NOTE: This blog post has been updated. CLICK HERE to link to the updated information.
In a nutshell, Google Classroom is Google Drive Management. It allows you to assign assignments and collect work from students. If you are just starting off with Google Classroom here are some things you will want to try first:
1. Create a Class
When you first log in you will be asked if you are a student or a teacher. It is very important that you indicate that you are a teacher. If you make a mistake, you will need to contact your Google Apps administrator at your site to reset your status.
2. Create an Announcement
Entering the Google Classroom class takes you to the class stream. This is where assignments and announcements are displayed. Creating an announcement allows you to send information to your students and to attach files and resources.
For your first announcement why not invite your students to say hello. Students can comment, from the stream, to any announcement or assignment unless you turn off that capability. Google Classroom is new to the students also, expect that they will be trying out the system along with you. Let them get their silliness out by posting “hi!!!!!!!!!!!!.”
Your next announcement can be a friendly reminder of what types of comments are helpful to everyone in the class and when comments should be made or not made.
3. Invite Students
On the left-hand side of your Google Classroom class is a code to allow students to join the class. I recommend projecting your Google Classroom page and zooming in on the code. (Control Plus zooms in). Ask students to go to http://classroom.google.com and click the plus icon at the top right to enter the class code.
4. Create an Assignment
I highly recommend you number all of your Google Classroom assignments. Start EACH assignment with a number such as #001, #002, etc… This makes is really easy to refer students to the correct spot in Google Classroom. This is also helpful since you are unable to reorder assignments and announcements in the stream.
Assignments, unlike announcements, have a header. Consider carefully how you title the assignment. Google Classroom creates a folder in Google Drive for each assignment. The folder title matches the assignment header.
Start with the assignment number and the assignment title. In the description provide directions for how to complete the assignment. Student view looks different than teacher view. The student view of the assignment has an “OPEN” button that allows them to turn in the assignment. You will want to include in the directions that students will need to click on “OPEN” and choose either “Mark as Done” or “Turn In” depending on if they are turning anything in or not.
5. View Classroom Folder
Automatically a folder is created in Google Drive when you set up Google Classroom. The folder is titled “Classroom.” You can find this folder by going to http://drive.google.com. Each time you create a class within Google Classroom a subfolder is created within the Classroom folder. You can easily access this folder from the class tiles on the home page. On each tile, in the bottom right-hand corner, is a folder icon. Click on this icon to link to the class folder in Google Drive.
6. Click on Assignment Title
7. Provide Feedback
My workflow in Google Classroom is to click on the work students submitted. If it is a Google Doc to use Control Alt M to insert comments. I use Control Enter to close the comment. I then use Control W to close the document. This allows me to give fast feedback right in the document.
I can also provide feedback right in Google Classroom. Click on a student’s name to expand out options to see what the student submitted. This also gives you the option to have a private chat with a student about their work. You can leave feedback in the “Add private comment” section. You can also enter a grade for the student on this page. Note that Google Classroom does NOT have a gradebook. Leaving a grade simply notifies the student of their assessment score.
If you would like to see all of the students work in one place, click on the “Folder” button at the top of the assignment administration page. This opens the folder in Google Drive. All student work is together in the one folder.
8. Return Work
When students submit work to Google Classroom they lose editing rights. Ownership of the assignments are turned over to the teacher. After reviewing student work click on the “select all” checkbox and click on the blue “Return” button. This returns ownership and editing rights to the student.
9. Provide a Link
Instead of directing students to go to a particular website, get them in the habit of going to Google Classroom to link to websites. Create an announcement. Use the link icon to link to a website. Be sure to include the http:// on the URL.
10. Develop this Mantra
All Things Start in Google Classroom
Do not use Google Classroom sometimes, use it for EVERYTHING. Getting students into the habit that they go to Google Classroom first for everything creates a very smooth workflow with your students. This will particularly pay off when you have a substitute. Directions are posted in Google Classroom, the students will know exactly what to do.
Want to know more about Google Classroom? Check out the book “50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom” by myself and Libbi Miller. The book is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. Bulk discounts are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org