Introduction to Google Classroom for Teachers
Google classroom for teachers has fast become the norm. For some of us, it’s brand new. Others have figured out the basics but haven’t discovered its time-saving features.
Today we’ll build your Google Classroom from the ground up in less than an hour.
Bookmark this page now so you can come back later. I’ve divided the steps into short videos. (Each video’s length is listed with the heading.)
A surprising way to learn faster
Any new technology feels scary at first and can even make us feel dumb. I used to feel this way. I’d try something new, not get it, and give up with a sour-grapes attitude.
One year, a coteacher suggested Google Classroom, saying, “It’s super easy and way faster.” She showed me. I didn’t get it. She kept using it, though, and I’d peek over her shoulder, curious.
Know what changed everything? Involving kids. During Quiet Time, I asked for 3 students to help me.
“I’m trying to get my head around this Google Classroom thing,” I explained, “but I’m getting stuck. Want to help?”
They were thrilled! Together, we figured out stuff FAST, by playing and experimenting. And I got to see how things looked from a student view.
Had I tried this on my own, I would have given up. But they approached it like an adventure and it was contagious!
Since then, I’ve tried the same thing with other technology. I’ll pull 3 kids over and we’ll figure it out together.
The real kicker? These kids become your assistants when you teach it to the whole class. Two years ago, we figured out Book Creator. Then I told the class, “If you have trouble, raise your hand and one of us four will help you.” Handling a sea of raised hands is easy with a team!
Let’s Start YOUR Google Classroom!
Time to get your hands dirty! If you have kids at home, great. Have them join your class. (You can delete them from the classroom later.)
No kids at home? Ask past students to join you on a Zoom call for a few minutes. Or a neighbor’s kids. Or your niece. Kids love helping us geezers out.
As a last resort, you can ask adults to play the kid part.
If you don’t have a gmail account yet, create one now. Let’s do this!
Creating your Google Classroom (1:08)
In this step, you’ll learn how to make your Google Classroom.
1. Go to the 3 by 3 array in the top right of your Gmail screen. Click it.
2. Scroll until you see Google Classroom. Click that.
3. In top right, + button. click Create Class
4. Name your class! You’ve created a Google Classroom for teachers!
Layout of your classroom (1:32)
Explore the four tabs of your Google Classroom.
Inviting students to your classroom (1:35)
To invite students to Google Classroom for teachers, click the “People” tab at the top. Your school might have its own way of doing this step, so check first.
Next to “Students” you can click on the person tab and invite students by name or email.
More often, you’ll invite them through a code. Click the Settings tab on the top right of your screen. (It looks like a wheel.)
- Scroll down to “General.”
- Click to the right of “Class Code.”
- Then choose “Display.”
- You can click on the lower right hand side to make the display fullscreen.
Creating an assignment (3:11)
Time to create these Google Classroom assignments you’ve been hearing about! Start basic and play around. The more you experiment with this, the more you’ll realize its potential to save you time.
You can’t touch this (0:45)
Seriously, don’t touch this folder.
Once you start creating assignments, a folder “Google Classroom” will appear in your Google Drive. Don’t open it. Don’t put it in your trash. Pretend it doesn’t exist.
Organizing Google Classroom
Decor of Google Classroom (1:28)
Creating the decor of your teacher Google Classroom isn’t a timesaver. But people love flair, so have at it.
Using Topics to Simplify Google Classroom (4:53)
Think of topics as folders. If used well, they create order. You can organize by subject or by week. Last year, I organized by subject. When we moved to distance learning, I found organizing by week more efficient.
Color Coding and Using Emojis (5:00)
Placing emojis next to assignments may seem cutesy, but it has benefits. If not overdone, it can use color to create order in your Google Classroom assignments.
These are two sites where you can copy emojis:
Assessing Your Students
Once you get the hang of assessing your students on Google Classroom, you will have all your grades in one place. You will quickly see what you still have to correct and what students may be missing. All without the annoying piles on your desk.
Turning in Assignments (6:16)
Students will be able to turn in their assignments on Google Classroom by clicking “Turn In.” When we began this, my students often forgot how to do this, so I created a short video on turning in assignments and kept it in a Topic Folder called “How do I…” in their Google Classroom Assignments.
When you see the time you’ll save with feedback on Google Classroom, you’ll be pleased.
Formative Feedback (5:10)
In this video, I share one of my favorite formative feedback techniques for writing. (Hint: I do it while the kids are writing and it involves compliments.)
Summative Feedback (3:16)
Imagine. All your summative feedback in one place. Nothing gets lost in backpacks. No photocopying. No signing tests. And all of it at your fingertips for parent teacher conferences.
Save your Comments (1:40)
This trick allows you to save comments and reuse them! You will feel like a tech giant when you use this.
Creating a Rubric (2:10)
Creating rubrics used to be a pain. Create a table, begin to write in it, change your mind. Have to redesign the table.
Now? You can have an easy rubric in seconds that you can use forever.
Want to save even more time in Google Classroom? Read this post about 6 Time-Saving Tips for Teachers. They will make your Google Classroom run even smoother.
In the comments below, tell us:
- Did you just create your first Google Classroom for teachers? How does it feel? What questions do you have?
- OR … If you’ve been using Google Classroom for teachers, how does it save you time. Do you have other tricks?
Know a teacher who stays at work too late? Want to send them time-saving tips? Share this article with them on social media using the links up top.
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