom instruction.


Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 10. Students whose first language is not English make use of their first language to develop competency in the English language arts and to develop understanding of content across the curriculum.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Whiteboard or chart paper

  • One lined notebook per student

  • Various books, magazines, and encyclopedias on topics recently covered in class or familiar to your students




1. Review the Kidsnetsoft and Wikis in Education websites. These sites give examples of websites created by students. In this lesson, students will review and list topics from these websites in their notebook as they begin to envision their own websites. On the sites, take a quick tour of how to build a website using predesigned templates. Some school districts may provide a service for teachers to help them build a classroom website; check with your administrator.

2. Make one copy for each student of the Student and Family Interest Survey and the Flow Chart Template. If you have students who speak languages other than English or Spanish, you will need to obtain the necessary translations for the Student and Family Interest Survey.

3. Plan your grouping arrangements. This lesson will work best with four or five students to a group, with each group composed of both fluent English speakers and English-language learners.

4. Bookmark the websites listed in the Web resources on your classroom computer or lab computers. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve time in your school's computer lab for each session.

5. For the assessment portion of the lesson, create a list of students with room for notes beside each one. Attach this list to a clipboard and write down anecdotal notes about each student as you circulate during group work time.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Document home funds of knowledge by taking home a family interest survey that they will complete with family members

  • Decide through group consensus which area of knowledge from family interest survey results in order to envision and plan a website

  • Categorize website pages and links in a flow chart to help plan website development

Session 1: Introduction, Grouping, and Surveys

1. Using a projection system, or by gathering groups of students around individual computers, show the class a student-created website such as "Semperu Island." Have students identify components of the website such as the home page, title, headings, links to pages, and links back to home page. Tell students that they will be building their own websites. Explain that in building a website it is important to first come up with a website topic because people visit websites to get trustworthy information about favorite topics. Explain to your students that they and their families have valuable knowledge that they can share with an audience through a website. (10 minutes)

2. Assign students into the groups you arranged ahead of time. Explain that they will be working together as a team and that they each have strengths that will contribute to building a website. Ask students to brainstorm some of these strengths, such as drawing, computer knowledge, typing, reading, library research, writing fiction, writing nonfiction, bilingualism, etc. Once in their groups, have students discuss their strengths and abilities. (15 minutes)

Note: You may want to use a cooperative learning structure for this discussion, such as Talking Figures. In Talking Figures, each student receives two or three tokens that they put into a pile in the middle of the table each time they contribute to the discussion. Once a student's tokens are all used, he or she must only listen to the others.

3. Ask groups to work together to view other Thinkquest websites for ideas and topics and to study how the websites are organized. Pass out a notebook to each student and explain that once they have an idea for the website, they will use the notebook to keep track of their ideas. Explain that the notebook will be checked regularly to assess the website planning process.

Circulate around the room taking anecdotal notes and encourage English-language learners to contribute to the group discussion, keeping in mind that newcomers to the U.S. may be only ready to listen and should not be pushed. Others who are more advanced speakers may respond by agreeing, disagreeing, or adding their own ideas to the group. (30 minutes)

4. Pass out the Student and Family Interest Survey and explain that these surveys should be done with at least one family member. It could be the student's mother, father, other caretaker, grandparent, sibling, etc. Assign a due date for the surveys, stressing that the project cannot continue until all surveys have been returned because the websites will be based on the survey results. (5 minutes)

Session 2: Group Discussions of Survey Results

1. When the students bring back their completed surveys, they will work in their groups to find the similarities/differences in their answers to the questions. Ask the groups to discuss each of their common areas of knowledge.

2. Circulate among the groups, helping them to see their common areas of interest and taking anecdotal notes. Help any groups that need it to find their commonalities by asking questions such as:

  • Is there something that interests you the most?

  • Is there something you all have some knowledge of?
For English-language learners, make note of students who may need encouragement to share their ideas and intervene in the groups to make space for them to share their favorite item from their list. (15 minutes)

3. After the groups have had time to discuss their interests and common knowledge, ask them to decide upon one topic that they will research and write about to create a website.
Once they have decided, ask students to discuss possible website titles and to include these ideas in their notebooks. (10 minutes)

4. After groups come to a consensus on their topic and have discussed possible titles, suggest classroom resources where they may begin looking for information related to their topic, such as books, magazines, Internet sites, encyclopedias, etc. Circulate among the groups. Spend the rest of the class period helping students locate resources and taking anecdotal notes. (30 minutes)

5. Have students take their notebooks home to show their families what they are working on and to continue generating ideas for the website in their notebooks. Tell them that as they think of ideas for the website, be sure to record the idea in their notebooks. These ideas may be lists, stories, pictures, facts, or idea webs. (5 minutes)

Session 3: Visiting Student Websites and Creating a Flow Chart

1. Arrange for groups to work together at the classroom or lab computers, perhaps in pairs seated near other group members. For English-language learners, make sure that everyone uses the computer even when they are working in pairs with a fluent English speaker. An alternative is to pair students who speak the same home language and let them navigate a website written in their home language, such as Pagina Junior, a Spanish/English website for children ages 5-12, in order to complete Step 2 of this session.

2. Have students navigate to the Kidsnetsoft and Wikis in Education websites. Explain that they will be viewing websites designed by other students to get ideas on how information is found on a website and how the pages link together. Have students use their notebooks to take notes on the elements of the website that help them find information and navigate, such as the home page, title, headings, graphics, amount of text, links to pages, links back to home page, and other text features.

3. Circulate around the room as students visit the websites to help them focus on information that will help them with their own designs and take anecdotal notes. (20 minutes)

4. With students back together in their groups, demonstrate making a flow chart. You may use the Flow Chart Template or create your own on a whiteboard or chart paper. Using an example website topic of your own choosing, elicit ideas from the groups on the parts of a website, starting at the home page and making sure to include links to other pages and links back to the home page. Demonstrate by writing the title of the website and names of the links. For example, students may want a link to a "sports" page, so they would write "sports" in the button area, and types of sports they want to include, such as "basketball" or "soccer," in the page area of the flow chart. (10 minutes)

5. Hand out the Flow Chart Template. Have groups tape its members' charts together to make one large chart, or have groups create their chart on a large piece of chart paper. Ask students to share ideas from their notebooks on what they would like to include on their website for their chosen topic. Students should plan for their website using the flow chart.

Circulate among groups to facilitate contributions from all group members. It is critical that all members of the group contribute to the flow chart because each student will work on the section that reflects his or her interests and strengths. English-language learners may contribute orally while another student acts as scribe or may contribute to the flow chart with a picture or label. (20 minutes)

6. Have students record items from the flow chart before taking their notebook home. Ask them to share what they have done with their parents and continue to write ideas for their website in their notebooks at home. (10 minutes)


  • Use website or wiki-building software to make your students' plans a reality.

  • Plan a celebration when the websites are finished, inviting parents and families. Groups can present their websites to this audience.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Oral feedback while circulating among groups will aid students as they use the notebook and flow chart for the remainder of the project. Anecdotal notes will assist you in giving oral feedback.

  • Collect students’ notebooks at the end of the website planning in Session 3. If you extend this lesson to build a website, notebooks should be collected and assessed periodically throughout the remainder of the project. The following questions and suggested point system may guide you in assessing the project based on the notebook and flow chart:
2 — Survey was completed by the student and family members and turned in on time.
1 — Survey was completed but turned in late.
0 — Survey was not completed or turned in.


    • Did students use the notebook to collect information and ideas for the website?
5 — Notebook includes all of the following: list of topics, ideas for web pages, flow chart notes, and ideas generated at home. It is neat.
4 — Notebook includes only four out of the five items listed above.
3 — Notebook includes only three out of the five items listed above.
2 — Notebook includes only two out of the five items listed above.
1 — Notebook includes only one out of the five items listed above.
0 — Notebook was not turned in.


    • Did students create a flow chart to plan the website?
2 — Student contributed several ideas to the group flow chart.
1 — Student contributed one or two ideas to the group flow chart.
0 — Student did not contribute to the group flow chart.

Total — 9 possible points

Additional criteria may be used for the notebook and flow chart, such as organization, neatness, and quality of notebook entries. These criteria should be shared with students when the notebook and flow chart are introduced.

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