Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beyond the Basics of Google Classroom - My Top 10 Teacher Tips and Notes

10.  When you create your classes, create them in reverse order, so they will appear on your "Home" page in order.  i.e.  create "P8 ELA", then "P7 ELA", etc.   You cannot change the order once they are created.

  9.  Also when creating your classes, make sure to fully identify your class where it says class name (i.e. P7 ELA) and don't use the "section" line as an identifier.  Why?  Because if you use "ELA" as the name of the class and "P7" as the section, when you create an assignment and want to assign it to multiple classes you will just see "ELA", "ELA", "ELA", and won't be able to tell which class is which.  
Note:  Looks like Google has been paying attention to us and has fixed this problem.  It appears that the "Section" is now a part of the class name, so this tip is no longer needed.  Yea!!

  8.  You can create an assignment in one class and add that assignment to any of your other classes by using the dropdown menu at the bottom of the add assignment window.

  7.  Remember that the assignment name will be the name of the folder that contains the assignment so try to keep it short and descriptive.

  6.  Remember that the template files (the ones you set to "make a copy for each student") will be named with the student name after the filename.  With that in mind, keeping the filename short is helpful so you can easily see who's assignment it is.  (I tended to use the word "template" in my template filenames but will be removing that now.)

  5.  When a student starts an assignment you will have comment rights.  When they turn it in, you become the owner and the student rights are set to "can view".  When you return the assignment it reverts to the student as owner and you with comment rights.

  4.  When a student turns an assignment in late, it is marked "Late" in the teacher's assignment list after the teacher returns the assignment.  The student's stream will show "Late" until it is turned in and then it will show "Done".

  3.  Students have an "Assignments" page that includes all assignments from all classes within a "To Do" tab and a "Done" tab.  In the "To Do" tab assignments are marked "Late" appropriately.

  2.  If you create an assignment using a template (you choose "make a copy for each student") and a student (or a few students) start the assignment and then you realize that you'd like to edit the template, you can do that.  Just open the file in the "Templates - DO NOT EDIT" folder and make the change.  The rest of the students will now get the updated template when they start the assignment.  (Keep in mind that it will not update the assignment for those students who already started it.)

  1.  If you include a self-totalling rubric to utilize to grade an assignment, you'll want it to be a separate file and will need to have the student open the assignment and then "turn it in".  You will not want to "return" the assignment because you don't want them to regain editing rights.

Bonus Tip 1:  Use the "About" page for information that you want to make available to your class over a longer period of time.  This will make it more easily accessible.
Bonus Tip 2:  Use "announcements" rather than "assignments" to give students access to a Google Form that you have created.
Bonus Tip 3: By far the easiest way to create contact groups is using the student "invite" section. You don't even need to actually invite to save groups this way. Just type the names of the group members in the search box and select each as they appear. Then, at the bottom of the screen, click "Save as group", name the group and save it. That group will now be part of your "Contacts".

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