I love me some Google Suite. But I hate Google Classroom.
There. I said it. Google docs and the rest of the suite for education is amazing. Google Classroom is not. The main reason I am not a fan is that it is so generic and not very customizable. I like pretty things that I can manipulate to look the way that I want them to look. Google Classroom doesn’t work like that. But that’s not my problem.
I thought my students were lying to me. They kept telling me they had no idea that there was work due.
This issue had arisen in my classes a few years ago. Every once in awhile, students would tell me that they had no idea that an assignment was due or coming up, and that they couldn’t find it, despite my having put it in Google Classroom, like a good little teacher. I thought my students were lying to me. They kept telling me they had no idea that there was work due. Then, my entire Drama 3 class, full of students who’d known me for years, told me that they couldn’t see an assignment. I started to believe… just a little.
Finally, we went to distance learning, and I was the parent trying to help my daughter maneuver Google Classroom. We knew she had work due, but could not find it. When we finally found the assignment, I figured out the problem– it didn’t have a due date on it. Now… there are a variety of reasons not to put a due date on assignments. Mine include not wanting them to turn it in, as well as repeated assignments, among other things that I can’t think of in the moment… because I’m trying to get to the hack. Anyway… if you don’t give it a due date, it does not show up as an upcoming assignment on students’ screens.
So, ok, now I know. But kids are doing all of their work online- shouldn’t they know that they have work??? Yes. They know they have work. But they still can’t find it. Just this morning, I searched for half an hour for a health assignment for my daughter in her GC. I finally had to ask the teacher, who definitely thought I was nuts, emailing her that she needed to put due dates on it, when I’m sure she was told she didn’t need to to it.
TRUST ME. YOU NEED TO PUT DUE DATES ON ASSIGNMENTS IN GOOGLE CLASSROOM.
You can link students directly to the assignments, or to an entire topic in Google Classroom.
That’s not the life changing part yet. This is where it gets life changing: by clicking on the 3 dots to the right of any topic or assignment in Google Classroom, you can copy the link to the assignment. In and of itself, this is no big deal. But, if you combine this with other tools, it is pure magic!
I have a website for each class and a Blog that I update weekly (which updates the website). This is redundant, but I do it this way, because the blog is accessible to anyone, while the website is only accessible to users within our organization. By posting the links to the units or assignments into the Blog, with the due dates, everyone can find the assignments they need to find, without having to beg me to find it for them.
YOU. ARE. WELCOME.
of course, this probably won’t matter anymore, beginning next week, because my district just bought another management tool for assignments, that supposedly integrates with Google Classroom, but I will believe it when I see it. Until then….