In this article, I am going to share some of my ideas about how to keep Google Classroom neat and organized, as well as how to use Jamboard as an effective whiteboard.
Tools and Tips
Google Classroom (GC) has become the primary instructional platform for most teachers in Ontario since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I like it and I hate it. I like it because it is such a powerful platform for teachers to deliver content to students. I hate it because it can sometimes be messy and challenging when it comes to organizing content. It took me a while, but I found a way to organize it.
Following are some tips to stay organized.
1. Organize your content by date and week numbers
Create a topic before you upload your materials and homework. Name your topic by week number and date. For example, Week 1 (January 4 – 8). In this way, you always know when you taught a specific topic.
2. Label your activities with types, topics and dates
After you sort out your date and week numbers, you can upload your lessons and materials. When you upload them, label them with types, topics and dates. This helps you keep track of your teaching content. For example, label materials and indicate their types, such as test, homework, notes, or lesson. (See Picture 1). The reason for doing so is to help your students understand what materials they should be working on. I had this problem last September. It took me a while to figure out that my students did not understand what these uploads were for. I needed to better explain to them different types of activities. After that, one student asked if I could label them so that she’d know which were homework and which were lesson materials.
3. Bonus: Create a library for your students!
You can create a library on GC and encourage your students to read more. My library (Read for Fun) includes reading, grammar and writing tips. My students love it.
Jamboard is very user-friendly, especially for lower level students. It does not require “special tech knowledge” to sign up or sign in. As long as your students know how to use GC, they know how to use Jamboard.
- Use Jamboard as your whiteboard.
I normally use Jamboard as a whiteboard. After finishing the class, I save the notes and upload them to GC so that students can always have access to the notes from class. You can even upload your Jamboard notes one day ahead to help students preview the lesson. One thing I did not do with my lower level students is use Jamboard to interact with them in class because they always mistakenly delete pages and content instead of writing things down.
- Organize Jamboard by date and topic.
A shortfall of Jamboard is that it does not allow users to create folders. I like to stay organized by putting my content in folders, but Jamboard does not have this function. This isn’t the end of the world. There are two ways to keep your Jamboard notes organized:
a. Label each note with the date and topic.
When you create a Jamboard, name it with a date and a topic. In this way, you always know when you taught specific topics. See Picture 2.
b. Create folders on Google Drive and organize the notes there.
If you still think that looking at all the notes on Jamboard is too cluttered, then you can create folders on Google Drive to organize your notes there. See Picture 3.
- Be Careful!
Don’t forget to tell your students to download Jamboard on their phones or tablets in order to be able to open the notes. The notes cannot be opened if they don’t have the app on their devices.
What are your online teaching tips? What are your favourite online tools and resources? Leave your comments here and share your expertise. Next time, I will share my tips about how to use WhatsApp to interact with lower level students, and how to use plug-ins to improve your Google Meet experience.