I liked your website and what you are doing with your students. What grade are they in? The person I suggested you contact regarding the podcast is also from Tennesse (she teaches fifth grade I think). I liked your profile...I like all the books you listed as well as movies and music :)
I have fifth graders and am constantly looking for ways to engage them. We had more podcasts up, but when my computer crashed I lost them all. I love my .mac account and the website is very easy to maintain, but it is very vulnerable and it's $99/year. I'll take a look at Ms. Oakley's page as well, if she teaches fifth that would be perfect! I love to get new ideas for podcasting and blogging. I may be contacting you again after I have time to look into this a little more. Thanks again for the quick response!
A WordPress blog is well suited to the task. Posts are in reverse chronological order so that new assignments appear above older ones. You also can make static pages. It's quite flexible, yet a well structured tool. It highly customizable will scads of free templates. This is the perfect beginner's tool.
You can get them for "free" from edublogs or WordPress.com, but advertising has been appearing in these of late. Both provide you with a unique subdomain. You can get them without advertising for a modest annual fee.
If you prefer the ability to expand your internet publishing repertoire, I'd recommend getting an inexpensive webhosting account. Most have a quick and easy click install for WordPress and a wide variety of other free and open source programs. You could have the blog up in minutes. Then, as desired, you can install other software to experiment with. This is easier than most think.
I'm new like you, but the first thing i know for sure you can do is go to wikispaces, that's www.wikispaces.com where you can actually set up your own wiki and add up account from every student and start editing work. You'll have to have a good read to find how to make it work for you. I hope it helps. I also think edublogs is great, and one of the hosts is australia (i'm from sydney!)
I know steve already said this, but anyway, nice to talk to you!
I'm currently in the process of getting all of our teachers on wordpress.com. I started with edublogs at the beginning of the year but all of a sudden the advertising was out of control and not always appropriate. They also cut the amount of free space. Since both sites use Wordpress, I was able to export my edublog info to my new Wordpress. I'm just praying that Wordpress will work out for everyone or I may experience a mutany! Here is my site.
I've used Webnode to share homework, links, and general information with my students. It's easy to maintain, and I've bought a Godaddy domain that forwards to this webnode page. Parents are able to subscribe to my homework feed, and I am able to track the traffic that comes through the site.
The easiest website creator that I have used for my teacher site is eboard.com. I have designed and maintain several websites and just didn't want to have to put too much time into the design of my class website and was looking for an easy, yet attractive format. You can see what i have done with it at mrsmartin.eboard.com
I'm late to this discussion, and Eve had already mentioned myteacherpages.com. I just want to add, I started with myteacherpages, and now every teacher in my school has one. I really like it. Parents really rely on having our pages updated now. It's a great site, but it's downside is that it is a pay service. Also, If you wanted to add a blog and collaborate. You would have to subscribe to another site. Edublogs.org etc.
It's hard to beat Google Sites. It gives you all of the features of a wiki plus it has the seamless integration with other google apps (docs, picassa, youtube).
If you are just wanting a place to post assignments and information, blogs are the way to go. I don't recommended blogger.com though. I would go with edublogs.com or if your school runs Mac OS X Server have them set up a blog account on that. We use Mac OS X server for all of our wikis, blogs, and podcasts.
Heya, not sure exactly what you had in mind for assignments etc. I mentioned Moodle before, but didn't really explain what it was, so not sure if it's what you are looking for or not. So to explain what I neglected last time:
Moodle is a web-based course management system. It handles assignment creation, students can do assigments on your moodle site, do assignments on the computer and submit them to your site or can hand them in to you directly. Moodle also contains a grade book that you can fill in. Students will then be able to see their marks for their assignments.
Here are a few Youtube links that will explain more: