Starting with Google Classroom in Elementary School
I opened my account in Google Classroom shortly after it was launched in the fall, but it has laid dormant for most of the year. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I could clearly see the value for secondary teachers who have more than one section, allowing them to easily organize their students’ documents. However, in my classroom of 25 fourth graders, document organization was not an issue.
However, I have recently experimented more and have found some ways which Classroom can add to the learning of my elementary school students.
To begin with, I am now using Classroom to share links with students. It’s very easy to add an announcement with link attached. I can add a quick link to a padlet, math game, or any other site I want to share. It requires several less steps than updating my classroom website.
After the students were comfortable with this, I ventured into the assignment tab. I assigned students their persuasive letter file through Classroom by creating a template and then automatically making a copy for each student. I wasn’t sure if this would be successful in my room because I was worried I wouldn’t have editing rights over the students’ files. This worry was unfounded. I could still pull up student files during class, call them over for a conference, and show them something to improve their work.
This morning I took another step toward fully integrating Classroom. After a reading lesson about comparing firsthand and secondhand accounts of a historical event, I wanted students to express what they had learned. I created a template with two reflection questions and sent each student a copy. Then, the students worked with a partner to answer those questions, documenting their learning from the lesson. As I read through their responses, I could easily see that they mostly understood the topic, but I could help clarify what they learned. (The students were too focused first person/third person pronouns, rather than the idea that in a firsthand account, the writer was actually there.)
I know many Googlers are probably well past this, but if you are just dipping your toes in, hopefully these ideas will help.