This year is bringing a lot of adjustments, especially for students and teachers. It’s hard enough to manage a classroom, schoolwork, and homework, without the added challenge of having to do it all remotely.
But Google Classroom is a fantastic tool to add to your digital working kit. Through the program, you can hand out assignments, give feedback, connect with students, and handle all the admin — even while everyone is staying at home.
The free program aims to simplify the whole process, so you don’t have to waste time distributing and organizing assignments on your own.
Relying so heavily on technology can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re only used to teaching classes in person. But don’t worry: Google Classroom is super intuitive to use and easy to set up. There are even video tutorials that’ll help you get started.
Once your account is set up, these are some of the best features you’ll want to lean on to keep you organized while homeschooling.
How teachers can use Google Classroom for homeschool
While Google Classroom has been developed to support teachers, there’s no reason that parents can make use of the following features — especially if you want to add an element of professionalism to your homeschooling approach…
Using Google Classroom to distribute assignments
In the ‘Classwork’ tab, you can create assignments and activities that all your students will be able to access. To keep things neat and tidy, you can use topics to organize your classwork into modules or units.
You can also use this space to share relevant documents like course outlines, or supporting reading material for assignments. It’s very straightforward: just click ‘Create’ and then select whatever type of post you wish to share.
If you’re teaching multiple classes with similar curriculums, you can post the same assignment to multiple classes at once. Each piece of work you send is saved in your account, meaning you can redistribute the same work as often as you need (saving you lots of time!).
The student will see the work they have to complete in the form of a Google Doc or Form. They simply fill in all the info they need, then press ‘Turn It In’, sending it straight back to you for grading.
After you’ve shared an assignment, you’ll be able to see which students have submitted their work, and which haven’t. Click on the ‘Grades’ tab and you’ll have everything laid out for you.
If you’re comfortable reviewing work on the screen, that’s easy to do. Or, if you’d rather print and mark a hard copy, then that’s an option as well.
Using Google Classroom to communicate with your class
The ‘Stream’ is the first thing that you and your students will see after logging on. This is essentially a bulletin board, where you can post messages or share links and documents. When you post a new assignment, it will show up here. You can set the visibility on your posts to be seen by the whole class, or just selected students.
Students can also post and comment in the Stream, though you are able to limit the settings so that only teachers can post if that’s more appropriate for your class.
It’s really easy to also communicate one-on-one with your students. Through Google Classroom, under the ‘People’ tab, you can chat privately with each student to answer questions or offer support if they need it.
Importantly, you can also use Google Classroom to keep in contact with the parents and guardians of your students. For each student listed in your class, under ‘People’, you can add in an email for their guardian, and they can opt-in to receive email updates and summaries. This is a great way to ensure that your students have the home support they need to stay on top of their work.
Also under the ‘People’ tab, you can send out direct emails to single people, select groups, or the whole class.
Using Google Classroom to integrate with other Google software
Google Classroom integrates seamlessly with all the other programs in your Google Suite. This makes things really easy, especially if you’re already used to using things like Drive or Docs.
There are many ways that this integration comes in handy. You can use Google Docs to write up assignments or course outlines, and then easily embed them in the ‘Classwork’ tab. Anything in your Google Drive can be linked to your Classroom with one click. Assignments with a due date will automatically be added to your class Calendar that can be accessed by all students.
You can even use Google Forms to send quizzes to your students. By pre-filling the backend, the quizzes will be automatically graded — this takes a weight off your shoulders, and also gives instant feedback to your students.
If you’re a fan of using Google Slides for your presentations, it’s super easy to integrate that into your Classroom, too. You can post Slides files to your Stream, as a quick way to supply your students with reading material before or after a virtual class.
Using Google Classroom to video chat
Video chat isn’t a core feature of Google Classroom. But during the pandemic, Google is offering free access to the Google Meet software. This allows teachers to have video meetings with up to 250 students at a time.
You can also use the software to live stream, meaning students can tune in and watch you give a class but won’t be able to speak or add feedback.
Google Meet has a recording feature, so you can capture sessions and distribute them to students to watch in their own time. Lastly, Google has shared a great tutorial on how to set up a video class on Meet — it’s very straightforward, even if you’re not super comfortable with technology.
Using KidsKonnect worksheets with Google Classroom
KidsKonnect worksheets and Google Classroom were made for each other, and it’s a great way to share worksheets with your digital classroom. If you’re a Basic member, you can download a sample PDF by clicking the “Download a sample” button on your chosen worksheet pack which contains a fact file and one activity. You can then upload the PDF to your Google Classroom and students can view it. They will need to print it in order to work on it.
For our Premium and Lifetime members, full worksheet packs with a fact file and 10+ activities are available as a PDF (click Download), or as editable documents. Here’s how you get the most from your premium membership.
- Be logged in and navigate to your chosen worksheet pack
- Click Edit to open the worksheet pack in Google Slides. It’s a View Only document, so go to File > Make a copy. This will create a duplicate document in your own Google account that you can edit.
- You’ll then create an assignment in your Classroom and click on the Google Drive folder to upload the worksheet. Make sure you change the settings to “Make a Copy for Each Student” so that the whole class isn’t collaborating on the same worksheet.
- Provide your instructions for the assignment, submission date, etc.
- Students will then open the assignment on their computers and they’ll be able to fill in their answers on the actual document. They’ll then hit the “Turn in” button on the assignment window when they’re done, and you’ll receive their work for grading.
Staying organized is the secret to successful homeschooling
While trying to keep track of all your classes and their work virtually can be tricky, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Using Google Classroom for homeschool might take a little getting used to, but in no time you’ll be amazed by how much time and energy it’s saving you.
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Link will appear as How to stay organized during homeschooling with Google Classroom: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 23, 2020