10 Smart and Simple Ways to Kick off the School Year with the G Suite for Education

Educators across the globe are inundated with tasks they hope to accomplish prior to the start of the upcoming school year. However, thanks to the G Suite for Education, there are many smart and simple ideas teachers can do right now to streamline their workflow, increase communication and share learning.  This blog will explore 10 smart and simple ideas for using the G Suite for Education this school year!

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Infographic for blog. Click image for PDF.

google-calendar-logo.jpg1. Keep Track with Google Calendar

Google Calendar makes it extremely simple for educators to share and organize their calendars, create and add appointment slots, schedule Hangouts, add important test dates or events, and invite collaborators or participants. Users may share their calendars by embedding it on their Google Sites website or by sharing the calendar using Google Classroom.  Google Calendar also makes it simple to add district or administrative calendars to your calendar allowing you to to view multiple calendars on one page.

2. Create a Community with Google Classroom

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Sharing and posting assignments has never been easier! Google Classroom allows educators to set due dates, provide instant feedback, send and receive private comments, and update students and parents on missing assignments. Teachers may also  post announcements, blog questions, surveys, and quizzes all within Google Classroom. Students are able to join their teacher’s classroom by either an email invitation or a class code. Teachers may share administrative privileges with co-teachers and/or choose to keep parents involved by inviting them to join and see their student’s work as well.

3. Join a Community with Google Plus or Twitter

It took me a few months to get the swing of things using the social media platforms Google Plus and Twitter, but the payoff has been substantial. Use Google Plus to join a community of like-minded educators and find out about the latest practices, newest download.pngtools, upcoming events, or best resources. Post a question and crowd-source hundreds of answers within minutes! Personally, I have found Twitter to be my favorite resource for personalized professional development. Join thousands of educators online in Twitter Chats and save resources right into your Google Drive!

4. Take Inventory Using Google Forms and Sheets

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Google Forms makes it simple to share a survey with students using a link, QR Code, email, or Google Classroom. Take inventory in students interests, learning habits, goals, concerns, learning styles, and questions. Share a Form with parents and learn about their questions and concerns as well. Collect contact information, volunteer availability, and even have parents sign up for conferences using the Choice Eliminator Add-on which will allow parents to select a time while only displaying available slots. All survey results will be archived into a Google Sheet allowing you to sort, share and filter.

5. Create a Website or Portfolio with Google Sites

Logo_of_Google_Sites (1).pngThe new Google Sites makes it extremely easy for educators to add information directly from their Google Drive by dragging and dropping files. Add text-boxes, images, calendars, and more all while creating a fabulous website for your class. Or, use Google Sites to have students create a learning portfolio. Direct students to add required pages such for classes or topics, customize the colors and artwork, and embed video reflections. Privacy settings are customizable allowing students to share their site with the world or just a select few.

6. Unleash Your Inner Artist Using Google Drawings

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Google Drawings is a perfect tool for designing and personalizing your Google Classroom or website header. Also, consider creating a business card for your email signature, favicons for your websites, memes for your social media posts, posters for your classroom, or edit and customize your favorite images.

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7. Share News with Google Docs or Google Slides

Collaborating, sharing and receiving feedback has never been easier thanks to Google Docs. Create your classroom newsletter template first by adding columns, images, headers and footers. Share with a co-teacher or admin for feedback and collaboration. Make a copy of the template for editing each month while sharing and archiving past newsletters using Google Classroom. Or, you can embed the Google Doc right in your Google Site. Students and parents will be so excited to receive your newsletters.

8. Stay Organized Using Google Drive

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Now that you have created all these amazing surveys, images, Docs, Forms, and Sheets you will need to stay organized! Google Drive allows you to create folders and drag and drop files with ease. Place files into multiple folders using Shift Z. Share files with co-teachers or administrators with privileges to view, copy or edit. Color code your folders and and emojis for that special touch!

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9. Stay Connected with Gmail

Gmail is the perfect communication tool for educators. If you’d like to delay sending your emails, you can easily schedule the emails to go out at any time using the Chrome Extension Right Inbox for Gmail. Add custom signatures and auto-response messages using the Settings.  Or, request a “read receipt” to see the date and time important emails were read.

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10. Class Introductions Using Google Slides

Google Slides is one of the most diverse apps in the G Suite for Education. While many people use Google Slides for presentations, it is also a fabulous tool for jigsawing information or gathering formative assessment data. One smart and simple way to use Google Slides during the first few weeks of school is to have students import a slide introducing themselves to the class using a collaborative slide-deck with editing permissions.

Example: A teacher shares a collaborative slide-deck in Google Classroom entitled “Class Introductions” with editing permission granted to all students. Students then create a new slide of their own introducing themselves. Once finished, they add their slide to the collaborative deck by clicking on FILE>IMPORT SLIDES. Now, students may read their classmates’ slides and offer positive feedback, comments and questions. Don’t forget to add your slide as well.

In Summary

The G Suite for Education has so many useful applications that may help teachers streamline their workflow, get organized, communicate information, take inventory, and stay connected. I hope a few of these ideas have inspired you to kick off your school year.   How are you using the G Suite to prepare this year? I’d love to hear from you!

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