Are you looking for an easy way to manage your students’ work? Do you hate carrying piles of papers back and forth between home and school? If you answered yes to these questions, Google Classroom might be a great solution for you. Keep reading to find out about all the benefits of using Google Classroom.
When my school district went 1:1 with Chromebooks 3 years ago, I was overwhelmed. Before that, we had one laptop cart to share among 8 teachers. Each class got the computers for a few hours once a week. I mostly used them to publish our writing pieces in Microsoft Word.
Then, I got a Chromebook. No Windows? No Microsoft Word or Powerpoint? There was definitely a learning curve as I got used to Google Docs and Slides. Then, I discovered Google Classroom, and my life was changed forever.
Benefits of Google Classroom
#1 – You can create a class for each subject.
I love how easy it is to stay organized in Google Classroom! I create a class for each subject. That way, I can create multiple assignments for a day without them all being in the same thread. That makes it much easier for students to find what they need.
To create a class, go to your Google Classroom. Click the plus sign at the top, and give your class a name. Choose a theme for your class. All of your classes will show up on your dashboard.
Have students join your class by clicking on the plus sign at the top of their dashboard. They will need to enter your class code. You can find it by clicking on the “Students” tab at the top of the class. Then, the class code is on the left side. You can click “Display” to make it larger and project it for your students.
Other teachers in your school can create classes and have students add them to their Google Classroom. Our library teacher uses Google Classroom for her lessons, so my students have a “Library” class on their dashboard.
#2 – You can customize your assignments.
When you’re ready to create your first assignment, go into your class, and click on the plus sign in the bottom right corner. Click on “Create Assignment”. You can also create a question or an announcement that will show up in the thread. Students will be able to answer the question or respond to the announcement.
For now, we’re going to focus on creating an assignment. Here are the steps to follow.
- Give your assignment a title.
- Provide your students with specific instructions, if you would like.
- Set a due date.
- Attach the assignment. It can be a file from your computer, a Google Doc or Slideshow, a YouTube video, or a link to a website. You can include more than one of these at a time. For example, if you want the students to watch a video and then respond in a Google Doc, you can attach both.
- If you choose a Google Doc or Google Slideshow, you can choose how to share it with the students. Click on the down arrow to allow students to view the file, edit the file, or make a copy for each student. This is not on the diagram, because it only shows up when you add a Google doc or slideshow.
- Choose which students will complete the assignment. It automatically selects “All Students,” but you can select specific students to get the assignment. This is perfect for differentiating guided math groups and small group projects.
- Finally, click “Assign”. You can also choose to schedule the assignment for later or save the draft by clicking on the down arrow.
#3 – You will save lots of paper.
Since I started using Google Classroom, the amount of paper I use for copying has been cut in half. I still believe that some things are better on paper, like reading passages and math homework. However, math centers, science papers, and final copies of writing are all online now.
Not only will you be saving trees by using Google Classroom, but you’ll also be saving yourself time. No more standing in line for the copier for half an hour every day!
#4 – You can grade without a stack of papers.
Gone are the days of carrying a huge bag of papers home to grade. My school bag used to be filled with hundreds of papers. Now, I can grade from any computer. I just sign into my Google Classroom and check my students’ work.
Another amazing feature of Google Classroom is that you can see which students have completed an assignment and which ones haven’t. If your students click “Turn In” when they finish an assignment, Google Classroom keeps track of who is done and who isn’t. This saves so much time, because you no longer have to go through an entire stack of papers to figure out which one student’s work you’re missing.
#5 – Absent students can make up work from home. (And you can give students assignments and directions when you have a substitute.)
If your students know their Google email addresses and passwords, they can log into Google Classroom from any computer. This means that when students are absent, they can access all of the work they missed.
Google Classroom also makes sub plans easier. You can assign everything to your students through Google Classroom. Give them the directions they need, and they’ll be able to manage themselves for the day. Plus, you won’t have to run to school at 3AM with the stomach bug to make copies.
#6 – Parents can see student work.
Do you have parents who like to see everything their child worked on during the day at school? Well, now they can. In the “Students” tab on Google Classroom, you can “Invite Guardians” by entering their email addresses. You can also email all your students’ parents through Google Classroom. This is great for communication with families.
A Few Final Notes
All of these features make Google Classroom an amazing teaching tool. However, doing assignments on the Chromebooks will add some time to your lessons at first. It takes a little while for students to get used to where to go and how to use Google Classroom. After a few weeks, it will just become part of their routine, and they’ll be pros at using it.
You might also want to turn off commenting and posting in your classrooms. I didn’t know this was possible at first, and students were wasting time by posting comments on the assignment thread. Just go to the “Students” tab and click below the “Class Code”. Choose “Only teachers can post or comment”.
Administrators are always looking for ways you incorporate technology into your lessons. Google Classroom is a great way to use technology in your lessons. Discover other tips for having a great formal observation.
For more information about Google Classroom and how to get it for your school, check this out.
What Do You Think?
Have you tried Google Classroom? What is your favorite thing about it?
Let me know in the comments below.