Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #2: Google Classroom

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

This past school year many schools and teachers were introduced to Google Apps for Education, especially Google Classroom. Google Classroom is a great platform for working digitally with your students. Teachers can distribute and collect assignments, post announcements and resources, and hold discussions with students. If you haven't yet heard of Google Classroom, you can read about it here.

This week's challenge is to create your Google Classroom for the 2016-2017 school year. To get started you will need to log in to your CCSD Google account. If you've attended Google Classroom training this year, then jump right in and create your class for next year with the tasks below.

If you never attended any Classroom training, or would like to learn more about what can be done with Classroom, you can try out this self-paced activity. Make a copy of the Google Classsroom Challenge. Keep that open in one tab and open a second tab and sign in to Follow the tasks in the challenge, marking them off in the first tab while you complete them in the second tab.

Create a Class

Create a class for next year. If you are a secondary teacher then create a class for each period. You can't sort class names, so I would create them in reverse order, creating your last period first. That way your first period will appear in the list first when you look at all the classes respectively.

The easiest way to add students is to give them the class code, which appears to the right on the screen. You'll want to give this

Create an Announcement

After creating your class you are taken directly to the class stream. This is where all the action happens - where announcements and assignments appear for students. It looks and behave similarly to Facebook.

For your first announcement invite students to introduce themselves or share something interesting they did over the summer. Students can comment to any announcement and it will appear right below it. You know they are going to play with something new, so here's their chance to say "hiiiiiiiii!"

Create an Assignment

With assignments, best practices are to begin each assignment title with 001, 002, 003, etc. This makes it easy to find assignments in the stream and keeps assignments organized in Google Drive. For this assignment create a simple assignment for students to turn in. You could have them type up a couple of paragraphs in a Google Doc about their goals for the year, create a survey using Google Forms to collect beginning of the year information from them, or share a Google Slide document with them and have each student assigned to a slide where they introduce themselves and decorate it any way they want.

That's it! Now your classroom is ready for students. On one of the first days of school, have your students sign in to their Google account and join your class. As soon as they do they have a few things they can do to become familiar with it. Teach your students that everything starts with Google Classroom. That's where they should go to get information and assignments, and turn in work. Getting them in that habit will make things go smoothly for the year, especially on those days when you have a substitute.

To get credit for this challenge, just let me know in the comments below that you've created your class for next year.


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  2. Good question! Teachers in CCSD have to be part of a Google group in order to have the "rights" to create classes in Google Classroom. Go to!forum/classroom_teachers and click the Apply for membership link. It takes a day for approval, but then you'll be able to create as many classes as you need.

  3. Replies
    1. Yay! I got mine done today too. I decided I wanted a fun way for the students to introduce themselves to the rest of the class so I'm trying this tip from Alice Keeler (a Google guru) I created an assignment in my Google Classroom and attached the Slides presentation I created following her tip. Hopefully the students will be able to do it (especially since I don't know if I'll be able to use iPads or computers to introduce them to Google Classroom.