Do you remember the Rolaids commercial – How do you spell relief? R.O.L.A.I.D.S? I have found a great way to relieve my frustration and stress as the technology teacher. My greatest frustration last year was spending 10-15 minutes of the 45 minute instruction time I had demonstrating on the projector how to complete the assignment. To my utter frustration, almost half the students in my class would have to be individually directed because they would not know what to do. Enter Google Classroom. I had been toying with the idea for several years about posting my lessons in Google Classroom, but was just not motivated enough to tackle the learning curve to incorporate it in my daily routine. Then a few things happened to change my perspective and give me the extra will power needed to head that direction. First, a third grade co-teacher, Shawna Casey, accompanied the regulars, Pam Cranford and myself, to the annual TCEA Convention in Austin in February. She came back to her classroom and began using Google Classroom. I was fortunate enough to hear her present on it at the Area 7 TCEA Convention in June. Seeing first hand examples really motivated me. I sat in that session and created all 15 of my classes, ready for the new school year. The next thing that clinched the deal was discovering Alice Keeler’s well documented website on all things Google Classroom. Alice talks extensively about posting EVERYTHING in Google Classroom, even if it is just an announcement or a notice. I decided to take the plunge. From the very first week of school, I have posted every assignment in Google Classroom. There was some initial frustration training students, especially my third graders who were not familiar with their gmail address. After five weeks, I can say 98% of my students can independently navigate the assignments. One of the great features of Google Classroom is how easily it pairs with the posting of Youtube videos. I created a fake student (wolab01) in a fake course (WOLab) so I can post the original lesson there. I then log in as wolab01 and use QuickTime Player on my macbook to screen record me doing the lesson. After uploading it to my Youtube channel, I post it as a tutorial video in the lesson. Now students can watch the video as often as they need to in order to compete the lesson. This has spared me from the frustration I use to have.
Another wonderful aspect of having my assignments posted in Google Classroom is no longer needing to leave a substitute teacher step by step instructions to show students how to complete an assignment. My daughter is expecting her 5th child any day, and it has relieved a lot of stress knowing that the sub lessons are done. The substitute teacher needs only to tell the students the name of the assignment.
If you are a G-Suite for Education school, I urge you to give Google Classroom a try. It will probably change your life, like it has done mine, for the better.