Google Classroom: Work on Consistency First
Best way to get started using Google Classroom, type in it. Do not distribute links and documents. Do not collect work or have the students do anything. You can literally be up and running with Google Classroom in less than 3 minutes.
After logging into Google Classroom click the plus icon in the bottom right and choose “Assignment.” Type what non-digital thing you want the students to do. You can OPTIONALLY elaborate in the description. Click “Assign.” Done.
We all know how important consistency is in teaching. ALWAYS posting tasks to Google Classroom provides consistency. This is a great first step to getting going with Google Classroom and blended learning without feeling overwhelmed.
Even though you’re initially using Google Classroom just to list the tasks you want students to do, it makes it clear to students and parents what was expected to be completed.
When my kids get home from school I ask them, “What did you do today?” I typically get “nothing” or “recess.” I then tell my kids, “open up Google Classroom let me see.” When nondigital tasks are posted to Google Classroom it gives me specific things I can ask my kid about. “Oh, your teacher read the book Wonder can you tell me about it?” “You made a poster of geometry symbols, what did you make?”
My 5 kids were all super sick recently. When they were unable to go to school the first thing I said to them was “Pull up Google Classroom and see what you need to do.” The days of calling the school, calling friends, trying to track down clues for what work the kid needs to do should be OVER. As a teacher I spent so much time answering emails from parents, responding to office paperwork for absent student work, or spending classroom minutes talking to kids about what they missed. Taking literally a couple of minutes to list things in Google Classroom can save me cumulatively hours as a teacher!
Fast to Post
It literally takes seconds to post non-digital tasks to Google Classroom, it can even be done from the Google Classroom app as I’m walking down the hall.
I suggest starting each morning by typing the list of tasks students will be doing into Google Classroom. EVERYTHING. Every single thing the kids are doing.
- Take notes
- Independent practice
- Group discussion
- Draw on paper
- Physical Education activity
- Carpet time story reading
- Hands on math manipulatives
- Watch a brain-pop video as a class
- Holiday craft project
- Silent reading
- Do problems out of the book
We all make adjustments to what we have students do in response to things and questions that come up in class. It is quick to add those things to Google Classroom also. Let Google Classroom be a record of everything the students are asked to do.
Mark As Done
You do not need to start with students marking assignments as done, but graduate to having the students go into Google Classroom and marking assignments as done. This can help parents for when students pull up their Google Classroom, parents should see a sea of green checkmarks. This does not even have to be done on a task by task basis. If you’re not in a 1:1 situation, when opportunities arise ask students to review the list in Google Classroom and mark what they have finished.