Have you ever had parents or students complain that they have a hard time finding everything that they need to complete assignments? Use some of these tips to streamline your grade level Google Classrooms to minimize those questions.
- Naming Classes
- Manage the Stream
- Posting Assignments
- Naming Assignments
- Due Dates
- Missing Assignments
- Keep It Clean
- Sharing Assignments
We asked our parents and students to complete a survey in the spring. We wanted to know what was going well and what they felt has been difficult. Here were a few of their thoughts:
- Can you assign due dates to the work you would like us to have ready? Assigning a due date makes the assignment show up on the opening All Classes section.”
- “When exactly do you want assignments due. When it just says a date, do you want it done before class starts or by midnight?”
- “The Stream is confusing with so many things posted.”
- “Trying to figure out how each teacher organizes their classroom is confusing. It’s hard to remember that which teacher wants “this” and which teacher wants “that.” It would be nice if there could be more consistency among the teachers I have. “
It’s important that teachers are given the autonomy to design and organize their Google Classrooms as they see fit.
However, it can be difficult for students (and parents) to navigate six or more different teachers’ organizational styles.
Here are eight super easy ways to streamline your grade level Google Classrooms to make the experience for your students a little easier.
1. Naming Your Classes
It’s really beneficial when there is uniformity in how you name your classes across the grade level. This is especially helpful to other adults that you have added as a teacher to your Google Classroom(s). Some of those teachers might be paraprofessionals, special education teachers, or co-teachers.
In my school, we have block letters for our daily classes. So, one of our streamlined approaches to google classroom organization is to label our classes with that block letter first.
For example, if you teach 7th grade science during B-Block, you would label your class “B – 7th Science”
Label your classes with the block letter first: “B – 7th Science”
We also utilized the “Section” field by placing the teacher’s name here. When you are a teacher in a class you only see the title and the “section” on the main page with “All Classes.”
Let’s consider this scenario: One of your co-teachers is a teacher in your class on Mondays & Thursdays during B-Block. But they are also a co-teacher in Mrs. Kennedy’s class on Tuesdays & Wednesdays during B-Block. This may happen several other times throughout the day.
Check out Angela’s post about Co-Teaching Success BetweenSchool Librarians & Teachers!
It’s a perfect example of when to use this tip.
They have also probably been added to all of these Google Classrooms. As you can probably imagine, this can get confusing for them to know which one they might be looking for.
By utilizing the “section” field they can see the teacher name at-a-glance and find what they need quickly. For the student, it shows the teacher name twice.
2. Manage the Stream
The Stream section in each of your Google Classrooms can easily get cluttered if you aren’t careful.
If your assignments currently show up on the Stream of your classroom, a good recommendation is to change the settings to “Hide assignment notifications.” Not sure how to do this? Check out the VIDEO below.
This will help you streamline your grade level Google Classroom. It’s good practice to only use the Stream for announcements.
Consider sending positivity in your Google Classroom stream. Fleur talks about how important that is for building community & classroom management in her post 3 Essential Components to Science Classroom Management. Even though I’m not a science teacher, I took a lot away from her post! 😁
3. Posting Assignments
If you have been using the Stream to post assignments, it’s a better idea to post them in the Classwork section. There are a few reasons for this:
- When you attach documents on the Stream (other than a pdf) it gives editing access to all students. This isn’t usually a good idea, unless you are posting something you want everyone to work on together.
- Posting assignments in Classwork allows you to give specific access to students by assignments and documents. It’s very easy to train your students to go to the Classwork tab for all of their assignments. It will be even easier if your entire grade level is practicing the same thing.
4. Naming Assignments
The tip below may seem logical to you. But, there might be someone on your team that isn’t doing this with their assignments.
Be consistent when naming your assignments!
Being consistent with how you name your assignments is helpful to your students when you are organizing your Google Classroom.
More importantly, be consistent about how you name them “in all the places.”
For example, name the file the same things as the assignment name in Google Classroom. ALSO, give it the same name in your grading management system.
5. Due Dates
Have a conversation with your team and decide what “DUE” means to your grade level.
This is overlooked by many teachers because they either
a.) don’t think it’s an important thing to be on the same page about, or
b.) they don’t think about it to begin with.
However, from a survey we did with our students, not knowing when an assignment was “due” became very frustrating for them.
I don’t mean what date assignments are due, but the time.
What? Why should this matter?
If nothing else, it will give your students peace of mind. Knowing what your expectations are is very important to some students. So, what will your team decide when assignments are due?
- Before school starts?
- At the beginning of class?
- By midnight?
This is a very easy thing to fix and become unified on.
Take a minute with your team to decide what “due” means to your grade level. This will help your students navigate their assignments more efficiently.
6. Missing Assignments
In our school we use Google Classroom as our learning management system and PowerSchool to disseminate grades. If a student is missing an assignment, they can see it in Google Classroom.
We have some teachers who take this a step further. They add the link to the assignment directly into PowerSchool. That way, when they see a missing or low grade, the link is attached in the same place. Even if you don’t use PowerSchool, I’m sure there are ways to do this in other platforms.
7. Keep It Clean
Now that more teachers are using Google Classroom, it can get cluttered as the year goes on. This can be especially troubling for students that struggle with executive functioning skills. Or maybe it just drives you crazy.
At the end of every quarter, consider “deleting” assignments that your students won’t need in the future. Any that are left for them to reference, you can place under a new topic called “Quarter 1”
I know some teachers that go so far as to create an entire new classroom for their students each quarter!
That’s kind of a lot, but it works for them.
I know … you might be saying …
But if I delete the assignments, I won’t be able to use them again in the future!
I’ll come back to this in a minute.
I promise. 😉😁😉
8. Sharing Assignments
If you work with a team of teachers, you probably try to collaborate on the work you give to students. Or maybe you wanted to use the same assignment that someone else is using with their class.
Lots of times we keep these in shared Google Drives or Folders. This way everyone who needs access to them can get to it easily.
This works well!
If you don’t do this … you should. 😊
However, also consider sharing a Google Classroom together.
I’ve helped teams of teachers create a Google Classroom that they label something like, “Exemplar” or “Holding.” Sometimes we just label it their subject area: “8th ELA – teachers”
The goal is to post all of the assignments for the year in this “Holding” classroom first. Then each of you can “reuse” them in your own classroom where you work with students.
The best part? 🤓 The assignments only have to be created once for the whole team.
😃 PLUS you can reuse them year after year!
A great time to use this is for your syllabus or beginning of year assignments that tend to be similar each year. Check out this post about how to make those sometimes “dull” assignments into “a-ha” moments! Nail Your French Syllabus Day in 3 Easy Steps by Cindy
p.s. This also solves the deleting assignments thing we mentioned earlier. 😉
Take what you can from this article and bring it to your grade level team this year. How can you streamline your grade level Google Classrooms together?
Check out more ideas about how to Organize Your Google Classroom HERE!
Teaching with Technology also has a bunch of suggestions related to Google Classroom if you want to take things to the next level.
Let us know how it goes! 😃
Want to write a blog post for your own website?
Kayse Morris founder/owner of the CEO Teacher is the way to go! Check out these 7 Helpful Tips on How to Blog Like a Boss to get started.
Or maybe you’ll be interested in these posts from some of my teacher friends who are doing great things! Check them out:
5 Tips for Substitute Success in the High School Art Classroom by Kristina – These are great ideas that can be used by any teacher and ones that I am excited to be able implement in my own classroom.
Cooking in the Classroom: How to cook with students by Kristin – This is a cool post that you should consider! We ask our students to step out of their comfort zone, so why not challenge ourselves and try cooking with them sometime. 😃