Google Classroom was an exclusive feature for EDU license that has now open up within the Gsuite environment. It allows you to manage and push out content to your students, even grade and differentiate assignments all in one stop. No more I lost that assignment talk or my dog ate the homework excuses. But most of all it is the perfect place to get our younger students exposure to all the apps in the Google Suite. A playground where they can crawl, run or leap and land in a pool of soft foam. I am going to start off with the beginning how do we get into Google Classroom (Classroom) and begin using it.
Before I ever started with Classroom, I sat looking at the upper grades going oh that is such a nice feature for them to organize all their assignments they hand out, and then can grade. As a Kinder teacher I just thought it was a tool I would use some day. I would learn about it during the summer or a break, and then spend the rest of that break finding ways to modify it to fit my Kinders needs. This year I decided to really blend technology into my teaching practice, so I talked with several people and did some research and then decided to quit trying to plan and scheme and just jump! I knew I wanted my students to all login and work on a collaborative doc the first time they logged in. The question then became ok how are they going to get the doc. That is when Classroom came gleaming like a beam of light from heaven through the thick grey Seattle rain clouds.
In an effort to blend technology into my teaching practice I knew I needed to start early on in the year to really give them the most exposure to all there is for them to explore.Before we logged in I as a teacher setup our classroom. I went to Google classroom clicked the + sign and then clicked create class. I named the class checked under the students tab and got the class code. I then created a doc inserted a table that was 4x5, titled it My Name Is. Then I went into classroom and clicked on + sign in the bottom right of the screen and added an assignment. Named the assignment 1 clicked on the drive symbol and added the doc I created. The wonderful thing about this is once the doc was uploaded on the right side of the assignment box I was given options as to if I want students to have edit rights, a copy for each student, or view only permissions. I chose Edit rights, since I wanted all the students to be able to work in the same doc. I suggest that if you use each student can edit that you make a copy of the assignment in your own drive so if something happens you have a backup document. My favorite feature I use the most is the make a copy for each student and then you don’t have to worry about the master getting messed up. For the purpose of this assignment editing rights worked best.
On the 5th day of school I had my students login ( for more information about my login process see my earlier article https://goo.gl/ce1KL7) They then clicked on the classroom extension that was added by the district ( I highly recommend having this extension on your chromes) then they clicked join class and entered the class code that was written on the board. I will admit most of them had assistance from the helpers in my classroom to type the code. Once students were in classroom I had them come to the carpet so we could discuss what they were going to do next.
At the carpet I showed them how to open the doc and how they were going to use the table to type their name. “Each one of you is going to have a parking spot to type their name, see these boxes they are like parking spaces for your writing. When you go to the store or a restaurant can two cars fit into one parking spot?” Insert kiddos response of no or one time my mom/dad tried to fit in a parking spot with another car and we hit the car. Lol we had a quick tell a friend your parking lot story. I told them that they can see the other person’s car based on the different colored lines, they need to be careful of the space they are using to type. Like parking a car check to make sure no one else is in the spot/box you are using.Students were sent back to go ahead and do the assignment. I had the doc projected on the board so I could monitor traffic ( over writings, deletion etc). As I monitor the board I also walked around and make sure students were able to access and find a parking spot in the doc. The students got to work on the collaborative slide typing their names. There were a couple accidents, “hey you’re typing in my space” or a “ Where did my name go.” But for the most part very few accidents occurred.
After the initial parking lot experience. I make sure to use classroom for all technology activities. Students rarely use their bookmarks bar, but go to classroom to find what they need. Check out #Classroom2 to learn more about how I incorporate Classroom in my class.