- I covered the basics of Google Classroom in Part 1
- I demonstrated how to add announcements, assignments, questions and reuse posts in Part 2
- Part 3 discussed the Student page of Classroom.
I’m all about that About page with this post.
The About page is where I post the resources I use throughout the year like the course syllabus, links to No Red Ink grammar and Purdue OWL, the annual calendar the district publishes and other tidbits of information that are important.
To start, go to classroom.google.com. When the site opens, click the desired classroom and then the word “About” that is on the middle-right side of the screen under the class header. It should open a page similar to this:
Going counter-clockwise from the top left, the box at the upper left of the page contains links to the Class Drive Folder which will contain all the assignments, templates, etc., Classroom calendar and Google Calendar. The box below that contains your profile pic (This can be changed by going to your Google settings and changing the profile picture) and a link to your gmail account. Then a box that will allow you to invite teachers to the classroom. Just to the right of these boxes is the spot to add materials to the About page. Above that is the place to add a course description and location.
Let’s add a description for the course. In the first box in the middle of the page, enter the course information. I usually copy and paste information from the school handbook and then add my school location and room number.
If I click on the Classroom Drive Files in the top left box, Classroom will open a new tab that contains all the files for this classroom. By using the number system, my files are in the order I created and posted the assignment. (See Part 2 for this tip).
Clicking on Classroom calendar will open the calendar just for this classroom:
It will only display a week at a time, but can be toggled by clicking the left and right arrows at the top of the calendar. The only items on this calendar will be the items I posted due dates for on the Stream page (see Part 2).
Clicking on Google Calendar will open your Google Calendar (not the Classroom’s) in another tab:
It will list all the due dates from all my classes and then also all the other activities I have added to my calendar. From the student view, they will see their own Google Calendars with due dates. If your colleagues also use Classroom, all the assignments for those classes will be posted on the students’ calendars as well. TIP: Students who are on top of things will include sporting events, work schedules, etc. so they can plan to use their available time wisely.
The last box on the left side is for inviting teachers. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this feature. I always add the special services teacher to my classroom so she can see EXACTLY what we are doing in class. She also can grade assignments – but our agreement is that she leaves those for me to do. BUT she can also read my comments on essays and help students meet expectations. Also, because I have several students who are in the judicial system, I can easily invite the teacher at our local juvenile detention center and he has instant access to what I’m covering in class with all resources and links necessary to keep my students up-to-date with my class. He can also tell who is doing the work and who is not. Again, we have an understanding that I’m the one doing the grading. BUT, if I ever team-taught a class, how awesome would this feature be?
To invite a teacher, click the Invite Teachers button, and this pop-up window will appear. Simply type in the teacher’s name or email (they need to be a part of your district or school’s G-Suite for Educators) and click invite. They will receive an email asking them to join the class. A couple of clicks and they will be able to access your classroom. Word of caution: if you don’t trust the teacher (I can’t imagine this happening, but you know it might), don’t invite them to your classroom. You can email assignments and resources to that teacher instead.
I love the About page because it becomes my one-stop resource center. I post my course syllabus, a list of literary terms, the school calendar, links to Purdue OWL (online writing lab) and No Red Ink (a grammar site), and anything else that I think my students may need access to throughout the year. The About page is NOT a dumping ground for all the links you use in the Classroom Stream. Be selective about what is posted here.
Once clicked, it will open a dialogue:
Type in the title of the resource, upload or attach files and / or links, then click Post. Uploading and attaching works EXACTLY like it does for the Stream page (for more details see Part 2).
Once the link or file is attached, I click the post button and voila! the resource is posted.
If I update or change my mind, I can click those three little dots on the top right of the post and I can edit or delete the resource. Easy-peasy.
The About page can be a great landing spot for students. On the first day of class, I make sure to cover every resource I have uploaded to this page with my students. When they ask me questions that can be easily answered by one of the resources, i remind them where they can find those answers. This is also a great item to share with parents so they know that information is available.
Next post I will cover grading assignments. See you then.