Before school gets underway, I thought I would present a series of blog posts introducing Google Classroom to those who are new it or considering using it. I love Google Classroom! It has eliminated lost papers, organized my work, and kept my sanity. It has become my go-to for students who miss class: Have you checked Classroom for what you missed? All of the responsibility for that missed work falls on the student, not me. Win-win!
My plan is to introduce Classroom today, then in the next few posts, I will walk through how to use features, including some tips and tricks I have learned. I will show you how to create an assignment, grade work, email guardians, and more as we go.
First of all, let me introduce you to Google Classroom. You will need to sign-in to your Google account then go to classroom.google.com. This is the initial page:
Click on the plus sign to either join or create a class. In this case, you want to create a class.
This is the pop-up that will automatically open (default):
I have learned some lessons the hard way when it comes to naming classes. Save yourself from my disaster and do this:
- Use a numbering system to track classes. I start with the school year, then the class name. Example: 17-18 Sophomore English
- If I have more than one section, I add a .1, .2, etc. Example: 17-18.1 Sophomore English
- If your school uses course numbers, it would be a good idea to include in your name.
Why? Google Classroom automatically creates a classroom file in your Google Drive when you create a class. Using a numbering system will keep each class separate, especially if you teach the same course several times a year, year after year.
For your first venture into Classroom, I suggest creating a test class that you can really mess up and not be a big deal. That way you can learn the features without causing chaos in your real classes.
Once you click “create class” this page will open with default settings (I’ll show you how to change the appearance in just a few).
This is the Stream View page. This page will list all assignments, announcements, and questions with the most recent post at the top. If you click on the three lines at the top left, you will open a menu options box. (FYI, look for those three lines and three dots throughout Classroom; they provide tons of options for using Classroom).
OK, you teach science, and you don’t like the look of the default page. Good news! You can change it.
You can choose one of Google’s pre-loaded designs by clicking “Select theme.”
Use the slider on the right to reveal more themes. Classroom will also automatically change the appearance of the page (banner and background colors and font) based on the theme chosen.
I love that Google allows teachers to upload their own photos. What a great way to personalize a classroom!
Once your photo is uploaded (it needs to be banner style 2000 X 400 pixels), Google will select complementary colors for the classroom. (FYI Shake Up Learning has a great tutorial on creating a banner in Google Drawings)
The Stream page is where you will add assignments, etc.
I will detail how to do each of these (with some tips) in my next post.
The Student Page:
I will explain more about this later in the series. For now, I just wanted to introduce you to what is here.
Then, finally, the About page:
I have tons of fun with this page. I can invite other teachers – especially the interventions teacher, add frequently used resources like a syllabus, or frequently used links. One word of caution: don’t overload this page. I’ll cover more about this later in the series as well.
So there you go. You have now been introduced to Google Classroom. In my next blog post, I will explain adding assignments, announcements, questions, and reusing posts. I have learned some great time-savers I can’t wait to share with you.
Thanks for stopping by,