Several prominent web sites will provide school sites with free news updates, weather reports, and stock information automatically. Presenting new information each day will help increase traffic to your school’s site, and it can launch classroom discussions of news items that appear online.

The author lists and rates the following sites:

1. Webticker (http://www.webticker.com). Includes 15 separate channels of news categories, such as U.S. news, world news, and sports. Provides headlines, and a click of the mouse brings up the full story. Also runs free information on charitable causes such as cancer research.

2. 7 AM News (http://www.7am.com). Constant stream of news, combined with a clock. Offers choice of receiving headlines only or headlines and full-text articles. Only has three broad subject categories.

3. Site Gadgets (http://www.sitegadgets.com). Has 40 subject categories and enables school to choose which to receive. Downside: Does bring a significant number of banner ads to school’s site.

4. Selfpage Corp. (http://www.selfpage.com). Excellent for tracking specific stocks and the general movement of stock markets with a “ticker” feature. Also has currency exchange rates and international business information.

5. Weather Underground (http://www.weatherunderground.com). Provides local weather information based on the zip code provided. Extensive array of information, including temperature, wind speed, visibility, humidity, barometric pressure, and forecasts.

8. Keep pages short.

9. Although content is more important the graphics, people do like pictures.

10. When it’s completed, share your site with reviewer sites and kid-oriented portals.