Are you seeking ideas on how to be organized, easily communicate, and manage students? Then you need to get started with Google Classroom! Google Classroom is a platform that does it all for teachers, especially during a time of digital learning. The online platform streamlines the sharing of documents or assignments between teacher and student and provides an easy way to keep communication and feedback (in real-time) flowing between teacher and students. Parents can also join in to track student assignments and grades. Google Classroom even gives the teachers the ability to maintain records of completed work, missing assignments, and stay organized between classes or subjects. During this time of remote learning, this tool is priceless because it is a platform for sharing “paper” seamlessly.
Google Classroom is compatible with the whole G Suite, which includes Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Drive, Google Forms, and more. Google Classroom is also compatible with several other educational websites for student learning for seamless sign-in. This walkthrough of Google Classroom, from start to finish will help you get organized for a tremendous year with students.
Where do I Begin?
To begin, you will need to be part of the G Suite for Education at your school to be able to utilize Google Classroom. If you aren’t already a Google school, reach out to your technology department to get set up! Google Classroom is a free tool, but only works when teachers and students have a Gmail (email) account!
Now Let’s Set it Up
First things first! Let’s set up Google Classroom using your Gmail account! Simply go to Google Classroom on your Internet browser. You will need to choose your Gmail account to sign in with. If you are like me, you have more than one, so make sure you are signing up with your school district email. Once you are on the platform, it is time to set up some classes! You will see the + in the top corner and that is where to begin!
Follow the prompts for creating a class, including the class title and subject, and your new classroom will be created! Google is often very user friendly and will give you tips along the way!
You can see the tip in the image above about inviting students! Let’s do that next! There are two ways that you can go about getting your students to your class.
Option 1: Click on the “People” tab on the top of your classroom screen. Next, add the email address of each of your students, and click invite when you are done. When your students go to the Google Classroom website, they will see your class and just hit JOIN! Easy peasy! The students will also receive an email inviting them to join also. I highly recommend this option for elementary age students.
Option 2: This option relies on students typing in a unique code with numbers and letters. This works best for older students, so there is less confusion using the random letter and number code! Your unique code is easily accessible from your teacher screen right under your name and class description. Once you have secured your code to share, have students go to Google Classroom website, hit the plus sign, and add the class code.
If you have multiple classes/subjects to create, follow the same steps from above to create all them all!
The Stream is what you and students see when signing into Google Classroom. You can add assignments, announcements, ask questions, and even have conversations or discussions.
To start using the Stream, follow these quick steps:
- Click on “Share with your class.” It will open a window with a bunch of options.
- Select your class, or from the drop down, select multiple classes you want to share with at once. You can also choose to post to all students or individuals.
- Type your announcement or question in the box.
- There is also the option to “Add.” Here you will see the options of attaching a file from your computer, a file from Google Drive, YouTube, or a link to a site.
- Lastly, you simply hit “Post.” Students will then see your message in their “Stream.”
- In settings, you can control what is seen within the “Stream.” You may want to choose for students to only see announcements, instead of all the assignments too.
Now, this tab really gets you organized! In this tab, you will have the option to “+ Create.” Here you get a menu to use to create assignments for the students, ask a question, or post material that you would like students to have access to during the school year. Let’s take a closer look at the options in “Create.”
Assignments is where, you guessed it, you post assignments!
- Create a title and instructions for your assignment and then look for “Add.”
- In “Add,” you can add any file you want students to work on. It can be a Google Doc or Google Slides.
- You can then choose to allow students to just view the file, edit the file (if students are working collaboratively), or my favorite, make an individual copy for each student! When you do this, the students get a copy of your file saved to their Google Drive to edit and complete.
- When students are done, there is a cool feature where they get a button that says “TURN IN” to show their teacher they have completed the assignment.
- You can also choose to attach links to various websites that integrate with Google Classroom like Quizziz.com or Edpuzzle.com. More to come about that when we get to grading!
- There is an option to choose a due date. If students turn in the assignment late, it will say “Turned in Late” helping with record keeping. Google Calendar will also keep track of these due dates!
- Create or add to a “Topic” you want it organized in. (Scroll down for more on “Topic.”
- If you choose, you can even add a grading rubric!
- Lastly, don’t forget to assign the points the assignment is worth, (it defaults to 100) or the assignment can be left ungraded.
- Quiz Assignment
The difference between “Assignment” and “Quiz Assignment” is simple. Instead of attaching any file, when you choose this option, it automatically creates a Google Form, which is a blank quiz for you to edit and use with you students. Since Classroom is compatible with Forms, once students complete the quiz, all you have to do is click, “Import Grades,” and the grades will populate for you in Classroom from the Google Form! This is an incredible time saver! The data can be instant!
This option is exactly what it sounds like- ask a question! This question can have short answers or multiple choice. During distance learning, I love to ask questions like, “How are you?” and use emojis for the students to answer! You can also add files or YouTube videos. Some other ideas to use would be asking a question about a story, or having a student do a warm up math question. Students can respond to one another here having your very own virtual discussion!
Materials is the category where you can add your anchor charts, or reference sheets. This will take the options for points and due date away, but keep the add menu! Materials can also be sorted by topics.
- Reuse Post
If you have multiple classes and wanted to use a post you created previously, all you do is click “Reuse Post.” It will prompt you to choose which other class you want to reuse the post from, and it will copy it, so you don’t have to create it again! You can even reuse a post from archived classes (classes from previous school years).
My favorite part of classwork is the “Topics.” When you create an assignment or a material, you can add them to a “Topic,” which organizes your posts neatly for ease of use for you and students! If you teach multiple subjects, you could have a “Topic” for ELA and a separate “Topic” for Social Studies.
Now you have created an assignment, students have completed it and turned it in so now you would like to grade it! Grading in Google Classroom works in a few ways!
First, choose the assignment that you would like to grade and check the stats. You will see “Turned in” or “Assigned.” If it is after the due date, you will also see “Missing” under student names. If you graded any of the assignments and returned them, you will also see a number for “Graded.” Keeping organized is so amazingly helpful! No more tracking down kids after a few days of collecting a paper assignment because they did not complete it! You will know your stats immediately on the due date! As you grade, the assignment will keep track of what is turned in, assigned, graded and returned.
If the assignment was a Google Doc or Google Slides, clicking on the student’s name that turned it in will open their document in a new window. There will be a drop down menu with all of your students from the class. Once you assess the assignment and give it a grade, you can also add private comments to post to the students. Only one more thing to do…return the work! Simply click the “Return” button so the student is notified that they have a grade to review. The dropdown arrow next to “Return” will give you an option to return multiple assignments at once, as well as to individuals. I like to grade all the assignments at once and then return to all the students at the same time.
Students will have the opportunity to “resubmit:” assignments and they would come up as “Resubmitted.” It is up to you as the teacher how you handle those re-submissions!
The last tab on the top of our Classroom menu is “Grading.” Once you have a few assignments, you will be able to access this tab to see an overview of completed, incomplete, graded and returned assignments from your whole class. Think of it as a virtual gradebook!
Google Classroom is compatible with so many websites and has so many add ons. Even better, access to Google Calendar and Google Drive are available right in your Classroom! Your calendar and drive are always accessible from your home screen where your classes are listed when first signing in. Assignments with due dates will appear on your calendar automatically.
Your Google Drive is always connected when you see the file folder. A folder is always automatically created for Google Classroom and assignments are organized there as well!
Why Google Classroom
Google Classroom is such a great way to work with students and stay organized. We started at the beginning with set up, made assignments, graded them, but what happens at the end of the year? You archive your classes! Simply click the three dots in the upper right hand corner of your class on your main screen. A menu appears and archive is one of the options! Archive just means you won’t see the class everyday, but it doesn’t mean it gets deleted! You can always go back and access is if you wanted to see what you have done in years past!
Google Classroom from beginning to end has so many amazing features and so many ways to keep connected, organized, and available to students. Now that you are set up, check out the different settings and see what you like and what you don’t! Have an amazing school year with Google Classroom making your year a little more seamless from start to finish!
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