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Lesson: Understanding WordPress

Title

Understanding WordPress

Description

A lesson introducing students to the WordPress hosting platform

Summary

Using WordPress allows students and teachers to create a sophisticated online journalism website that is easy to update and customize for your school publication. WordPress is an open source online content management online publishing system that incorporates PHP and MySQL in a relational database management system.  The beauty of the system is that it does not require a lot of HTML or CSS coding to create a professional looking site. In this lesson, students will learn about the benefits of using WordPress for their online publication.

Objectives

  • Understanding of key features of WordPress, including WordPress Themes, Dashboard, Media Library, Pages ,Posts ,Plug-ins, and Hosting Requirements.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Understanding of quantitative and qualitative questions
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills — Student Outcomes

Skills P21 outcomes
Critical Thinking Reason effectively
Use systems thinking
Make judgments and decisions
Communication Communicate clearly
Information Literacy Access and evaluate information
Use and manage information
Media Literacy Analyze student use of media

Length

50  minutes

Materials / resources

Slideshow: WordPress

Class set: Premium v. Free WordPress Themes article

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background and slideshow — 15-20 minutes

Show the WordPress slideshow to class and discuss. The slideshow gives a brief overview of WordPress and some of its features. Review the powerpoint and demonstrate how to set up a free account to explore some of the features of WordPress by navigating the WordPress dashboard.

WordPress is software that provides a method of managing your website is commonly called a CMS or “Content Management System.” It makes it easy to add blogs, articles and publish on the internet, give it a title and also organize it under (one or more categories).

2. Independent practice — 20 minutes

Decide whether you will be using hosted “wordpress.org” installation, or using “wordpress.com” to host student work. While the former is more advanced and requires more resources, it does give students a more robust Web development experience.

Students will each set up their own “free” WordPress account in order for them to utilize it for their final ePortfolio project at the end of the quarter – http://wordpress.org/support/register.php. In order for students to set up an account, each student must have their own personal email.

You might find the following tip sheets helpful:

New to WordPress: http://codex.wordpress.org/New_To_WordPress_-_Where_to_Start

Before you install WordPress: http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress  – This might require access for students to install WordPress onto a computer, which may not be an option.   Try using WordPress on the computer vs. installing it on a computer.

3. Customization — 10 minutes

Depending on what template each student chose, students should customize their template according to the various story types they will write and add to their ePortfolio this school year.   Stories may include:  News Writing, Column or Editorial Writing, Broadcast Video, General Feature, Personality Profile, Human Interest Photos, and some sort of design spread.