Google Classroom – Adding Materials

One feature that I really like in Google Classroom is the ability to add materials. My class is currently working on a project, with a digital text. I want them to be able to access the text at any point.

After logging into Google Classroom, I navigate to the classroom where I’d like to add materials. From the Stream page, I click on About.

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Now that I am on the ‘About’ page, I can add the desired materials. The first box on the page contains Course Information. The second box allows you to ‘Add Materials’.

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Simply by clicking on ‘Add materials’, the box changes to give you choices.

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You’ll notice that after adding a title to your materials, you have the option to add a file from your computer, Google Drive, YouTube, or a link. You have the ability to add as many as needed.

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The three dots in the right corner allow you to edit or delete the materials.

This feature is a great way to keep all important materials in one place. In Writing, you can house all your rubrics. Math can house tutorials. The possibilities are endless, syllabus, study guides, videos, whatever you can think of!

Playlists in YouTube

I’m a huge fan of YouTube, but then again who isn’t? One of my favorite features is the ability to create Playlists. These are a collection of videos of your choice. For example, I have a playlist for grammar to help students who are struggling with various grammar issues.

In YouTube, on the left side is my menu. The second section shows my ‘Library’ (aka playlists). creating them is SUPER easy!

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When I find a video I like, I add it to (or create a new) playlist. The ‘Add to’ choice appears just below the video.

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If you are creating a new playlist, you will have the option to have it ‘Public’ (open for anyone to find), ‘Unlisted’ (other can view if they have the link), or ‘Private’ (must be shared directly with others).

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After you name your playlist, select ‘Create’. Viola! You now have started your playlist collection

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Google Docs: Comment

I have been editing my students NaNoWriMo Stories in Google Docs. The easiest way to communicate with them is to write comments. Since we are in the ‘it must be perfectly polished’ mode, I’m making a lot of comments! I’ve invited other teachers to give their input as well.

When I find an area that I would like to comment on I highlight the word or area with my cursor.

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I can then either navigate to the toolbar at the top, find ‘Insert’, then scroll down to comment. OR I can locate the ‘Comment’ button on the right side of the toolbar, select it, then choose the comment button from there.

There is also a keyboard shortcut – Option + Command + M (Mac) or Alt + Control + M (PC and Chromebooks). Any of the 3 options will then bring up a comment window on the right side of the document. When this appears, type your comment, then select the blue ‘comment’ button. When the reader clicks on either the comment or the highlighted area, the highlight becomes a bit darker and the comment window becomes more prominent. comment 4

Happy Commenting!

Google Classroom: Drive Folder

One of the nice features of Google Classrooms is the folder that is automatically created in Google Drive. I like to use this when I am looking at student work. We have been working on our NaNoWriMo stories. We began polishing and editing our work last week (our first week back after break).

I created an assignment in Google Classroom, turn in their stories. Now that my students have turned them in, it’s easy to read them. While in Google Classroom, locate the assignment and select ‘Done’ (those students who have completed the assignment).

class folder 1 This takes me to a new page within Classroom. Here, I see thumbnails for those students who have completed the assignment. However, just above the thumbnail is an icon of a folder. Click that to open a new tab, Google Drive.

class folder 2 Once the Google Drive tab opens, you can easily navigate your students’ work.

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NOTE: This is just one of several ways to access the Drive Folder.

Lesson Plans & Google Calendar

I know this is not revolutionary, but while reflecting this break, I thought I’d try out using Google Calendar as a lesson planner. There are a few reasons why I chose to do so.

  • I’m terrible with lesson plans. I keep them in my head. Then when I need to share what I’m doing, I have to remember then write it all down.
  • This will help me stay on task and organized.
  • It’s really not that hard to set up.
  • Since it’s in a calendar, I can easily see what weeks are short, which days are minimum, and so on.
  • Since it’s in Google Calendar, I can easily share the calendar or event(s) with various people.
    • Now the Resource (Special Ed) teacher doesn’t have to hound me about what I’m doing. Bless her for putting up with my ‘organization’.
    • I can easily share, therefore making collaboration that much easier.
    • My partner teacher can add details and we can have a cohesive program.
    • If I’m out and forget to leave lesson plans, anyone with access can quickly see what I’m doing. Still debating if I should make it open or restrict it to people who could help in a situation like that.

So here’s what I did. First, I created a new calendar  and named it ‘Lessons’. Then I created an event for each section of my day and made sure it was created in the ‘Lessons’ calendar.



Remembering to make sure each event was repeated 5 days a week until the end of the school year.


Now you can share your ‘Event’ with someone. Select ‘Save’ to save the event.


And this is what my January looks like:


To add details to a subject/day, simply click the subject on the desired day and select ‘edit event’. Then add the details. So Monday, January 11 I will do the following in Math:


Google Classroom: Calendar Notifications

The integration of Google Calendar with Google Classroom has been helpful. Many schools require students to have a Planner [book]. This allows students to write assignments due dates, project deadlines, and tests. Google now assigns a Calendar with each Classroom you create. Then when you create an Assignment or Question, it automatically creates an event in the Calendar. However by default, there are no notifications reminding students of the Assignment or Question deadline. That can easily be changed. And by doing so, helping to create a digital Student Planner!

Navigate to your Google Calendar or Google Classroom – About Page.

The left side lists all the Calendars. Each Classroom has it’s own. By hovering over the Classroom Calendar, a small down arrow appears. Choose it to set the properties. Choose Edit notifications.

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This will send you to a new page. There are a few options on this page. Event notifications is the first choice. This allows you to send emails or pop-up notifications to all attendees (students). You can send several if you choose. Say an Assignment is due on Friday, you may want to send a notification to students 3 days before it’s due AND the day before.

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You can add as many Notifications as necessary. When you are done, remember to Save.

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Google Docs: Colored Background

Recently I was giving a presentation using Google Classroom. As a part of the experience, I have participants experience it from the student perspective. One of the assignments had a colored background and caught the attention of a participant. Let’s face it, white backgrounds can be VERY boring!

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Changing the background color is super easy. In your Document, navigate to ‘File’ then ‘Page Setup’. A pop-out window appears. Choose ‘Page Color’. This will prompt color choices to appear. You can choose one of those or insert the color code of your choice using ‘Custom’.

Once you find a background color you like, press ‘OK’. To set as background, select ‘OK’ on the Page Setup window in the lower left corner.

You’re all set!

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Google Classroom: Create Question

In Google Classroom, I like to ‘Create a Question’ for quick checks or exit tickets. They are easy to create and manage. Students can read each other’s posts, comment, and have quality discussions with ‘Questions’. This is an underused tool by many who use Google Classroom. It truly is a hidden gem in this tool.

In order to create a Question, choose the + located in the bottom right corner of the ‘Stream’ section of your classroom.

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Now I can create my question. I can insert a file, something from my Google Drive, a YouTube video, and/or a link to a website. I can insert as many items as needed. Since I teach 2 classes of Social Studies, I can assign the question to both classes, with files and links, at the same time. I can even set a due date. When I have my preferences set, I choose the blue ‘ASK’ button.

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Next a pop-out window appears where I can allow students to view each other’s responses, or not. I can also allow students to edit their own responses. I like to allow students to comment on each other’s. This allows for discussion and opportunity for students to defend their positions. When I’m ready, I click the blue ‘ASK’ button.

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My question now appears at the top of the stream.

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Here’s an example we did early this year. Once the students respond, I can then grade their answers if I choose to. On this particular example, I gave the students some material to review before answering. In order to encourage open dialog, I also asked them to comment on each other’s responses.

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When I’m ready to view, I can click on ‘Done’ in the Question. This takes me to the Student Response page. All of their responses are listed along with the option to grade, comment, and return work.

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When I click on an individual student, I can see his/her answer and the classmates’ responses.

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