Listen to this post here by the author: Teacher Talk Podcast: 5 Things I Love About Google Classroom
Teachers: does this look familiar?
Too many papers taking up space in your classroom, your house, and your car? Sadly, this is often the life of an English teacher or any teacher. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with paperwork, even hurting your back carrying several bags home with you every night and weekend?
As a middle grades ELA and Reading teacher, volunteer, wife, and mother of three, I am always looking for ways to simplify the process in order to keep my sanity and health in tact. Educators often assume that large loads of paper equate to the teacher life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Technology offers excellent tools to streamline the load and make the teacher life a simpler one, while still creating positive student growth.
My local system moved to implementing Google Classroom this year, and it has streamlined my teaching in several ways, but for this post I would like to focus on five ways Google Classroom has simplified my teacher life.
Google Classroom improves your mental and physical health.
Many teachers give and give, never putting their health first. They assume hard work and suffering just comes with being a teacher. However, I don’t believe this has to be the case. We can’t be our best for the children in our classroom, if we are tired and worn all the time. Paper can be a major hassle, and cause for stress. Think about a time a student randomly hands you a paper in the hallway, and then another teacher calls your name, and then you need to run to the bathroom before the next class begins, and before you know it…wait…where did that student’s paper go? Who needs that kind of worry? Not teachers. Google classroom offers an excellent system in which students must upload their assignments to the classroom. It puts it back in the students’ hands. A paperless classroom also frees up teachers from carrying loads of papers from school to home and back again. This limits stress and physical pain. The result is more energy to do other things like daily exercise. It’s amazing how the little things can add up to big problems over time. Improve your level of stress and back pain, go paperless with Google Classroom.
Take a look at this podcast on how to be successful with Google Classroom with Alice Keeler.
Google Classroom Keeps Everything Organized
Have you ever had that one student who will never write his name on his paper? Then, you spend precious class time asking who wrote the paper, and half then time the student can’t recognize his own handwriting. This teacher problem is solved now with Google Classroom. The paper is submitted from the student electronically and he doesn’t even have to type his name. This one fantastic feature alone drives me to want to use Google Classroom for a purely paperless classroom. Watch this video and do the Paperless Happy Dance!
Google Classroom is Simple for All Learners
If you love to play around with different technologies with students, you come to realize that different technologies work better with different students, but not all of them. Google Classroom is streamlined and easy to use for all levels of students, which empowers them to do amazing things in the classroom. However, it also keeps it simple for the teacher, allowing me to use it as a homebase (so to speak) for how everything is run. Students can easily work from any device, and do not have to ask their parents for help, which is a great benefit for progressing more quickly with their learning. Watch these videos on how Google Classroom saves time with better workflow solutions!
Google Classroom Differentiates for All Learners
The dreaded question for any teacher, “Mrs. Farmer, what do I do now?” As teachers, we never want to hear those words, but those words will come IF we plan one lesson for all students. This just doesn’t work if you want to bring out excellence in each and every student. Google Classroom allows the teacher to front load assignments ahead of time. Basically, it flips the learning and puts the materials in their hands. Teachers can upload long term projects as well as short term assignments. Also, teachers can differentiate per class or per student, depending on the need. In this way, students can move on when needed, while others can slow down and get help in areas of need. This is a huge advantage for classroom workflow, and happy kids. Overall that equates to a happy teacher. Watch these videos on how to differentiate your classroom!
Google Classroom Works Great with Google Docs
Google Docs is an excellent format for student writing. It saves automatically, which students love because they never have to worry about losing their work. It also has useful features in Tools such as the research tool. This tool allows students to type their paper and research a topic on the same page. This keeps students from clicking on various tabs and going back and forth. Students love it because it saves time and frustration. Students caught on quickly to Google Docs and have benefitted from it. The research tools also helps with MLA citations and footnotes. Watch this excellent video on how research tools help with students’ writing.
Have I convinced you yet? These are 5 great ways in which Google Classroom has simplified my classroom and made me a more effective teacher. Although, I think I may know best, truly our students are our greatest teachers. My students are not wanting to leave my class because they have control over the learning. They aren’t waiting on me. Through Google Classroom, they are in charge of the process of their work. I get to then work as a coach and guide for their learning. Simple, but effective.