Updated August 2017
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Google Classroom

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With everything online, you can stop losing papers and your mind

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K-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Any assignment that a student gets or needs to turn in can be sent through this resource.

Cons: Set up can be cumbersome, but with casual use any teachers can benefit from the initial effort.

Bottom Line: Since you’re already using online resources with your class, wouldn’t it make sense to have one place to store it all?

Google Classroom can be as simple as a place for class announcements, or as elaborate as the site to house student portfolios. It works like a class website moderated by the teacher, but interactive with the students. Any documents can be stored on here along with links to other resources. Teachers can send out documents from the site and choose whether the students can only view a file, or if everyone gets a copy. The students can turn it back in for grading, or the teacher can leave it open to conferences with the student. You may never touch another piece of paper again. Be careful about the sharing settings when you send out documents to students though, you don’t want students deleting something that the whole class was supposed to see. I want my students to see each other’s work, so I set up a spreadsheet in classroom with each students name on a row. They can paste the link to their work in it and then everyone can click each others link to see the work from the whole class. It motivates students to know I’m not their only audience.

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Think of Google Classroom as a website you created just for your students and no one else: Put files, videos, links -- whatever you want on it. The only people who see it are the people you invite: your students. The site has a Facebook-like feed where you can post assignments, announcements, or class discussion type questions. Students log into their account to access the classroom. The more teachers that use it in your school, the more classes the students could have on their dashboard. Parents can be invited into the classroom, without the privileges afforded to students (handing in work.) Post assignments everyday or use it to have a classroom discussion, it’s up to you how deep you are willing to go. With everything time stamped, you can see when you posted and assignment and how long it took your students to sent it back. Don’t put due dates unless you mean it, because they start getting emails about late assignments, and so do their parents. Late assignments can be accepted or rejected. You will wonder where has this been all your life.

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If being organized and constantly up to date is good for learning, then Google Classroom fits the bill. Like all things Google, it’s pretty awesome. Having all classroom resources available wherever a student logs in makes life a lot easier for everyone involved. Need a place for your classroom syllabus? Your grades? A link to parent communication? A link to other teachers? Look no further. Post from your phone if you want. A great feature is posting an assignment to multiple classes at the same time, another few seconds of my life back. My favorite feature is scheduling posts. My students try to get a jump on assignments before we have discussed them, so instead I schedule the post to go live only a few minutes before class. I can schedule every post for each class throughout the day in the morning and I don’t have to think about it again. Getting up and running can take a little time and effort. Everyone needs an email, hopefully you have one setup for each student from a school account. They need to be invited by email, or send out the link. It’s hard for you to get used to how Classroom works until students are on it too, so you’ll be learning along with them. They’ll start having classroom discussions that mostly involve a lot of “LOL” if you’re not careful. Keep a tight leash on that.

Google is trying to answer the differentiation question, but they haven’t nailed it yet. When you send something out, it goes to everybody. It would be nice if there was a way to set up groups to differentiate the work. A language tool that translates the site would also make life a lot easier. The grading system is still a little rough; there are no options other than numbers so if your student is absent or excused, you need to deal with it another way. It’s a great tool, and I’m sure my issues and any others I’m not even aware of will be addressed soon. Do yourself a favor and bite the bullet on this one, it’s worth it.

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Teacher Reviews

5
(See all 35 reviews) (35 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Marjorie P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
I.S. 339
Bronx, NY
5
Mission Control for the 21st Century Classroom

As a convert from another LMS, I must say that Google Classroom is hands down the best LMS out there for GAFE schools. The ease of integration cannot be beat with Google. What I like most about Google Classroom is its versatility; it can be anything you want and need it to be. So of my students were skeptical about using this platform at the beginning of the year, but most of them have really taken to using it. It has opened a new world to them in terms of collaboration with their classmates and with me as a teacher. They are eager to share Google Docs with me and get instant feedback on their writing, and group projects have become much easier to handle because they can collaborate in real time anywhere. I love the fact that the Google Classroom app is available for all devices, so although we use it on our Chromebooks, most of my students have the app on their phone and tablet, as do I. For me, the greatest part about using Google Classroom has been the way my students have become more accountable and self-directed. They know that their work is all in once place and they can go back to it at any time. We have an archive of our learning for the year and I am extremely satisfied at having successfully pushed many of my students to feel much more comfortable using technology academically and helping them start to build the skills they need in order to be marketable in our information and tech-heavy job market of today and the future.

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