How To Organize Google Classroom

How To Organize Google Classroom

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! But then I had to learn how to organize Google Classroom.

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!)

How To Organize Google Classroom Tip #1:

Notice at the top of a class’s homepage, you can see different tabs. Most students use the “stream” because this is the first thing that opens. But I direct them to ignore “stream” and instead use the tab called “Classwork”.

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

Go to the Classwork Tab at the top, select Create, and select Topic
Name your Topic
Create a Topic called Course Resources where general course information can be found.

Tip #2

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 and the activities 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 How To Organize Google Classroom

For my classes, I found that it became confusing for students when I posted 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.

Great news! Last year, a new feature was added and now we can schedule the same post to multiple classes! Such a time saver for someone like me with 4 of the same classes!

Tip #4

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.

No more excuses about how they left the vocab list in their locker, etc!

Note that only what is needed THIS WEEK is at the top. Underneath that topic, the past resources for Unit 1 can be found!

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. The Pandemic Year was a misery in so many ways. But I think I will keep a few of the things that actually worked, like using technology to help students be organized and able to find the resources that they need to be successful!

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Click here if you would like a free copy of my lesson plan templates! There are lots of other things in that Free Resource Library too!

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How To Organize Google Classroom