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10 Google Calendar Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Quick Add Events Through Your Browser: There are a couple different ways you can do this. The first is directly through your Google browser, where you can actually type in an appointment or event you have for a certain day and time. Simply type in either “make an appointment” or “create event”, then specify when it is and when you would like to have it (i.e. “Make an appointment for the vet next Tuesday at 1 pm). The Google browser will then prompt you with a confirmation option after you place your request into the search bar. This will add the appointment or event to your calendar once selected.
  2. Quick Add Events in Calendar: The second way to do this is through your calendar app in Google Drive. Here you can quick-add an event by selecting the down arrow next to the “create” button in the top left, and type in a similarly worded request (i.e. “Dentist appointment at 11 am tomorrow”). If it is formatted properly it will be promptly added to your schedule in Google Calendar.


  3. Use signup appointment slots (only available on Google accounts): This option will allow you set up a block of time within your calendar where people can reserve time slots and set up appointments with you. To do this, start by dragging open a span of time within your day schedule in Calendar. When entering the information for your selected block of time, you will be able to select either ‘Event’ or ‘Appointment Slots’. Ensure ‘Appointment Slots’ is selected. From here you can either set up the block of time as a single appointment or allow people to reserve a set segment of time within the block. These options are available upon selecting and editing the time slot. After setting this up you can invite people from your contacts to attend your event by going into ‘Edit’ and adding in your desired guests/clients. They will then be notified and be able to reserve a segment of time.


  4. Get your agenda emailed every day: If you’d like to receive an email every morning presenting you with your agenda for the day, this feature is easy to enable. Locate the ‘settings’ button within your calendar (top right) and click through the pages as follows: settings > calendars (at top of page) > edit notifications (under notifications) – on this page, scroll to the very bottom and check the unchecked box titled ‘agenda’ under the ‘email’ column. This will enable the daily agenda feature, which will allow Google Calendar to send a daily schedule to your Gmail every morning at 5 am.

  5. Use a Task List: With this feature, you are able to utilize a simple task list that can be displayed alongside your calendar. To enable, select ‘My Calendars’ on the far left of the screen and go down to ‘Tasks’ (this may be titled as ‘Reminders’ but can easily be changed by clicking on the small arrow next to ‘Reminders’ and selecting ‘switch to tasks’ on the following menu). Upon selecting the ‘Tasks’ option, a task column will appear on the far right of your calendar where you can create and edit current tasks. You can specify when they are to be completed by, and check them off once they are finished. Your tasks will also be linked to the day on which you set your deadline.
  6. Enable More features in Labs: To access additional features in your Google Calendar, select your settings button in the top right corner of the screen, then go down to ‘Labs’. Here you’ll find a list of utilities and options that aren’t available within the default layout of Google Calendar. Here you can allow yourself to set a picture as a background image, change the entire look and layout of Calendar, and enable other alterations.
    Once you select something from ‘Labs’, you may need to also enable in under the ‘Settings’ tab. It should be listed next to a checkbox on the Settings page, where you can simply select the checkbox, then save your changes to enable the new feature.
  7. Share Your Calendar With Others (With or Without a Google account): To share a calendar with one or more people who also have Google accounts, go to ‘My Calendars’ and select the down arrow on the calendar you want to share.  On the list of tabs that come up, a ‘Share Calendar’ option will be available. After clicking this option, you will be taken to a page where you can simply type in the Email of the person you wish to share with and alter their permission settings on the same page.

    If you need to share your calendar with someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Go to the top of the resulting ‘Share Calendar’ page, and select ‘Calendar Details’. On this next page, go down to where it says ‘Calendar Address’ where you’ll be able to click on one of two buttons for either ‘iCal’ or ‘HTML’ format. You’ll then be given a link that you copy and send to someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Upon using the link, the recipient will be able to view, but not edit your Google Calendar.
  8. Add a Friend’s Calendar or Other Interesting Calendars: In order to add a friend’s or acquaintance’s calendar, go to ‘Other Calendars’ at the far left of the calendar page. Click the down arrow on this feature and you will be presented with various tabs, one of which says ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’. You can then enter your friend’s Email, and a request will be sent to them. Once this is approved, their calendar will be visible within your own.

    To add other interesting calendars to your own, such as specific holidays, phases of the moon, sports schedules, etc., select ‘Browse Other Interesting Calendars’ instead of ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’ on the list of tabs provided from ‘Other Calendars’. This will bring you to an extensive list of other specific calendars which you can incorporate into your own.
  9. Create All-Day Events: If you’d prefer to have an all-day event instead of selecting a given block of time on a certain day, you can do it by clicking on the space directly below the listed day of the week. After doing so you can title the event and treat it like any other created event in Calendar without it being time-specific.

    If you’d like to have a multiple-day event which isn’t time-specific, simply drag a row across those same top boxes of all the days which you want to have your event.
  10. Compare Calendars to Add Events: This feature goes along with the one that allows you to add a friend’s calendar to your own calendar. If you’re hoping to coordinate an event with someone you know, and want to make sure that they’ll be available during that time, you can access their calendar while adding an event to your schedule. Additionally, this will add the same event to their schedule so they’ll know when to attend.

    To set this up, you’ll first need to have added a friend’s calendar to your own (this process is explained in a previous tip). Then, when creating an event, go to ‘Edit’. On the ‘Edit’ page, the first screen you’ll see will be the ‘Event Details’ tab which will be titled at the top of the screen. You’ll want to select the tab next to it which will be titled ‘Find a Time’. Here you can add guests who have shared their personal calendars with you, and you can compare schedules side-by-side. Then, you can simply select a time block in which you’re both available and create a new event.

 

 

Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms and Google Classroom

You can create self-grading quizzes with Google Forms and share them with your class using Google Classroom! In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create self-grading quizzes
  • How to see the results of your quiz and give feedback
  • How to share your quiz with the class on Google Classroom

Create a self-grading quiz

Open a new Form from your Google Drive screen, if you haven’t seen the Google Forms Tutorial, check that out first and then come back here. Click the gear icon to open the “Settings” menu, and choose “Quizzes” at the top.

Open a new form, open the Settings menu, then choose “Quizzes”

Click on “Make this a quiz” and a range of new options will appear. You can choose when the quiz grade is released so that students can see their grade immediately after they submit the quiz, or you can delay the release in case you want time to review the results. You can also decide whether or not students can see their missed questions, the correct answers, and the point values of questions simply by clicking on the appropriate checkboxes.

Click make this a quiz then click the checkboxes to customize your quiz in the quiz Settings window

Return to your practice form and enter a test question. Set the answer format to “Multiple choice” and enter three or four possible answers, then note at the bottom of the window you now see the words “Answer key.” Click on “Answer key” and you’ll be able to mark the correct answer for this specific question.

Enter a test question with four multiple choice answers on the quiz, then click on “Answer key” to mark the correct answer for the question

It’s important to note that the “Self-grading quizzes” option only works with the Multiple choice, Checkboxes, and Drop-down answer options, but since these are such popular and versatile options I think you’ll get a lot of use out of this new feature.

At the top right of the “Answer Key” window you can assign how many points this question is worth using the up and down arrows. You can also click on “Add feedback” on your Answer key, which allows you to write a message that will pop up after students select each answer. This could be something as simple as “Good job!” for correct answers, or a brief sentence or paragraph explaining why their answer was incorrect.  

Click “Add feedback” to create informative or supportive messages that will appear when students answer questions

You can also click the “Link” icon to add a link to the “Add feedback” option in case, for example, you want to send the student to a page or video with more information about the question or topic to help refresh their memory.

link to feedback for more in depth information after questions in Google Forms

You can add more questions and set the correct answer or answers for each, as well as any feedback you may want to leave.

You can always click “Preview” to see how your practice quiz looks and test out the self-grading option. This is a good practice before sending the quiz to your class. Click “Preview” in the top right, then pretend you’re a student and select a “correct” answer for each question, then click “Submit.” If you have selected the quiz option to let the students see their correct and incorrect answers, when you click “Submit” you will see a pop-up window and can click on “View your score” to see which questions you got right and which you missed, as well as the total points you’ve earned. The image below shows what results of a quiz will look like with all the settings selected on the left.

preview example side by side with settings

In the Editing view, you can click on “Responses” at the top and see all of the quizzes that have been submitted so far. You can view the data as as summary, or check how each student did individually by clicking either “Summary” or “Individual”. And now, instead of having to grade each quiz by hand, you have all of the information in a neat visual presentation already prepared for you!

responses from Google forms self-grading quizzes

If you want to load this data into a spreadsheet all you need to do is click the green icon on the “Responses” form, create a new spreadsheet, and the data will be automatically loaded into the sheet so you can easily see individual answers, scores, and other important information.

Click the green icon in the quiz “Responses” window to create a new spreadsheet with the quiz data already loaded and organized

Share your quiz with your class in Google Classroom

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of using Google Forms and creating Quizzes, I’ll show you how easy it is to share with your class and add a new Form to your Google Classroom. If you haven’t used Google Classroom yet, check out this tutorial to set up your Google Classroom.

Once you have your practice quiz completed, click send at the top right corner.

click send on your completed quiz in Google forms

This will open a “Send“ form with a range of options for ways you can send or attach the form. I could send this out to individual emails or a group. For example, I have all my 5th and 6th graders in an email group. You can learn how to set up groups in Google here.

You can also embed your quiz form in a website. To share with Google Classroom, choose “Link” first by clicking the chain link icon. You can check the “Shorten URL” box to automatically shorten the URL to your quiz for easier sharing, and then click “Copy” to copy the link to your clipboard and later paste it into your Google Classroom.

Click “Send” on the Responses page to open a Send window, then choose “Link” as the sending method, shorten link, copy

You can also load the form directly into your Google Classroom with just a few simple steps. Go to your Classroom, create a New Assignment with the plus sign at the bottom right, and then click the Google Drive icon at the bottom and select the Google Form that is your quiz.

Open a New Assignment, select the form in your Drive, and click “Add” to attach it to the new assignment

Click “Assign” and your new assignment will appear in your Classroom with the quiz form attached. All your students need to do is click on the assignment and it will open the quiz. When students have finished and submitted their tests you’ll be able to click “View responses in Sheets” and the answers will already be loaded into the appropriate columns for you.

click “View responses in Sheets” to see the submitted answers on your new spreadsheet

Now you’re ready to make and send self-grading quizzes to your class using Google Forms and Classroom!

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How To Get Started With Google Classroom

How to Get Started With Google Classroom

Google Classroom is an online graphic design program with free and paid versions that lets you create professional graphics in almost any format quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a class in Google Classroom
  • How to add students to your class
  • How to quickly add assignments and start discussions
  • How to control the abilities of your students to post
  • How to manage your stream and archived classes

Google Classroom is most easily accessed by simply searching “google classroom” and clicking the link, as shown below. It will not show up in your usual menu of Google apps, but you can add a shortcut to Google Classroom to Chrome by going to the Chrome web store here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/google%20classroom.

Google Classroom link

You have to have a Google account that uses Google Apps for Education (now G Suite for Education). A regular Google account won’t work, so you’ll have to set one up using an email address associated with your school. If your school does not have a G Suite for Education account, you can request one here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/2856827?hl=en.

Once you’ve logged in with your G Suite for Education account, select Teacher at the bottom right, and you’ll be taken to the introduction screen. From the intro screen, you can click the plus sign at the top right to create a class.

Google Classroom intro screen

Create a class in Google Classroom

After clicking Create a class, fill in the class name and section that you want and click Create. The course will be generated with a random theme, but you can click Select theme on the right side of the background image to select a new one. You can choose from a gallery of image-based themes or select a simple pattern theme. All the border, button, and background colors will update depending upon the theme you choose.

change classroom theme

If you click the About button on the classroom menu, you can add extra information like a class title, description, the room or meeting place for the class, or even invite another teacher to collaborate on the class. The About area also shows where your class is stored. The default location is a folder in your Google Drive that was made when you created the class.

About your Google classroom

When you create your first class, a folder called Classroom will be added to your Google Drive, and a subfolder with the name and section of your new class is created. As you create more classes, they will each generate a subfolder in the Classroom folder.

Classroom folder

If you click the three horizontal lines icon in the top left corner you will access a navigation menu. This menu lets you jump to see all the classes you have, your calendar, and any open assignments. From here you can click Classes and see all the classes you’ve created within Google Classroom. After choosing Classes, you can click the three dots to the right of each class name and either rename or archive the class from there.

Top left corner navigation for classroom

Within each Google classroom class, you can see a classroom code at the bottom left that you can share with students. When your student visits Google Classroom, they will click the plus sign at the top of the intro screen, but they will choose Join class instead of Create class. This is where they will enter the code associated with your class.

Classroom code

You can also click Students in the classroom menu and select Invite from the Students area. This will open the contacts associated with your G Suite for Education enabled account, and you can select from theses contacts to invite students to your class by checking the box by their names.

Invite students

select contacts to add

A valuable tip is to go ahead and set your posting and commenting permissions for students. I recommend you set permissions to “Only teacher can post and comment” at the start. If you have younger students, you’ll usually end up with a lot of silly or potentially disruptive posts in the class at the start if you don’t do this. Sometimes, it can be best to restrict the posting and commenting permissions of students until you have an actual discussion or question ready to be considered.

set posting permissions of students

All the action inside one of your Google classes occurs in the “stream.” In the bottom right hand corner of the classroom, you’ll see a circle with a plus sign in it. When you click on it, you’ll see your options for adding to the classroom stream. You can create an announcement, create an assignment, ask a question, or reuse a post.

Stream options

If you choose to add an announcement, you simply type what you want to say to the class and then choose any attachments you want to share. You can attach files, videos, Google Drive files, or links.

Add an announcement to your stream

You can edit anything in the class stream by clicking the three vertical dots on the right side of each item in the stream.

Edit classroom stream items

Assignments are the most common thing I post to my stream. Simply click Assignment from the stream menu (accessed by the plus sign in the circle at the bottom right of the classroom). Then, enter a name for the assignment and a description or instructions. Using the attachment options, you could attach a PDF or video with information to study, and include a link to a Google Form (check out this article on self-grading quizzes) where the homework or quiz questions are handled for you. You can set the due date and post it to the entire class.

Add assignments to your classroom stream

Once the assignment is posted, you can see which students have completed it and which ones haven’t.

See which students have completed work

If you want to quickly assess students in your class, get feedback, or start a discussion, simply add a question to the classroom stream and set a due date. You’ll be given the options to let students edit their answers and post replies to other students answers. If you allow students to reply to other students’ answers, it can help facilitate a discussion.

Set student interaction permissions for questions

As you add new items to the stream, they will be posted at the top of the stream and push other items down. The nearest upcoming deadline for assignments or questions is shown in a box on the left. If you want to move an older post to the top, simply click the three dots on the right side and click Move to top.

Move a post to the top of the class stream

There aren’t too many settings to worry about inside Google Classroom. One very important setting to consider is the permissions of students to post and comment on items in the stream, which we already discussed. The other setting to consider is the email notifications setting. You can access this by clicking the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner and selecting Settings at the bottom of the navigation menu. Here, you’ll see a checkbox that lets you turn email notifications on or off. I tend to leave them off because I don’t want to get an email every time someone does something in my Google classes.

Classroom settings in G Suite

From the top-left corner navigation menu, you can also access archived classes and restore them if you like.

Now you’re ready to efficiently run your classes with Google Classroom!

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