September 4, 2017

Your school have decided to implement Google Classroom and you might be feeling like the Queen sending her first tweet. The good news is, she managed and so will you.   

But lets start at the very beginning. 

Open Classroom by typing Classroom.google.com in you address box.  Since you are going to use this everyday I would suggest that you set it as one of your homepages, so that it is always open. 
Since Classroom is limited to your school domain, it is important that you are signed in with your school account. If you are signed in with your private account, you will first have to sign out of your private account and sign in with your school account. 
Whenever you or the learners struggle with permission, the first thing you do is check which account they are signed in with. 

Once you are signed in you can start creating classes. 
For each class you want to create you click on the “+” sign in the top right hand corner. Think carefully about the name of the class, it should be appropriate for both you and the learners. If all grade 8A’s teachers call their class “8A” the learners will end up with 10 classes with the same name. As well as 10 folders in their Classroom folder named “8A”. On the other hand, if I call all my classes “Maths” I will end up with 5 classes with the same name. 
The first thing I used to do is to pick a different theme for each class. This year I am going to let the learners in each class decide on a theme. I like the idea that they can take ownership of the class. 
To change the theme click on “Select theme” for a preset theme or “upload photo” to make your own. (Both can be found at the bottom right hand corner of the banner) 
Just remember when you make your own theme you will need a high quality panorama picture. 
Next you can invite students. This can be done in 3 ways.
  • Before the lesson start email the Classroom code to all the learners and ask them to join. 
  • Write the code on the board during the first lesson and ask them to join. 
  • Click on invite and invite each individual student. 
I use a combination of all 3 methods. I email the code to the learners beforehand (if I can) and maybe half will respond by joining ahead of time. That means it take less of my class time to get the rest to join. After the first lesson I go through my classlists and invite those students that have not joined yet. 
Another important step is to decide how much freedom do you want the learners to have. (you can always change it during the year)
Under the “student” tab you have 3 options.
  • Only teacher teacher can post or comment – this means that you are the only one that can add anything to the page. Having all information flow from the teacher to the student is not very efficient, but I have found some teachers feel saver and more in control with this setting. If you are very stressed about managing Classroom, you might want to start with this setting. I promise you that soon you will change it. 
  • Students can post and comment – this is the opposite of the previous one. Students can create their own posts and comment on anything you post. A few of our teachers (who also doesn’t feel to comfortable with technology) love this setting because it allows the students to manage the page. Some has even gone as far as to appoint a student to be responsible that all homework etc gets posted. 
  • Students can only comment – this is my standard setting because I am a control freak. I spend a lot of time thinking of sensible headings and clear instructions, so I am the only one that can post new things. However the learners can comment and ask questions on anything. 
Two last things before you are ready to go. 
  1. Post a welcome activity to all your students before they even join the class. This is great to keep them busy while the last ones join the class. 
  2. Decide on one or two things that you will consistently post on Classroom to start with. For me it is the dates and information about all tests and assignments and everyday’s homework. 
Once you get the hang of this you will see that instead of wasting your time, you actually save time. 

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