10 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Friday, November 18, 2016

10 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently

10 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently
Google Classroom Tips

Google Classroom can be even more powerful with a few tips and strategies to make it efficient and effective.

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.

10 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently

Google classroom tip move to top

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.

Google classroom tip email everyone

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.

Google classroom tip use the right kind of comment icon

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).
Google classroom tips. Use the right kind of comment in Google Classroom
Google classroom tip use the right announcement icon

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. 

Google classroom tip keyboard icon

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.

Google classroom tip reuse icon

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.
Google classroom tip grade icon

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.

Google classroom tip email icon

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!)

Google classroom tip get get ideas from others icon

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:

Google classroom tip get feedback icon

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!

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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  • SEO says:

    So helpful, thank you! Learned many small things I could be doing

  • Kathy Desrosiers says:

    When using google classroom, it would be helpful if the actual assignment was larger. When the list of students in on the left and you see one assignment on the right, it appears as a small box. I can usually tell if the students highlighted so with a quick look I can say you didn’t highlight what you used to make the inference. There is so much left open screen on the right that is not being used, so why is the assignment so small.

  • 444seo.com says:

    Hi More than 50% of traffic to Wiley Online Library comes directly from Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines

  • Stephanie Fraley says:

    Thanks for these great hacks which really simplify work with Google Classroom! I started using this LMC only recently and it’s pretty hard for me to get inside of it so far! Thank God I came across this article 😉 By the way, recently found out that Google Classroom integrated with plagiarism checker http://www.unicheck.com. This makes it so easy to check the work on plagiarism! I advise everyone to try. It’s so cool that I live in such a high-tech time and it simplifies my teaching work so much!

  • One more grading hack for Google Classroom to save time and provide better writing feedback, including speech-to-text, audio, and video: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/e-comments/dccccbckfnndplihkaeiekggmeicbhgj/ Includes hundreds of customizable canned comments which identify, explain, and show students how to revise writing issues. So much faster and easier to use than the Google Classroom comment bank!

  • Darla says:

    Is there a way to copy and entire topic of assignments? Not just one repost at a time. If wjnot, why not?? Or why can’t we schedule a post for more than one class at a time??

  • catalina says:

    When I try to screen share it only shares audio and not video.

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