60 Ways Math Teachers Can Use Google Classroom
I have been asked by math teachers how they can use Google Classroom. Google Classroom is great for any subject area, especially math! Earlier I had posted on 5 ways Students Can Use Google Docs in Math. This builds on those ideas with a list of 60 ways Google Classroom can be used by Math teachers. Check out my book “Teaching Math with Google Apps” for more ideas and specific examples.
- Create a blended classroom: Google Classroom is the perfect tool to transform a traditional class into a blended model.
- Go paperless: There are many ways that Google Classroom can support a paperless classroom. Stop standing at the copy machine and use Google Classroom instead.
- Distribute handouts: It is easy to attach files that are either in Google Drive or on the computer. Attach handouts to an announcement or assignment to allow students to easily access.
- Collect homework: The homework collection process can take many instructional minutes. Eliminate this by having students submit their work in Google Classroom.
- Return work: Passing student work back in Google Classroom is as simple as checking
- Use equation editor: Attach Google text documents to assignments. Google Docs has an equation editor built in. Directions and questions can include equations made with the equation editor. Students can respond using the equation editor.
- Digitally collect student work: If student complete their work on paper they can use the Google Classroom app to take a picture of the work and submit. Students can insert a snapshot of their paper work via the webcam into a Google Doc to submit to Google Classroom.
- Post solutions: Students can check their work by locating solutions attached to the assignment in Google Classroom. Editing the assignment after it is due, documents can be attached to the assignment that allow students to view the solutions.
- Post problem of the week: Google Classroom makes it easy for student to locate the problem of the week (POW). Attach to an optional assignment. Participating students can submit their work straight to Google Classroom.
- Link to interactive simulations: Several websites have interactive math simulations that can help students have a better understanding of math concepts. Google Classroom gives the ability to link to websites as part of lesson sets. Rather than relying on students typing in the correct URL into their browser students can simply click on the link in Google Classroom.
- Post corrections: After reviewing student work and noting common misconceptions an announcement can be posted to Google Classroom to make clarifications for students.
- Highlight student exemplars: Work submitted to Google Classroom is saved to a folder in Google Drive. An announcement in Google Classroom can attach student exemplars from the assignment folder in Google Drive.
- Distribute assignments: Rather than writing assignments on the board students can have access to the assignments 24/7 in Google Classroom.
- Provide support materials: Sometimes students need a refresher on pre requisite skills such as how to find the common denominator. As part of the lesson set in Google Classroom provide links to videos, links to websites or attach documents on pre requisite skills.
- Provide differentiation: Math students have different ability levels and interests. Use Google Classroom to provide different types of resources for student needs.
- Stop lecturing: Google Classroom allows the teacher to
- post videos, documentation or links to instructional websites. Google Classroom supports a flipped teaching model. A lecture is ephemeral, resources in Google Classroom allow students access to instructional resources anytime
- Stop repeating yourself: Clearly posting announcements or important information to Google Classroom allows the teacher to not have to repeat themselves. Students can find the information easily by accessing the Google Classroom stream.
- Provide directions: Verbal directions or directions written on the board can be missed by students who are absent or engaged in another task. Providing directions in Google Classroom ensures that students know what they are suppose to be doing.
- Offer choices: Students have different interests. Offering assignment choices in Google Classroom gives students a feeling of locus of control and greater buy in.
- Link to playsheets: Playsheets are digital worksheets with game elements. Playsheets provide students with immediate feedback which provides motivation for students and helps them to know they are on the right track. Rote math practice is best done with a playsheet.
- Model mathematics with Google Draw: Create virtual manipulatives, such as Algebra Tiles, in a Google Drawing. Distributing the drawing as each student receives a copy allows students to model their mathematics.
- Provide hyperdocs: Hyperdocs are a Google Document that structures student exploration and learning of a topic. Thank you to Lisa Highfill for her work with Hyperdocs.
- Give quiet students a voice: Students may feel shy about raising their hand in class. Using the comment features in Google Classroom students can post their question to the class stream.
- Provide faster feedback: Using Google Classroom to collect work gives the teacher quicker access to student work. Feedback can be provided while students are working on their assignment or immediately after submitting. Students receive feedback via email as soon as feedback is provided.
- Target struggling students: Google Classroom counts how many students have submitted an assignment. Clicking on the number of students who have not submitted provides the teacher with a list of students who may need additional help.
- Post videos: Videos that introduce concepts, hook students into the lesson or provide support resources can be added to lesson sets to help students better understand concepts.
- Have student critique the reasoning of others: Common Core standards call for students to critique the reasoning of others. Using the commenting features in Google Documents students can critique the reasoning of peer explanations of math concepts. Share the documents in the Google Classroom folder with classmates to allow for commenting or create a collaborative document in Google Classroom for students to reason mathematical and respond to the reasoning of others.
- Use spreadsheets: Spreadsheets are a necessary life skill. Almost every manager uses spreadsheets to organize information. Household budgets can be created and tracked through spreadsheets. Google Classroom allows teachers to assign Google Sheets spreadsheet activities that help students strengthen their spreadsheet skills and to apply their algebraic reasoning through formulas.
- Provide class feedback: After reviewing student work different themes or issues may become evident. Returning work to students allows the teacher to provide a global feedback comment that can help clarify common misconceptions.
- Provide meaningful feedback: Inserting comments into a students Google Doc can allow the teacher to give very specific feedback in response to student work.
- Collect videos: Students can create videos through a screencast, using a mobile device or other video creation methods. Having students create videos can allow them to be more creative and demonstrate their understanding of concepts. Students are able to link to YouTube videos they created or attach video files in Google Classroom.
- Use Google Slides for real world applications: Students can create and attach a presentation in Google Classroom. The presentation can include images, videos and explanations of how a math concept is modeled in the real world.
- Have students conduct research: Mathematics is in almost everything. Having students research topics and explain the math involved with an issue is a great activity for students. Google Classroom allows students to turn in multiple documents to the same assignment. Students can collect and organize their research in a Google spreadsheet or document. They can calculate mathematically in a spreadsheet and display charts and graphs. They can explain and present their findings in a Google document or presentation. Additionally they can attach a document of their bibliography.
- Allow students to ask questions: Rather than waiting for class to ask questions students can post their questions while they are working on their homework. Other students can respond providing the potential for students to receive a quick answer.
- Collect data: Google Forms and Google Sheets allow for data collection. Students can conduct or answer surveys and use the information to make mathematical calculations. A collaborative spreadsheet allows students to insert their data.
- Play games: Games are motivating and fun. Playing math games allows students to practice while having fun. Game based learning experiences can also be created within Google Classroom. Provide the rules and ongoing game elements through announcements in the stream.
- Have students explain their thought process: There are many websites and apps that will show students step by step how to complete a math problem. Asking students to show their work is no longer sufficient. Having students use a Google document to explain their thought process helps to see that students truly understand the concepts rather than simply memorizing an algorithm.
- Collaborative reasoning: Prior to providing students the algorithm for solving a problem, students can use a collaborative Google Document or Slides presentation to reason out possible solutions to a problem. Attach a document in Google Classroom as "Students can edit file."
- Persevere in problem solving: Google Classroom allows for ongoing interaction with a student on a problem. Start students with a problem in a Google Document and have them submit the first part. The teacher can return the document to the students through Google Classroom. After receiving feedback students can build on their previous answer and resubmit. This process can be repeated to allow students to work on multi-step problems.
- Annotate images: Using Google Draw or Google Slides students can identify math within an image. Using the drawing tools students can label and create shapes over an image. Drawings and Slides with an image can be attached to an assignment in Google Classroom as "Make a copy for each student."
- Reason abstractly: Students can use a Google Document and equation editor to express an idea abstractly as well as to explain how they derived the equation.
- Use appropriate tools strategically: When providing students a math question they can determine which tools they need to use to approach and solve the problem. Students can "Create" a Google spreadsheet or other Google Document straight from Google Classroom. Students can use tools such as Desmos, Geogebra, Daum Equation Editor from Google Drive and integrate into their Google documents they submit to Google Classroom. Templates of rulers and other mathematical tools can be created in Google Slides or Drawings to help students use virtual tools.
- Look for patterns or structures: Teachers can attach documents in Google Classroom that contain a pattern for students to identify and explain. Students can share documents with each other to collaborate on identifying the patterns and structures. Teachers have access to the documents through Google Classroom as the students work on them. Teachers can guide students in their reasoning.
- Have students model geometric concepts: Using Google Drawings, Google Slides or inserting a drawing into a Google Document allows students to draw geometric figures. Locating an image to represent the geometric figures, students can draw the shape on top of the image.
- Connect with experts: Using Google Hangout a class can ask questions of an expert in the field. Providing the link to the hangout in Google Classroom gives students access to participate in the questioning, watch the interview, and to access the archive of the interview later.
- Collaborate with other teachers: Google Classroom classes are not restricted to a teachers roster. Students can participate in activities that other teachers in the department are doing. Different teachers can provide different resources and activities to divide up the teaching load.
- Response to intervention: Different Google Classrooms can be created for students to join based on student needs. Students needing additional support or students needing additional challenges can join a Google Classroom class around intervention of a particular topic. Teachers in the math department can work together to support one of the intervention classrooms.
- Provide peer tutoring: Students in upper grades can tutor and support students in lower grades through the creation of a Google Classroom class for this purpose.
- Remind students: Posting announcements in Google Classroom can remind students of upcoming tests or project due dates.
- Celebrate success: Success builds success. Google Classroom allows the teacher to encourage students through comments in the assignment feedback or publicly in the stream.
- Collect evidence: Students working on digital resources outside of Google documents can take screenshots to document evidence of their participation. Google Classroom allows students to attach the screenshots to an assignment.
- Create projects: Google Classroom allows the teacher to build a lesson set with multiple elements. Posting project directions and resources to Google Classroom clearly communicates the project to the students, allows them to easily access resources, and provides students with a digital easy to submit the project.
- Crowdsource information: Create a collaborative Google spreadsheet in Google Classroom that allows students to find and contribute information around a topic. Students can use the crowdsourced information for their assignment or project.
- Have students find examples in real life: The Google Classroom app allows students to submit a picture they take on their mobile device. Students can find examples in their everyday life of mathematical application. Students can identify these applications and take a picture to submit to Google Classroom.
- Give digital quizzes: Google Classroom makes it easy to link to digital quizzes.
- Share presentations: Teachers can attach their Google Slides presentations or PowerPoint presentations to the stream. Students can follow along or access the slides later.
- Provide templates: Create spreadsheet templates or other Google documents to get students started on an activity. Use Google Classroom to provide the template as "Make a copy for each student."
- View work in a folder: Grading is easier when student work for an assignment is contained in a single folder in Google Drive. Use the preview function to view each student assignment in the Google Classroom folder.
- Use spreadsheets for inquiry: Google Sheets can be structured to guide students through mathematical concepts.
- Teach programming: Using programs such as Scratch or Google Apps Script can allow students to demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts. Google Classroom makes it easy to post tutorials and directions for using Scratch or other programming tools as well as a venue to submit programming projects.
See all my Google Classroom posts at alicekeeler.com/google-classroom
Teaching Math with Google Apps
Teaching Math with Google Apps is available on Amazon.
23 thoughts on “60 Ways Math Teachers Can Use Google Classroom”
Alice – I would like to reference this blog post in my blog. Do you require any special notations?
You can link to my post, please do not copy and paste the post.
I would like to have my students submit their math work via classroom, but I’m at a loss of how I could get them to show their work instead of just having them type the answers, and have the document set up so that I can give immediate feedback. I was thinking about just having them attach screenshots of their work. What would you suggest?
None of the 8 mathematical practices say “Show your work.” I know this has long been a staple of the math classroom, but honestly it is obsolete. Wolfram Alpha and PhotoMath and other websites will not only give students the answers to math problems, it shows them the step by step solution. Only 9% of the adult population is fluent with numbers, show your work is not working for understanding math. This is a great time to rethink the types of problems we give students (I taught high school math, almost the entire math book is DOK 1 with some DOK 2). Check out my other blog posts on math as well as my book on Teaching Math with Google Apps for ideas on how to engage students in math. I also am a massive fangirl of Jo Boaler, Stanford math professor. Definitely check out her books and her website youcubed.org
Just want to add a comment here. I used to work as a marker in the Physics department at University and if you didn’t show work, we didn’t know if you just copied the answer from someone. No work, no marks. Especially with the rise of Wolfram and Maple and powerful calculators, showing your work is necessary. As well, the Alberta Math 30 Diploma exam is bringing back written answers, because of the inability of students to actually calculate anything.
Move away from show your work to show your thinking, explain why it works. Don’t fight technology, change what you do. Show your work is DOK 1 and as you said can easily be done by different technologies. I taught math, show your work was the staple of the math department right… but it’s time to move past that. Tech has made that obsolete, so we have to ask students to do it differently.
The problem is that I have to train them to show their work. I have to follow the government curriculum and the new diploma exams will have questions that require work be shown. I also run math contests from universities at my school and they also demand all work be shown. Since the universities only care about grades, it is a disservice for my students if I don’t teach them what is required from universities. To be fair though, I teach Grade 12 Math, Physics and Calculus and all these kids are going to go into Engineering, Science or Business at University.
Your students need to be critical thinkers and analyzers of math. Other than contrived exams no one does math like the problems in the math book.
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