Did you use Google Classroom last year? I did! Google Classroom was introduced to our district a few years back, but last year, it was imperative during virtual learning. We went paperless, and having a way to assign resources and practice to my students via Google Classroom was a life-saver!
I quickly realized how important it would be to have an organized Google Classroom! There were a LOT of posts! When you’re done reading this blog, I hope you will have some good tips for keeping things organized for you and your students, and maybe even some time-saving tips for people who will use Google Classroom for the first time, or continue using it this year. (I definitely didn’t miss the time I spent at the copy machine!)
Create a heading (called a Topic in Google Classroom) for things that students may need to refer to many times during the year. In mine I included things like:
-the grading policy
-class codes (for things like Remind or other programs/websites I use)
-the retake policy
-the cheating and plagiarism policy
-how to use an on-line dictionary properly and how to document when you did
-websites they may find useful for extra practice
For AP Students:
-AP open-ended task rubrics
-my presentations about How To complete each task
-important vocabulary pertaining to the AP test
The next Topic I created in Google Classroom was the name of the unit we were currently working on. For example: in Spanish 3, our first unit is called “Let’s Take a Trip”. I labeled the Topic “Unit 1: Let’s Take a Trip”.
I also created a Topic called “This week”.
Next, I added anything that students would need to the Topic “This Week”. *Disclaimer* I am a total Type A, but my organization saves me time and stress, so for me, this method is worth it! I always have a whole week’s worth of lesson plans ready to go at least a week ahead of time.
First I added the lesson plans for the week and labeled them by date. So it might be called “Lesson Plans Week of 9/1”. (Check out my post on Saving Time with Lesson Planning!). I just make a copy of my lesson plans and edit them for students. For instance, I will take out the answer keys, or unlink the assessments from the student version of the lesson plans. This was so helpful because all students had access to the exact order of events for the whole week. We created a routine of starting class by opening the lesson plans and finding the right day. And for students who were absent- they had everything they needed right there!
With lesson plans for students with everything they need linked in that document, you have a choice about what else to post in Google Classroom. I posted everything that I wanted them to turn in separately because it gave them their own copy of the document and more importantly, a due date! I could also write explicit instructions.
Tip #3 for Google Classroom
For my classes, I found that it became confusing for students to post every assignment at the same time. Instead, I scheduled each post to appear on the day I wanted it assigned. So for instance, if there was a homework assigned for Tuesday and due Wednesday, that homework assignment would not appear as it’s own separate post until Tuesday.
The problem with this is that you need to schedule each class’s assignments separately because Google Classroom does not have the capability to schedule assignments to multiple classes (you can only post to multiple classes).
However, my hack for this was to schedule all the assignments for one class. And then when I moved to another class (same course, just different period) I could reuse the post so I didn’t have to retype everything. And it was worth it to me because I didn’t have students confused about which homework assignment to complete for which day!
During the first week of a new unit, in the Topic called This Week, I also create a post in my Google Classroom with all the resources they will need. This includes the vocabulary list, grammar notes, Quizlet links, Screencastify videos, and things like that. I label that post “Unit 1 Resources”. This is the only post that will stay in the topic “This Week” until the end of the unit.
Tip #5 for an Organized Google Classroom
Ok! So let’s say that This Week is over, and it’s time to get ready for next week!
Of course we have our lesson plans all made and all the activities are linked in.
Now, move the lesson plans and all the assignments that were for last week to the Topic “Unit 1: Let’s Take a Trip”. But keep your resources post under the “This Week” Topic. To move items, simply drag them down under the Topic you want them to be under!
Add Lesson Plans Week of 9/7, and then post or schedule all the things that students will use for the week of 9/7.
Continue this each week of the school year! Create a new Topic when you start a new unit.
You will see that students know exactly where to look for what they need. They know exactly how to find the resources they need throughout the unit and where to look if they were absent or need to make something up, try it again, practice more.
My students expressed appreciation for having a Google Classroom that was organized and easy to use. Last year was so difficult for all of us. I am hoping for a better, more normal year! But I think I will keep a few of the things that actually worked about our Pandemic Year, like using technology to help students be organized and able to find the resources that they need to be successful!
Click here if you would like a free copy of my lesson plan templates! There are other things in that Free Resource Library too!
Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store for all kinds of resources for teaching Secondary Spanish!