Google Classroom streamlines the management of student work — announcing, assigning, collecting, grading, giving feedback and returning. It has certainly saved many teachers hours of work.
Without a solid workflow and some strategy, grading digital work can be cumbersome. Google Classroom does make working with student work more efficient — but only if you understand how Classroom works and how to use it to your advantage.
Sometimes, a few quick tips can make all the difference.
Below are LOTS of tips!
- In "20 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently," the second 10 tips are all submitted from readers of the Ditch That Textbook blog.
- There's a whole free ebook of Google Classroom tips! Download and read the 50+ Google Classroom tips and tricks ebook!
- Plus, check out the "30 Google Classroom tips every teacher must know" ... they're submitted from the #DitchBook Twitter community!
20 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently
1. Use move to top to bring important older material back to students’ attention.
This simple act bumps an assignment, announcement or question to the top of the class stream. Use this if students haven’t turned an assignment in OR if you want to remind them of an upcoming deadline.
2. Email everyone in a class in the “People” tab.
Once you click the “People” tab, click the checkbox above all of your students to highlight everyone. Click “Actions” and “Email.” This is great for calling special attention to something you want to communicate to students OR for longer-form communication.
3. Use the right kind of comment.
There are several kinds of comments you can leave students in Classroom. Knowing how each one works can make you more efficient and effective.
- Adding class comments: Do this by adding a comment in your class stream on the “outside” of an assignment or announcement. This will make the comment visible to the entire class (important if it’s an answer to a question anyone might have).
- Adding private comments: Do this by viewing student results and clicking on an individual student. On the right, where you can see student submissions, the comment bar at the bottom adds a comment that only the student can see (important if it has sensitive grade or feedback information).
- Adding comments in a doc/slide/sheet/drawing: Do this by clicking on the student’s file that he/she submitted to you. Click the black speech bubble icon after highlighting something you’d like to comment on. This adds a a very pointed comment on specific items in student work (important to be very exact in feedback).
4. Use announcements to share “right now” links.
Announcements put content in your classroom stream without creating an assignment students must turn in. Use them to give students important links, docs/files and videos they’ll need right now.
5. Use the keyboard instead of the mouse.
Keyboard commands beat moving and clicking the mouse every time. The best one in Google Classroom: When entering grades, type the grade for a particular student’s assignment, then click return to get to the next student. Cycle through students with keystrokes instead of mouse clicks to save lots of time.
Check out 22 killer keyboard shortcuts (and a challenge!) for busy educators for more.
6. Reuse posts.
Don’t recreate assignments, announcements or questions that are similar to those you’ve already created. Click on the Classwork tab then click the “create +” button in the top left and select “reuse post.” Choose an assignment, announcement or question you’ve created before. You can modify and update it before you repost it.
- When you reuse a post, you can even choose to create new copies of all the attachments you used before.
7. Grade everything in one place.
Click on the "Grades" tab. Here, you’ll find all of the assignments for all of your classes in one place. Work your way down the list and get on top of everything in one spot.
8. Get email from Classroom the way you want.
Do you spend too much time deleting email notifications from Classroom and wish you could turn them off? Click on the three lines in the upper left corner. Choose “Settings” at the bottom. There’s a checkbox where you can turn off email notifications. (Or if you have it turned off and wish you’d get emails, that’s where you turn them on!)
9. Get ideas from others.
Educators that are already using Google Classroom hang out in lots of online communities where you can read their posts and ask questions. Here are some suggestions:
- Twitter hashtag: #GoogleClassroom (for Google Classroom-specific posts)
- Twitter hashtag: #GoogleEDU (for general Google updates)
- Check out our Google Classroom Pinterest Board for TONS of awesome tips, tricks and ideas
Lean on the knowledge of others. If you are willing to get help and advice from other teachers, you will do just fine with this system. -- Kina Gill
10. Get the features you really want in Google Classroom.
Do you have a suggestion for a new Google Classroom feature? Is there something you can do but wish you could do it easier? This type of feedback is what the Google Classroom team craves from teachers. Click the “?” button in the bottom left of the screen and choose “Report issue or request feature.” According to the Google Classroom team member that talked to my Google Teacher Academy group in December 2014, someone from their team reads every single feedback item sent that way. It’s how they’ve made many of the important feature changes to Google Classroom. And the more popular a feature request, the more likely it’ll be implemented. So send feedback and send it often!
11. Send announcements to small groups.
Remember that announcements can go to a small group of students. I worked with a teacher this week who was needing to remind the students about resource (ESS) time. Great way to send messages or make a personal connection with students! -- Emily Maxwell
12. Schedule assignments ahead of time.
Take advantage of the scheduling option. Once I have my lesson plans done for the next week, I set up everything on Classroom for the next week. Scheduling everything to appear later on the correct day means I don't forget to post something in the morning when I get to school. -- Gwen Hammerschmidt
13. Ask a question to amplify student voice.
Utilize the create a question function to encourage and facilitate class disc. Students not only get a platform to have their voices heard, but they also learn to virtually listen and engage with their peers by responding directly to them. -- Cornelia Moore
14. Work from a master class.
Create a master class for each subject and then use the Reuse Post button to add it to multiple classes. It really speeds up the process, especially if you have multiple classes of the same subject. -- Angela Frye
15. Turn off stream notifications.
Click the gear icon in the top right of your screen and scroll down to the Stream. SHUT OFF notifications in the Stream. This will keep your announcements and student collaborations more organized and easier to find! -- Laurie Guyon
Teachers/students new to Google Classroom especially get confused by the Stream - many see assignments, etc there, and never get to the Classwork Tab where there might be beautiful and purposeful organization, so BEST TIP is to go to settings and "Hide Notifications" for the Stream.
The Stream then can be used as a "hallway or cafeteria" or other SOCIAL gathering space. Happy Birthday! Joke of the Day. Would you rather. At the very least, train students to stop here for an overview or announcements for the day. -- Cammie Kannekens
16. Use "assign to multiple classes."
When setting up a new assignment for multiple classes or sections, do not forget about the "assign to multiple classes" feature. Under "FOR" when you set up the new assignment there's a drop down. HINT: once you click "Assign" each assignment must be edited individually so make sure you have everything you want to be done "en masse" otherwise you're going to be going through multiple assignments correcting things (ie. I tend to forget to assign a topic to new assignments so I find myself mass creating an assignment and then wasting time going back and adding it to a topic later...) -- Thomas Fulton
17. Use required questions in Google Forms quizzes.
When making a quiz, always require the questions to be done so that if they skip a question, they cannot submit the answers until all "required" questions are answered. -- Denise Green
18. Take screenshots as you go and share.
Taking screenshots as you are teaching and then paste them into student work for students who may have been absent or students with accommodations. That way you do not have to go back. This is a good way to help individual students. Also, use screenshots of virtual reading materials so they can be pasted into assignments the students need to refer back to for example a writing assignment that they need to reference a certain part of a text. -- Elizabeth Drummond
19. Make rubrics in sections to grade faster.
When you create rubrics for longer assignments like reports or projects, make the rubric in such a way that you can score one part at a time: for example, the introductory paragraph, the first body paragraph, etc. If you have staggered due dates for each "part" of the assignment or project, you can quickly grade one part at a time as they are due instead of having to grade many whole LOOOONGGG assignments all at once on the final due date. -- Sarah Goldstein
20. Use the "divide and conquer" method with a colleague.
Save time with the divide and conquer method! Each teammate creates assignments in Google Classroom for a content area then you can "reuse post" to drop that pre-created post into your classroom for your students. This is an amazing timesaver! -- Heather Solis
50+ Google Classroom tips and tricks FREE ebook!
Google classroom is great for speed, simplicity, and efficiency but not all functions are easy to get at first and even if you’re a pro there are always new updates and features we need to dive into. So we have compiled our best Google Classroom resources into one ultimate resource to get you geared up and ready for a great year.
But that’s not all! We know that sometimes you want to share great resources with your colleagues and you need an easy way to do that. So we have compiled 50 of these Google Classroom resources, including the quick-start guide, into a FREE ebook that you can email or even print and share if you want to!
30 Google Classroom tips every teacher must know
Google Classroom is constantly getting updated with new features. By utilizing these features we can make Google Classroom work even better. We asked the #Ditchbook community to share their top tips, tricks, and strategies every teacher must know when using Google Classroom. Educators shared ideas for using topics, announcements, comments, feedback, emojis, and more!
Scroll down or click here for 30 tips to help you make the most out of Google Classroom!
Looking for more? Here are some of our most popular Google Classroom posts
What do you do to use Google Classroom more effectively and efficiently? We’d love to hear your ideas!
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