9 Weeks of Google Classroom

Google_Classroom_Logo

As I sit here at my desk on my last Saturday of fall break, I’m excited to start anew with my integration of Google Classroom. This August, I finally gained access to the G-Suite through my district. Looking back at the past nine weeks, I know that I can do a better job of blending my classroom. There were some hurdles that I encountered which definitely stunted the start of my school year. Here are some of the obstacles I will need to overcome in the coming weeks:

  • Lack of computers everyday. I do not have a class set of computers and I am limited when checking out a laptop cart from our library (two days a week if they are not already checked out).
  • Adding students is restricted. Whenever I get a new student in my class (either new to the school or switched to my class) I need to email our district contact to have the student’s Google account activated. At the the beginning of the year, this process lasted multiple days and didn’t allow new students to jump right in to some of the classwork online.
  • Myself. Due to some of the setbacks I have been reluctant to go all-in. With the lack of computers, I’ve been relying on the “traditional” method of classroom work (lots of copies). My goal is (mostly) paperless. I will have to trust my students to get access (on their phones and at home) when they have assignments due online.

There have been many, many positives in the first quarter of the year. Some highlights:

  • Collaboration is amazing. Having a group of students work on the same document and hearing them discuss the assignment and delegating the work has been amazing. It gives each student ownership of the assignment and helps them focus on their specific role.
  • Feedback and communication has been improved. I’ve had some great conversations with students about the assignments when they send me a message after viewing my feedback.
  • It is so easy to add supplemental materials to the class page. My favorite so far has been creating a gallery using Google Arts & Culture (Anglo-Saxon Gallery) and having students comment on their favorite piece. I also showed them in class how to take a virtual tour of the British Museum.
  • Google Forms has been an amazing resource. I use it for study hall checkout (students fill out a form and let me know where they are going for tutoring) and I’ve used it for giving quizzes.

Overall, the positives have outweighed the negatives and I’m excited for another quarter of using Google Classroom. I’m excited for the new Classwork page as well and I’m hoping that my assignments will be better organized going forward.

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School is in Session

School resumed yesterday, and it will take some time to get used to the schedule of the daily grind. Summer was too kind to me.

I was able to accomplish one of my goals yesterday: incorporating technology on day one.

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For class introductions, I had the students post to a Padlet wall and describe themselves using only six words. The students were a bit surprised when I asked them to take their cell phones out and put them on their desks. Padlet worked great, and the students were able to add to the wall quite easily from the mobile site. Now that I have introduced Padlet to my students, I plan on using it as a bell work activity in the future. I even had some adept students figure out how to post pictures, which they used to accompany their introductions.

I posted the link to each class’ Padlet on the respective class group in Edmodo. This allowed students to check out the introductions when they got home. It will be interesting to see if students will use the same six words to describe themselves at the end of the school year.

Online Presence for the School Year

I’ve been struggling with selecting a mode of delivery for my online content for my class. Last year, I went back and forth using  Google Sites and Edmodo. Each method had its pros and cons, but trying to maintain a PLE through Google Sites and a LMS through Edmodo got to be too much. I liked the flexibility of Google Sites, but I think I need a more streamlined approach this school year.

Edmodo Logo

Edmodo is ready to go from the start and all I really need to do is add students and upload content. Students referred to Edmodo last year as Facebook for school, which I liked since that meant that students would be able to use and navigate the site with ease. I participated in a webinar a couple of days ago (Training the Trainers), and these are the best aspects of Edmodo that were discussed and how I think they would fit into my classroom:

  • Groups: While I would have my large, main groups for each of my classes, I can create smaller groups within the larger ones. This will work out great for differentiating instruction with some of my lower skilled students. I can give an assignment to the whole class, and then give additional help (such as a graphic organizer) to only those students in the small group. This feature can also be useful for group projects. I would be able to communicate and provide feedback to each individual group.
  • Snapshot: Snapshot is a way to give your students a quick assessment based on the Common Core Standards. The teacher selects the standards they want to assess and Edmodo creates a series of questions and reading prompts to check the students’ level of mastery. This would be a great feature to utilize when starting a new unit (as a pre-test) or when data is required to support your lesson (as my teacher evaluation requires). Also, the data for each student is saved, and the teacher can see the growth that each student has accomplished throughout the year.
  • Mobile App: Students can download the Edmodo app for almost all devices. This ensures students will get a notification on their phone when I post an alert. Students will have constant access to assignments and the calendar. Continue reading “Online Presence for the School Year”