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Critiquing your website for awards


The focus of this lesson is to allow students to review current design in web design and content, They will then compare their own content to what others have done and make adaptations based on that comparison.


  • Students will understand current trends in web design
  • Students will compare their own published website to others
  • Students will make changes to their own website based on their comparisons

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Critiquing tour website for awards

Handout: Critiquing your website for awards guided notes

Handout: Website critique sheet

Lesson step-by-step

1. Warm Up — 10 minutes

Show students a copy of their own website and ask for the first thing they see. Based on that, have students brainstorm in notes:

  • Why is that the first thing?
  • Is that the intent of the website design?

Lead a brief (3-minute) share-out of student observations

2. Direct Instruction — 15 minutes

Review the Critiquing Your Website for Awards slideshow and have students take notes. At the end of the presentation, ask students to write two specific observations in their notes. Review their observations in pairs, and then with the whole class.

3. Collaborative Work — 15 minutes

In pairs, prompt students to review websites from the following resources and complete the Website Critique Sheet handout. Other than these suggestions, you might include local news outlets or award-winning online publications from local high schools. School Newspapers Online (SNO) maintains a comprehensive list of scholastic media websites that you might consider culling for ideas. You could also use websites that have won awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association or your local or state-level scholastic press associations.

4. Application — 15 minutes

With their partners, prompt students to look back at their own website and complete the Website Critique Sheet handout again. They should choose two categories for improvement and be prepared to share their suggestions and brainstorm solutions with the class.

5. Assessment — 15 minutes

Each pair should share their ideas for improvement and the class should brainstorm specific goals to share with the publication leadership team. Collect students’ critique sheets for assessment.


 Students who need more support can be given the guided notes handout for the slideshow.

Students who need more support can work in bigger groups.

Advanced students can do the partner work independently.

Student editors could be asked to lead the discussion and presentation.