Four Quick and Easy Tips for a Google Infused Classroom Start Up
Illustration proudly created by Lauren Poppitt, a former student, and Paper 53 expert.
We all know the start of another school year is a busy and chaotic time for all! Teachers go from zero to one hundred overnight and are instantly submerged under a long grocery list of items to complete to get their classroom up and running effectively. It is an action-packed time of learning with eager new students so it is time to start tackling that to do list to make this the best year possible for the diversity of our student learners. The following four Google Tips are my recommendations to you to get your Google Infused classroom quickly organized and kick-started for the upcoming school year.
- Contact List(s): Contact lists created in Google contacts are an effective way to communicate with your students throughout the school year. Simply create a new label and quickly add one student at a time to generate your contact groups for each class that you teach. Once these contract groups are created you can easily and simply share and distribute documents and collaborative items with a couple of clicks through the sharing features of Google. There are never any lost criteria sheets or assignment templates when documents are placed directly into student drives.
- Digital Portfolios: What better way to track student progress than by creating digital portfolios for every student that you teach? At the start of the year I create a folder for each class that I teach and within that folder, I create a subfolder for each individual student. As assignments are shared with me via docs, slides, and sites I place a copy of their work into their personal folder. I also take the time to insert comments and feedback into their projects and assignments so that they can continue to develop their skills over the course of their school year. These digital portfolios can easily be shared with parents so that parents are able to check in on the progress of their child at any time. The added bonus of digital portfolios is that you always have a plethora of student work examples for your future students. A win-win situation all around!
- Communicate: Before I dive into the wonderful world of Google I take the time to communicate with families what my intentions are with G-Suite each year and what my experience is teaching it. I review with parents what is included in Google Apps for education (ie. Docs, Slides, Sites, and Classroom) and explain the many benefits of integrating Google into the classroom (ie. Making learning visible, the endless collaboration aspects, and the importance of these universal digital tools). Parents always appreciate you taking the time to share this information and it is a helpful insight into supporting their child throughout their Google Infused learning journey.
- Student Drives: Keeping an organized drive is like keeping a tidy bedroom. It is important that students are shown how to properly set up their Google Drive and manage the workflow of documents and being collaborative. I encourage all my students to create a colour coded folder for every subject that I teach and I ask that students keep their projects and criteria sheets nicely organized in the appropriate folder. Spending time early in the year demonstrating how to Google Drive like a boss is an important part of having a Google Infused classroom. I frequently model my Google drive to students through my interactive screen and they quickly become proficient and responsible with the digital workflow.
Certified Google Trainer & SWE17 Innovator
Middle School Teacher & Technology Support
Saanich School District 63