A Quick Look at Google Classroom for Elementary Teachers
What is Google Classroom?
Why Google Classroom?
Teachers are perpetually busy. It is hard to fit everything in and cover all the areas we need to cover. Google Classroom can help with this. It is an easy and streamlined way to design, develop, assign, communicate, and assess assignments and projects.
It helps teachers be effective and use their time efficiently by reducing the amount of work you take home. It allows teachers to readily communicate to students while they are working. It can be hard to keep up with how students are doing, while they are working. Google Classroom helps me in this area. It allows me to answer questions and make comments on work during the process, rather than afterwards.
...and best of all...students LOVE it!!
Watch the short video below to get a quick introduction to Google Classroom.
What are the benefits of using Google Classroom?
There are many benefits of using Google Classroom. Three main benefits of Google Classroom are:
- Enhance organization and save time
- Collaborate with my team
- Communicate with my students
There are many more found on the Google Classroom Help page, here are a few:
- "Easy setup—Teachers set up a class, invite students and co-teachers, and then share information—assignments, announcements, and questions—in the class stream.
- Less time and paper—The simple, paperless assignment workflow allows teachers to manage student work quickly, all in one place.
- Better organization—Students can see assignments on the Work page, in the class stream, or on the class calendar. All class materials are automatically filed into Google Drive folders.
- Enhanced communication—Teachers can create assignments, send announcements, and start class discussions instantly. Students can share resources with each other and interact in the class stream or by email.
- Works with apps you use—Classroom works with Google Docs, Calendar, Gmail, Drive, and Forms.
- Affordable and secure—Like all other Google Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free."
Source: About Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/answer/6020279?hl=en
How will using Google Classroom keep me organized and save me time?
- Assignments - With one click, you can share a digital worksheet with all of your students.
- Enrichment - You can add valuable lesson supplements in the matter of seconds...YouTube videos, Website links, PDFs, Google Forms, or a variety of other things.
- Prepare in Advance - Draft assignments days before you plan to use them and set the time and date for when you want them assigned.
- Assessments - Using questions, discussions, and forms, you can quickly do a pre-assessment or exit slip.
- Organization - Google Classroom keeps all your students' work organized for you to easily access and grade. No more counting papers and organizing them alphabetically to see who is done!
- Grading - You can grade and make comments on each assignment right on Google Classroom...and the assignment is made so the student can see your comments and their score! This eliminates the need to collect papers, take them home to grade, bring them back, pass them out, and answer any questions students may have!
How will Google Classroom help me collaborate with my team?
How will Google Classroom help me communicate with my students?
Teacher to Student Communication
- When students are working on assignments, you can view their work while they are working to check their progress. There are always those students who would rather goof off than do their work. But with Google Classroom, you can check in on those students from your computer or iPad, see their work, and send them a private comment to get back to work or to make sure they are following directions. Students are always surprised when a comment pops up from their teacher telling them to get back to work. It keeps them accountable and allows you to quickly redirect in a non-confrontational way.
- Google Classroom allows the teacher to make comments about specific things on a student's assignment that only they can see. You can ask a clarifying question, make an encouraging comment, or give explanation by directly commenting on a students' work.
Student to Teacher Communication
- Students can ask questions privately about their work. This is helpful because it can take out some of the embarrassment students may have when asking questions if they do not understand. They can make comments on the assignment and get feedback from their teacher.
Student to Student Communication
- Students can have a group discussion. A student may ask a question such as, "Where do I find the link for the Lifecycle of a Frog assignment?" And another student can comment back with the location. This removes a degree of responsibility from the teacher and allows the students to team up and help each other. Helpless hand raising students, those who always have a question no matter what the situation is, are given an opportunity to find out information for themselves and learn to be more independent.
What do students say about Google Classroom?
"You get to do your work on computers which is really fun."
"I love using google classroom because we get to use the computer and not do it on paper...the things on google classroom are fun because we get to research stuff. I also love it because we get to choose what we wanted [for different projects]! THANK YOU!"
"I like Google Classroom because it makes work easier than writing it down with a pencil and paper. It makes school more fun because it doesn't feel like work."
"I like Google Classroom because there are directions that tell you exactly what to do and it is set up good. You can publicly or privately type to the class about what you feel about the assignment or ask questions about the assignment to Ms.Longtine."
How do I set up my Google Classroom?
- To set up your Google Classroom, go to https://classroom.google.com. You will sign in using your Google credentials that you use to sign-in to your Google Drive.
- Now it's time to set up your first class within Google Classroom. Watch this video to learn how to set up a class.
**Because we use ChromeBooks, they do not have to "log-in" to Google Classroom because logging into the ChromeBook logs them into Google.**
I'm all set up...now what?? How can I *actually* use Google Classroom?
Here are some of the ways I have used Google Classroom.
- Watch videos about math procedures and answer questions on a Google Doc template about what they watched.
- Math practice on Google Docs
- Post directions and expectations for book reports. Students complete assignment on Google Slides and upload book reports all in one place.
- Provide resources (videos, websites) for students to use as research. Create a Google Doc template for them to answer questions and record their findings.
- Post websites with games to enrich the material taught in class.
- Arrange a flipped classroom. Post videos and articles for students to watch and read before having class discussions and activities. *I've found this to be a very helpful approach*
- Put vocabulary words for the unit on Google Classroom and allow students to record in their notebook during free time.
- Collaborative assignments - students pair up and work together on a Google Doc to answer questions, do research, and prepare information to teach and discuss with their classmates.
- Post an exemplary example of a writing piece on Google Classroom. Students use that as an example and then write their own piece and submit on Google Classroom.
- Surveys - I have created Google Form Surveys to poll my class when options are available for activities.
- Group Participation - Using Google Forms, students rated their partners for group activities. This created accountability for students to make sure they were active participants in their group.
- Enrichment - For my higher level students, I put together additional activities they could do on Google Classroom when they completed their classwork. They loved this because it was something special and they got to use technology.