I am beyond excited you all loved my google classroom 101 blog post! Like I had mentioned, I wanted to touch on the simple parts of setting up your classroom and how to organize it in a way that's best for you and your students (if you have not read it, I highly recommend you read that one first). In this blog post, I plan to show you a bit more advanced options such as: making slides for your students (that are appealing), hidden settings that you might want to know about and funky things that Google just "does".
A little heads up, I use slides for anything and everything. I like it better than docs because it is easier for kids to manipulate and has more options. I want you to get it out o your head that slides is used for presentations. I mean it can be, but it has so many more capabilities! I like to use them as interactive worksheets, a way to engage my lessons, and add backgrounds so students don't move or delete things!
Number 1 thing I get asked about is "How do you put your cute fonts into google?" My answer is you can't. But there are two work arounds.
1. Design it in powerpoint first, which I do 99% of the time for reasons i'll discuss later. I then save my whole powerpoint by clicking File >export > png (NOTICE: for some computers you will have to go to file> save as> png or even file>save as picture.) Make sure the button all slides is clicked. It will then create a folder for you with all of your slides as images. I then right click on my black slide, and select change background. I click import image, and then drag my first "slide" into the box. I continue this until all slides are done.
Quick video on the first method, making it in powerpoint, saving, and inputting into slides
2. This I like to use if there is a title or certain words I want in my cute font. I simply type it out how I want it, and then copy the text. Paste it onto your slide and google automatically turns it into a picture! pretty cool!
Quick Video of the copy & paste method
Cool Things to add to SlidesI
So after playing around with many things, there are so many features you can add to your slides! You can add youtube videos, voice memos, images and even connect slides to a google form/sheets!To add these features you have to simply click insert, and choose what you want! It is so simple and I love it because it makes for students adding to their slides easy to do (if you just show them how!)
One of my favorites, and possibly the easiest is adding images. You click this by clicking insert>image and whatever way you want to upload. For students I have them choose search the web. What is nice about this is a little pop up window comes up and allows you to google search an image right then and there. I noticed this way is much safer than if a child were to google search directly into google. Another one of my favorites is have the student take a picture. This of course only works on a. device with a camera but what this does is open so many options. I have used this for scavenger hunts on the first day of school, selfie writings, and math games for them to show their work! (see how much that adds to your slides!?)
Obviously you would access this the same way except you'd click on audio. This works the best if your audio is already in your drive. Just simply download or record what you want, and drag it into slides. This is great if you want to leave your students a little audio message. (Warning: I am not sure the number, but Google only allows a certain number of plays for audio, and won't let you listen to it if it goes over that number)
This one is great for so many reasons. First of all, with this distance learning, you can add a video of you teaching or a youtube you found that helps teach or support a concept. I also like to use these for podcasts as you can find most on youtube and it can get you past that weird plays issue that audio gives you. There are three ways to use this, search in youtube, or paste a URL that you have. You can also upload a video from your drive if you wanted to show something NOT from youtube.
Things for Students to Copy and Paste (Or Click and drag)
A fun way I like to easily make things "interactive" is by adding images for students to copy and paste. This way I feel as though it give them the freedom of choice when in their slide. An example I did was when we were making food chains. I input a whole bunch of different animals and had the kids pick and choose which ones they wanted to use to make a food web. That way it is something a bit more interactive than just typing and turning in. Something else I did was for our Harry Potter Novel study. I input 12 different wands and had the kids copy and paste which one they wanted. They then did a graphic organizer and finally came up with a rough draft. I felt that this made the assignment more personal and fun than a regular old writing assignment.
Add notes to the side of assignments
One thing I do often is add "notes" or instructions off to the side of the slide to help students. I add tips, instructions and things to think about in case they get stuck. I just simply input a shape, make it a bright color, and even sometimes add my bitmoji next to it so they really know to look at it. I like this because I can add things without taking space up on the document that they are working on. (To add bitmoji you will need to download the chrome extension)
Example of my added note! Also an example of a copy and paste assignment.
Force A copy
One thing that is SUPER useful is being able to force copy things. This means if you sent something to a colleague or student, they aren't going to use yours. (Because lets be real, telling someone to make a copy never works)
This is actually pretty simple. What you will do is Open up the share settings of a document. (Do this by right clicking and click share) Go to advanced settings and just hit "All with link can view". I do this because sometimes it doesn't work if you don't change the settings. Now you should see a link that you can copy and paste to send to someone. Copy and paste that somewhere (either a blank document or just up in your URL bar.
What you are going to do is delete edit?usp=sharing at the very end of your link. Now you will type the word copy right after the slash. Copy and paste the whole link now wherever you are planning on sending it. It will now force the person to make a copy. I like to test it out by pressing enter in my URL bar just to make sure.(You can also do the same thing to forms, or docs!)
Okay. Here is when we jump to the more advanced area, because there might be a tiny bit of "coding" in this section. I figured out long ago, that you can connect data from a google form, to a google slide using sheets. (I know, just bare with me). Why would I need this? Good question. I use house points in my class, so I use it to tally points up for me and to tell me who is in the lead. You can also connect it to make a graph and maybe show data from a form?
Click this link to watch a short how-to (Way easier than me trying to explain)
Okay now I am going to show a few hidden settings you might want to know about. In my last post I shared about how to turn off notification emails, so If you are getting bogged down, I recommend checking that out.
The first is allowing guardian emails. What this feature does is allows you to connect a parent/guardian with each child so that it sends a daily or weekly report. Parents need to accept the invitation on their computer (not phone idk why but it doesn't work). The parent then decides if you want daily or weekly "progress reports". Essentially it sends them an email informing them if their child has any missing assignments. (Gold for distance learning am I right?) You want to be in classroom, and click the little gear at the top. Scroll down to General and you will see a little switch next to guardian summaries. Click the slide to on, and it will now allow you to add emails to each of your students (located in the people tab)
Hide Classwork on Stream
So this is the annoying page that Google forces students to see first, well I am here to tell you that you can force your students to go to classwork instead. To to this go back to settings, scroll to general and where it says classwork on stream, change to hide notifications I like this so only things I post on stream is there. It also forces kids to go to classwork, NOT stream.
Differentiate work for students
You can differentiate work for students by assigning it to students that you want to. When assigning something, you should see a part off to the right hand side that say for (your GC class in one box) (all students in another). Click the one that says all students, uncheck that button, and now you can choose which students are assigned that! Great way to do small groups, or assigned things for students with IEPs.
Annoying Things Google just Does
Probably the most irritating thing right now is the grey overlay on your uploaded header. It has nothing to do with your image and there are zero work arounds. It just is what it is. My recommendations is to click the question mark in the left corner and compain (no really all message boards that I have scoured said the same thing). You can "code" the website to make it do its not there but it is not worth it as it only looks like that on your screen, and goes away as soon as you close out and open again. Only time will tell.
Not allowing to make a copy
One thing I have ran into is when I either forgot to make a copy of an assignment, or go back into an assignment and edit it. For whatever reason, you will notice you no longer have the option to make a copy for each student. You have to unfortunately start from scratch (which is annoying).
For some reason school accounts don't have all the bells and whistles my personal account does. Perfect example is adding audio. For the life of me, my school one doesn't have this option, so I have to create in my personal one and share to my school account. If you notice your google slides is missing something, I recommend trying it on your personal one. Odds are you'll find what is missing.
This one is probably up there with the grey overlay: share settings. The amount of times I have had kids tell me something doesn't work is astronomical and 99% of the time is because I did something wrong with the settings. If you are linking audio, or a video in your slides MAKE SURE YOU FIX THE SHARE SETTINGS. I say this because even though you had the slides make a copy, the share settings need to be set on those items as "Anyone with the link can view" otherwise they have to ask for permission. So if they are having issues, that's where I would look first!