How I Use It
I use Google Classroom as an organizational tool in my teaching. I use it as a classroom management tool for organizing my small reading groups. All of the google products pair perfectly with Google Classsroom. I post a google doc with my class list in a table to let the students know when I'll be meeting with them for guided reading groups and give students the edit rights to the doc. They are able to click on the doc straight from Google Classroom without me having to share it with each one individually. I can change the sharing permissions to students can edit with one click before posting it. Then students can decide how they will spend their time while they are waiting for their guided reading group by typing their goals in the shared doc all at the same time in a colloration chart. I can keep the doc open and posted on my SMART tv while I'm meeting with small groups so that everyone is accountable for achieving the goals that they set. Students can choose to work on writing, work on words, read to someone, read to self or listen to reading then type their specific goals for what they hope to achieve during that time all in one place. I also love the "make a copy for each student" feature in the assignment posts in Google Classroom. I can make a quick template from Google Slides, Google Docs, or Google Drawing and then post it to Google Classroom, select "make a copy for each student" then each student has a working copy of whatever it is that they can make their own, take notes, etc. and then students don't have to share it with me. I also love being able to post direct links to great videos, articles, and other resources for our lessons. I keep our class jobs list posted in the about section so that students know where to find their weekly job at any point. I also use the about section as a place to keep go-to information like website login info for our math fact practice, reading apps and more. It is an amazing tool for sharing information with students and with collecting work from students. I don't like it as a tool for sharing information or communicating with parents. I only use it with students. I don't like that Google Drawings aren't as easy to use from Google Classroom and occasionally there is also a glitch with Google Maps not working but that may be for another reason.
I absolutely love Google Classroom as a classroom management tool. It makes students turning in digital content so smooth, easy to find, organized and easy to track. As a teaching tool, I can share specific resources with all students, some students, or one student so differentiating is a breeze. It helps me to keep all of the assignments in one nice and neat pre-made folder for each class that I teach or take. It helps serve teaching better because I don't have to write a website or link on the chalkboard and have my first graders attempt to type it in perfectly to share a quick website or video. For sharing google docs, slides or other products, I don't have to type in the name of every single student in my classroom to share it with them, I can change the sharing permission easily for all students who have joined the Google Classroom. The only thing that they might could possibly improve upon is the organization of the posts within the stream. Sometimes it is hard for students to find posts because they look really similar and they have to scroll pretty far, there's not really a search feature although I do like the new topics option.