Tips for Using Google Classroom

classroom image for blog about Google Classroom

Are you new to distance learning? Does it feel like these changes are throwing you for a loop? Could you be looking for tips for using Google Classroom?

I’m going to introduce Google Classroom to you throughout this blog post. I am hoping to give you a deeper understanding of how to use Google Classroom to share PDFs with your students and even share digital resources made specifically for Google Slides and Forms!

Scroll through this blog post to find what you need help with! I try to cover a wide variety of stuff from beginning/setting up to sharing assignments to your students. Here’s what you’ll find below.

  • Setting Up/Creating a Classroom
  • Differences in Google Platforms
  • How to Assign Work to Students
  • Sharing a Digital Resource with your Students
  • Sharing a Paper-Copy PDF with your Students
  • Other Tips for Using Google Classroom

Setting Up & Creating a Google Classroom

creating a class in google classroom

For those of you who don’t already have a Google Classroom set up, you will be able to do so easily! First, you will want to make sure you have an account with Google. Many schools and districts will already have a G Suite up and running. Otherwise, you may use any google account, (although I would not recommend using a personal account for school purposes.)

SETUP:
-Go to www.google.com/classroom or select “Classroom” from your G Suite.

Click the (+) button located next to your account picture.

-Select “Create a class.”

-If you already have a G Suite, you will select “I am a teacher.”

-Fill out the information form for your class.

-Select “Create.”

VOILA! You have an up and running digital classroom!

classroom stream image in google classroom

After your classroom is set up, you will see your class “stream.” This is where you can communicate with your students! Along the top toolbar, you can see the Stream, Classwork, People, and Grades. I will talk about the other tabs later in this post.

HOW STUDENTS JOIN:

-They will go to www.google.com/classroom or select “Classroom” in their G Suite.

-Click the (+) button next to their account picture.

-Select “Join a class.”

-Enter the class code. (This is located on your stream, under the Class Title).

THEY’RE IN!

Differences in Platforms

preview at google forms product
preview at google slides product

ASSIGNMENT FORMATS

The most popular assignment formats are slides and forms. Should you use Google Forms or Google Slides? The answer is… a healthy mix of both!

Google Slides are very similar to PowerPoint Presentations. They will have “slides” with stories, activities, prompts, etc. Students can type their responses, add images/videos, shapes, highlights and so much more. For example, the Google Slides file shown above is one of my Digital Graphic Organizers. Students can read any book and complete a graphic organizer to assist and show their understanding.

Google Forms are more useful for collecting data, like with exit slips or assessments. The students will enter their responses (multiple choice, short answer, paragraph, drop down menus, checklist, etc) and the information will be saved to a spreadsheet for the teacher. In the example shown, this is a digital ELA passage and comprehension questions. Students will read the passage and enter their answers into the form.

(Shown in the pictures above are my Digital Graphic Organizers in Slides (left) and Nonfiction Reading Passages in Forms (right)).

How to Assign Work to Students

making assignments in google classroom

Assigning work to your students can be done from the “Classwork” tab in your classroom. Here, you can see that you can put files into a “Class Drive Folder,” connect your Google Calendar, organize the assignments, post questions, and more.

CREATE AN ASSIGNMENT

-Click the (+Create) button.

-Select the type of assignment you want to create: Assignment, Quiz Assignment, Question, Material.

how to upload using google drive
how to upload using documents on your computer

-If you select Assignment, you can upload a file from your Google Drive or your computer. OR you can create a file.

-On the sidebar, you will need to choose who you assign it to (whole class or specific students), when it is due, what topic to store it under, how many points it is worth and if students can reply/edit their entries.

making a copy of a resource in google classroom

-Once the file is uploaded, BE SURE TO SELECT “Make a copy for each student.” Otherwise, students will all be working in the same file.

-I will say this one more time, for good measure. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO MAKE A COPY FOR EACH STUDENT.

Sharing Pages from a Digital Resource with Your Kids

how to select 3-4 slides to share with students
sharing selected google slides in google classroom

If you’d like to share a portion of a file that you have in your drive, you can do this by selecting the slides you want. Then, use the drop down menu under “File,” to select “Make a copy” and “Selected Slides.” This will save the portion as a separate file in your drive! Then, you can use the new file as an assignment! This will help limit students working ahead or getting confused on which pages they’re expected to complete in a set.

Sharing a Paper-Copy PDF With Your Kids

Sometimes, there are activities that we only have the paper or PDF version of. If you want to share an assignment like this, you have two options… use Kami or take a screenshot of the PDF pages you need and upload into Slides.

Kami is an application that allows you (or your students) to annotate documents that aren’t interactive! This is great for use with PDFs and scanned pages that you don’t have a digital version of.

Screenshots will allow you to take a picture of a digital file and insert it as an image into a digital document. This will vary based on your computer brand (simply search your “Help” field for “Screenshot” and it will guide you through it). Once you have taken the screenshot, it will save as an image in your documents. You can, then, insert the image into a Google Slides or Google Doc for your students to have access to!

If you have a PDF that you only want to use a portion of, you can use the “print to PDF” feature to break apart a full document. Check out this how-to video from Karen Jones!

Other Tips for Using Google Classroom

When you are adding an assignment in your Google Classroom, you can select “Assignment” like I discussed earlier in this post. Or, you can select “Quiz Assignment.” When you select “Quiz Assignment,” it will automatically direct you to a new blank quiz! Here, you can enter questions and prompts for your students!

For more tips for using Google Classroom, check out this video and more from Google!

Digital Resources Available to You

Resources that have digital components added in…

I have a collection of Back to School Digital items. These include a digital and a paper option.

Here are a few reading activities!

Brand new resources created…

These resources are the same passages and graphic organizers that I created in my traditional RL and RI units. These have been totally reformatted and recreated into Google Slides. They’re being sold separately since they bundled by domain and not created individually!

Here are more Google Classroom Tutorials on YouTube if you’d like to learn even more or see all of this information in action.

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