Google Classroom ‘Tips and Tricks’

Google Classroom is an online learning environment that is used by over 150 million students and teachers worldwide. Its usage doubled between 2019 and 2021 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. I have been using Google Classroom in a primary school setting since 2017. In the blog post, we will look at some brief ‘tips and tricks’ that may help you organise and get the most from your online classroom.

Creating ‘Topics

Creating topics is a useful way to organise your online classroom, for both you and your students. ‘Topics’ can categorise the work completed/due into different categories, which will generally be sorted by subject. It also makes it easier for students to find work completed in the past, that they may wish to refer back on. To create or add work to a selected topic, you simply press the drop down menu on the bottom right when creating a new assignment (image below).

Student Response Templates

Creating a document in which students will respond to a given assignment is a great way in streamlining the way in which students respond. This can make grading work and providing feedback much easier, as you have identified set criteria for the children to work on. To do this, you simply ‘create’ your chosen Google tool (Docs, Slides, etc.), create any tables or templates within the document and ‘make a copy for each student’ before assigning it.

Creating Rubrics

Rubrics are a really useful tool for speeding up the grading process. They also allow the learners to see the criteria upon which the activity will be graded and can be used as a tool for both peer and self-assessment, before being graded by the teacher. Rubrics can be created within the assignment section (before release). It is possible to share assignments with other teachers or reuse them, by exporting to a Google Sheet. The image below shows a sample rubric for a unit of work on procedural writing.

Posting on the Stream

While the class stream offers a useful medium for children to post questions and help each other, it can also be a different tool for teachers to manage. Given that children may be accessing their accounts at home, it can often be safer to limit who can post on the class stream (particularly in a primary school setting). You can change the permission settings for the class stream within your class settings (image to the left).

Google Classroom is a wonderful digital tool, that integrates so many different features. The four ‘tips and tricks’ listed above have been derived from trial and error in my own practice. There are many more features and hacks that can be used to reduce the input required by the teacher and increase the output in terms of pupil’s learning experiences.

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