Back to School with Google Classroom

Now that school is back in full swing, this is a great time to take a look at some of the benefits of using Google Classroom.  Whether you are a veteran user or new to Google, there are some awesome features that will help you save time, and communicate better with parents.

Getting Started – Archive Old Courses

As you start the new year, you may be faced with re-using an old course, or archiving the old ones and starting new.  My best advice to people is to archive them.  Many people say they want to re-use their course so they don’t have to re-enter lessons from last year.  However, re-using the course can actually create more work than if you archive, because you have to change the dates on every entry, post them to the top, and all this in addition to deleting students from the course. 

By Archiving a course, the course is removed from your dashboard and students are un-enrolled.   However, all is not lost.   As you start your new course, you can re-use old posts from any class – current or archived – by using the Re-Use Post option in Classroom. 

Classroom Communication

As you add items to your Classroom stream, there are several ways to maintain communication with students so you know they are up to date on what is due and when.  The first of these is the class calendar.  With every new Classroom created, there is also a corresponding Calendar.  This calendar appears in the Google Classroom Menu.  Students can view assignments and announcements for your classroom, as well as any other classroom they are enrolled in.  

Additionally, all Google Classroom calendars appear in Google Calendar for all teachers, co-teachers, and students linked to the classroom.

Parent Communication

One criticism of many teachers toward classroom was the inability of parents to see how their student was performing, and what assignments were given in Google Classroom.  For a long time, I told teachers to share their Google Classroom calendar with parents to solve this issue.   Thankfully, as of this Summer, Google has added a feature allowing teachers to invite Guardians to connect with Google Classroom.

Once invited, parents and guardians can see daily or weekly digests of student work.  They can also get information on missing work, upcoming work, and class activity.  At the end of the year, they can unsubscribe from the class.

Schedule Posts

Finally if you are the kind of teacher that likes to get work done ahead of time, there is an option in Google Classroom allowing you to schedule assignments and announcements ahead of time.  For instance, lets say you are sitting at home on Sunday night, and you want to plan your week.  Use the Schedule Post function to get your classroom ready for the week.

Hopefully these tips have served as new information to help you be more productive with Classroom, or at the very least, remind you of some functions you may have forgotten about over the Summer.  

Here’s to a great school year, and great Googlin’!

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