Okay, so I am sure during this time of distance learning you, like me, flocked to Google Classroom as your saving grace. Some are using this medium no problem, but others are maybe struggling to figure it all out. Also, I don't know about you, but when there is so much NEW it can be extremely stressful and exhausting to figure out what you're supposed to do. I thought I would make one collective space where you can come to in case you were needing a little pick me up.
Setting up your classroom
A few things, there are some things you can do to "spice it up" like upload your own header to classroom to make it feel more appealing and homey. I am going to give you a warning that google puts a lovely dark overlay on top so it makes your image grey, but I like it better than what they offer. Below you can see what mine looks like! I also like to add a fun catch phrase for the title of our class to make it feel more like in our classroom. (You can upload the photo by clicking upload photo in the bottom right of the header)
There are two ways you can add your students either by share the code, which I hid under the white rectangle, or by adding your students by clicking people. We are a google school so I literally just started typing their names and their emails pop right up!
Lastly, I like to add topics for all the things by clicking classwork > Create> topics.
Here you can organize all your topics. During the school year I just make one for each subject, but during this distance learning I have been organizing by week,I then add assignments as my days of the week and attach ALL things I want them to do for that day.
My Assignments and topics
How my assignments look.
Now that you have it set up and organized for what makes sense to you, I am now going to lay down some tips and recommendations. First of all, make sure student commenting is on. If you feel like students aren't handling it correctly, I made a slide deck and talked about how to successfully comment. (i.e. kind motivating messages, questions, and answering another student) I gave them a warning if i saw misuse, they get muted, meaning only myself can see their comments. (You do this by going to the little gear at the top, scrolling to general and making sure where it says stream you have selected that students can post and comment)
I personally love this because on each day of the week assignments students can comment questions for those specific assignments. I also have found 9 times out of 10 fellow students will answer making my job easier with all this digital learning. Like I said, my students have been trained on this, don't expect kids to be able to handle this right away. We went over it at the beginning of the year because I use google classroom during the school year, so I would go over the rules during a video meeting.
Another tip: download the app on your phone and you will get updates when students comment right away than having to be tied to your computer all day. I also love this during the school year because I get the notifications on my apple watch so I can see right away who is actually working, and who I need to keep a close eye on (if you know what I mean).If You feel like you don't need these and you are over the millions of emails that now flood your inbox, you can do this by click on the three lines, the gear and clicking email notifications off. It helped me tremendously stick to only being online during my set "office hours".
Know the Difference
This I learned the hard way, but there are three options to choose from when assigning something to your students. Students can view, Make a copy for each student and Students can edit. All three are different and can all be used for different assignments.
Make a copy for each student is something I use for MOST assignments, This is when you want every student to have their own copy to write on and turn in.Think of it as is this something you would pass out for the class to work on and turn in later. What is does is take the template you made, and copy it for all students.
Students can view is usually what I use for a material or just something I want to show them. I don't want them moving things around or typing on any part. Links still work on the view mode.
Students can edit would be similar to an anchor chart or something you want the whole class working on at the same time. Can be chaotic if not done right. This usually needs a little mini lesson on not playing with others text boxes, choose your own space. It is always useful if you want the kids to sign up for something on a google sheet.
Quick Run down
Posting an assignment
Looking at student work
I blocked my students names and scores for privacy reasons, but here you can see an assignment I graded. It shows at the top three numbers. These are important because it tells you who has turned it in (turned in) and who hasn't (assigned). Once you do grade an assignment you need to make sure all are checked, and you click return up at the top so that students can see what they got. If students forget to "turn in" but are done, I still grade it and return, nothing happens.
If a student didn't complete it correctly or all the way, I usually add a private comment on there of what they need to change, fix or add. Its als a note to me that that student needs to make changes. I then return the assignment to the student without a grade.
A note: once a student turns something in, they lose editing privileges. Just let them know to either unsubmit, or you as the teacher can return the assignment and they should have access again!
There are four sections of Google Classroom: stream, classwork, people and grades. You will spend most of your time in classwork. Thats where you go to post and view assignments and topics. The stream is where maybe you would post an announcement to students or something you want them to see right away. Its where I post the updated house points or quick messages I want them to see about upcoming dates. Students always want to go to the stream first, so maybe even add a message that says check the classwork tab.
So I think that's everything on basic run down. I'll be posting another one soon on some more advanced things like making student slides "cute" and how to play around with all google suite has to offer. Hope you enjoyed and I hope this helped you!