To me, Google Classroom was something that my teenagers used for their classwork, and not something I’d dream of using with my first grade students. Enter Covid-19. All of a sudden, I knew I’d better come up with a plan and quick! Here is the fifth post on the Best Classroom apps you can use for your classroom. Today we’re going to talk about how Google Classroom works in First Grade.
Google Classroom Is A Hub
One of our favorite places on Earth is Disney World. I love walking down Main Street, USA, coming around the corner and seeing Cinderella’s castle. This is where we watch the fireworks and buy candied almonds. We start there and branch off to different adventures depending on if we want to meet Captain Jack Sparrow, or blast off at Space Mountain.
Hubs are useful. Walt Disney knew what he was doing when he designed a hub into Disneyland and Disney World.
Google Classroom is a hub. From Google Classroom, students can go to almost any platform. All you need to do is post a link inside.
What does Google Classroom for Teachers Look Like?
Once you make a classroom, students join with your classroom code. If you don’t have students doing this right away, you can enter their gmail address manually. However, with younger students, the code is the easiest way to begin.
When you first log in, you’ll see a blank feed. Imagine like your homepage of Facebook. Anyone can write a comment, and you can customize your header picture. You’ll see four bars at the top: Stream, Classwork, People, and Grades.
As I wanted to start off simply, I only focused on the Classwork tab.
Within your classroom tab, you’ll have the option to create a weekly Google Meet link, view your Google Calendar, and see all your assignments in Google Drive. It’s pretty neat how interconnected everything is.
When you’re ready to make your first assignment, click on the blue “+ Create” button. A menu appears with the following: Assignment, Quiz assignment, Question, Material, Reuse post, and Topic.
I would start with making a Topic. Think of this as a way to categorize your posts. Are you going to post videos? Make a topic called “Video”, and so on. Here are my topics. From then on, any post can be put into any of the topics I made. My daily videos went into (you guessed it) “Daily Videos”.
My two most helpful topics were “Website Tutorials” and “E-learning information” There I posted Google Docs and YouTube videos to help parents navigate their way through my classroom.
How do I post an assignment into Google Classroom?
I made a helpful video showing you step-by-step instructions on setting up your classroom and assigning activities.
What Does Google Classroom For Students Look Like?
When a student logs into their classroom, it looks very much the same as a teacher’s account. They won’t have the ability to post assignments and there is no grading tab.
A great function of a student account is that they can leave a comment on an assignment. My kiddos did this a lot this past year. Mostly just to say hi, but I wanted to know if something wasn’t working, so my students and their parents knew to leave me a comment. It would go straight to my email, and I knew to fix the problem as soon as I could.
What other classroom apps can you post on Google Classroom?
Almost anything can be linked to your Google Classroom. I used Seesaw, and it could not be linked, however, I got around that by putting an assignment sheet into their classroom telling them which assignments they needed to switch to Seesaw to do.
I tried to limit my platforms to Google Classroom and Seesaw, but by the end of the year, we were able to navigate through more. Here are two websites that go into much more detail. The first post is from my friend, Kate McFarlane. She tells us how to use learning videos for your students: Which can be added to your classroom! Click here to check it out!
The second is from the amazing Kasey Bell, who lists 70+ apps that integrate into Google Classroom. Here’s the scoop!
Make a practice Google Classroom and share it with a coworker. When you’re adding something new and you’re not sure how it will look, this is an easy way to know.
If you use Google Meet, you can add your link to the front page border. It will be there for your weekly Google Meeting – no need to keep resending new links.
Definitely make use of the scheduling feature. It’s nice to have it all ready ahead of time. I could post a week ahead of time and spend more of my time checking in with my students than creating each day’s new assignments.
Give it a Try!
I hope this was helpful for you as you’re giving Google Classroom a try! My friend Brandi has some activities to get you started. Find them here! And my friend, Naomi have a really cool video series on Google Classroom that you can check out here! Let me know in the comments below if you also found ways to make this classroom app work with your first graders!