12 Things to Start with in Google Classroom

In a nutshell, Google Classroom is Google Drive Management. It allows you to assign assignments and collect work from students. If you are just getting started with Google Classroom, here are some things to try:

1. Create a class

When you log in for the first time, you will be asked if you are a student or a teacher. It is very important that you indicate that you are a teacher. If you make a mistake, please contact your Google Apps administrator on your site to reset your status.

Click the plus button at the top right to create a team for your students to join.
Google Classroom Create Class

Suggestion: Enter the school year in the “Section” line when creating a class. This will make it easier when you want to reuse tasks from previous years.
put school year in 2nd line

2. Create a message

Message from Google Classroom

For your first message, why not invite your students to say hello. Students can comment from Stream on any message unless you disable this feature.

Your next message can be a kind reminder of what types of comments are helpful to everyone in the class and when comments should be made or not.

To create a message or task, click the “Message something to your class” line at the top of Stream.

message block on the stream of Google Classroom.  Click here.

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3. Create a task

Go to the Classwork tab. This is where tasks happen.

The 2nd tab is the Tasks page.  This is where you create tasks

I highly recommend that you number all your Google Classroom tasks. Start EACH task with a number such as # 001, # 002 etc … This makes it very easy to direct students to the right place in Google Classroom. This is also useful when using Control F to find tasks. Search for the number of the assignment and jump straight to it.

Number your tasks with a hashtag and a three-digit number

Carefully consider how to title the task. Google Classroom creates a folder in Google Drive for each task. The folder title matches the award heading. Only the first approximately only the first 40 characters are visible on the task bar on the Tasks page.

Start with the assignment number and the assignment title. In the description, you must provide instructions on how to perform the task. When linking to files, the default is “Students can view file.” You can change this to “Students can edit file”, which allows all students to collaborate on the same document. Try something new! Google Classroom is designed for collaboration. Try the middle option to have only one document to open and evaluate!

4. Note that student view looks different

Student viewing looks different from teacher views. The student view of the task has a link “Show task” after extending the task string. This allows students to hand in the assignment. You may want to include in the instructions that students need to click on “Show Assignment” to view attachments and submit the assignment.

See assignment in student view

In the student view, the assignment has a blue button where the students can submit the assignment. If nothing is attached, the blue button says “Mark as Done”. If any work is attached or attached, the blue button says “Turn on”.

Study your work bubble

5. See the Classroom folder

A Google Drive folder is automatically created when you set up Google Classroom. The folder is called “Classroom”. A link to the folder can be found on the Tasks page at the top right. You can also find this folder by going to http://drive.google.com and looking in the Classroom folder (never the Classroom folder at all!). Each time you create a class in Google Classroom, a subfolder is created in the Classroom folder. You can easily access this folder from the class tiles on the home page. On each tile in the lower right corner there is a folder icon. Click this icon to link to the class folder in Google Drive.
See class folder

You can also find the class folder on the Tasks page. The files in this folder are NOT visible to students. Students have their own individual folders for each class in Google Drive. This directory contains their own class work.

Link to Class Drive folder on the Classwork page.

6. Click on the taskbar

By clicking on the task strips on the Tasks page, the task is expanded with an example. Click on one of the numbers for “Submitted” or “Assigned” to open the task assessment screen.
See assignment

Nothing in Google Classroom is attached, it is actually linked to the file in Google Drive. After clicking on “Show assignment” you will be able to see submitted student work. On the right side of the assessment screen, there are tiles showing the students’ attachments for quick access to the files. On the left is an overview of the students. Click on the student’s name to see all their work associated with that task.
Click on tiles or works or individual student names

7. Give feedback

You can provide feedback to the student directly in the Google Classroom. Click on a student’s name and find the “Add Private Comment” area at the bottom right. Google Classroom improves the feedback cycle by changing comments to conversations. Students are able to respond back to private comments so there is opportunity for back and forth until the student understands. Tip: I start my private comments with my initials to help me know that I was responding to a student’s comment.

add private comments to a task

When students do their work in Google Apps, feedback can be left in the document itself. Click on the title of the document to open it in another tab. No download required !!

Click on the link to student work

You can insert comments in the student’s document by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + M to insert a comment. Pro tip: Use Control + Enter to save the comment without having to use the mouse! Try Control + W to close the tab and head back to Google Classroom.

One of my favorite things about Google Classroom is the assignment folder icon. On the assessment screen, find the folder icon under the number of “Submitted | Assigned”. Clicking on the icon opens the Google Drive folder, which contains all the students’ work.
Google Classroom Folder

8. Return work

Google Classroom is designed to return after you have seen the work. After seeing student work, select the check box next to the student’s name and click the return button at the top. You will have the opportunity to write a private comment to the group of students to whom you return the work.
Return student work

When students submit work to the Google Classroom, they lose editing rights. The ownership of the tasks is transferred to the teacher. Students become viewers of the document. This means that they can not see any feedback comments left in the document itself. Return work to students to return editing rights and allow them to view feedback comments in the document. Students may not see any scores you have left them until you return their work.

9. Individual student viewing

Click the People tab. Click on a student name. This is the individual student view. It is a status report for the student. On the individual student list, returned work shows either their score or a tick.

Individual student viewing

Instead of directing students to go to a specific site, get them to go to the Google Classroom to link to sites. Create a task. Use the link icon to link to a website. Be sure to include http: // in the URL.

use the link icon in the assignment toolbar at the bottom.

11. Ask a question

Using digital tools should make learning BETTER not just paperless. Google Classroom allows you to interact better with students. It’s super easy to ask the WHOLE class a question rather than just hearing from the same 2 or 3 students. Click the Create button on the Tasks page and select “Questions”. You can ask a short answer (default) or multiple choice questions. Give all students enough time to think and react. Hear from everyone.

Create button and select question

12. Develop this Mantra

Everything starts in Google Classroom

Do not sometimes use Google Classroom, use it for EVERYTHING. Getting students to use the habit of first going to the Google Classroom for everything creates a very smooth workflow with your students. This will pay off especially when you have a temp. Directions are posted in the Google Classroom, students know exactly what to do.

One step up to Google Classroom

Want to know more about Google Classroom? Check out the book “50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom” by myself and Libbi Miller. The book is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. Mass discounts are available by sending an email to [email protected]

Are you ready to move on with Google Classroom? Check out our follow-up book “50 Things to Go For With Google Classroom: A Student-Centered Approach.”
50 things more alice keeler

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