Who knows what our classrooms will look like this fall? The only thing we can be sure of is the pandemic has shown us that technology, while it most certainly cannot replace a teacher, is likely here to stay. With that in mind, here are some time-saving Google Classroom tips to help whether you are teaching online, in-class, or (yikes!) both at once.

Also make sure to check out these 20 Free Chrome Extensions for teachers!

1. Customize Notifications

When setting up your Google Classroom, customize your notifications so that your inbox isn’t flooded every time you post an assignment. You can do this in Classroom Settings, and in individual Docs, Slides, or Sheets you’ve assigned by clicking on “Comments” then “Notifications”.

2. Invite Parents

Under the “Student” section, use the “Invite Guardians” function to give parents access to their child’s Classroom. This allows you to easily email parents from within Classroom as well.

3. Control Commenting

In your Stream Settings, you can control whether students can create posts, comment on posts you’ve made, or have the ability to comment at all.

4. Set Up Google Meet

For those online lessons, easily set up a Google Meet within Classroom. Go to Settings and select “Generate Meet Link.” Then choose to make it visible – it will show up under Classwork as a Meet icon and on your header, too. The beauty of this is that students will only be able to join when you are in the meeting, and cannot continue the meeting afterward, as long as you are the last person to log out. 

5. Create Subject Folders

Create Folders for each subject by pressing the “Plus” button and selecting “Topic.” Then when you make an assignment, you can select the topic you’d like it to go into.

6. Organize Your Folders

Organize your Classwork section by dragging and dropping Topics to the top or down lower. You can also drag assignments and materials from one folder to another. For example, current assignments can be added to a top folder, called This Week’s Work, then removed and dragged to the topic folder when completed. 

7. Make It Easy for Students to Check Feedback

You can create a Topic such as “Check Your Feedback” and leave it at the top of the Classwork section. When you’ve commented on students’ work, drag the assignment into this topic. At this point, it will become visible to students so they know to check their work. When the assignment is over, drag it back to its own topic.

8. Draw Students’ Attention to Certain Assignments

Within the Stream, you can click on the three dots on any assignment or post and select “Move to Top” to bring it back to the top, if you want to draw students’ attention to it again.

9. Schedule Work Ahead of Time

Plan ahead and schedule your posts to come out on a certain date and time – instead of clicking “Assign” when you’ve created the post, click “Schedule” and select your timeframe.

10. Reuse Your Work

Reuse old posts by clicking the “Plus” button then “Reuse Post.” You’ll be prompted to select the post from other classrooms you’re connected to, including your archived classes. No need to reinvent the wheel this way!

11. Check for Plagiarism

Use the “Run Originality Reports” feature when creating assignments. This allows you and your students to check for plagiarized material.

12. Make Rubrics

When creating an assignment, you can create a rubric by clicking +Rubric to go with it and mark the assignment with the rubric. Students will be able to see the rubric as well, and rubrics can also be reused for other assignments. 

13. Make Templates for Students

To avoid students having to create assignments from scratch, create a template in Docs, Slides, or Sheets and share it with students in the assignment by selecting “Make a Copy for Each Student.”

14. Find Student Work in Google Drive

Use Google Drive to easily find student work. Classroom automatically creates a self-titled folder in Drive and will subdivide student work the same way you’ve organized it in Classroom.

15. Check on Student Progress in One Place

In the Students section, click on the student’s name to see all of their work, and you can further subdivide to Turned In, Returned, and Missing.

16. Grade Assignments in One Place

You can also select the “Grades” tab on the top of your Classroom and see all assignments so you can grade in one place.

17. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Use the keyboard instead of your mouse when entering grades for students: simply push the down arrow to move to the next student.

18. Return Work to Students with One Click

For assignments that do not require individual feedback, you can grade them one at a time, then when you’re finished, click on “Grades.” Hit the three dots beside the assignment, and choose “Return all.” This will return all the assignments with one click!

19. Download Grades in a Spreadsheet

At report card time, get an easy-to-read spreadsheet of your grades by opening a single assignment and clicking on Settings. It will give you the option of copying all grades to Google Sheets, downloading all grades as CSV, or downloading just that assignment’s grades. 

20. Wrap up the School Year with One Click

Last but not least, on your way out of your classroom in June, select the three dots on the classroom tile, and click on “Archive.” This will preserve all of your hard work but will prevent student access. Class dismissed!

Reopening plans vary by state – and even district. It’s going to be an unusual and stressful year for most teachers. These Google Classroom tips will be particularly helpful for keeping consistency whether teaching online or in person.

20 Time-Saving Google Classroom Tricks for Teachers