Utilizing Google Classroom, to be the Teacher I Want to be

--Originally published at Flipping my Spanish Classroom

I am always in search of the best way to run my class website and help organize student assignments. A couple of years ago our school became a Google school, and I started using Blogger to organize class. However, it wasn't quite doing everything that I wished, so I started looking for another solution. When I started hearing about Google Classroom, it seemed like a natural step. I began using Google Classroom for my school website last year, as a test to see how it would work. 

I found that I really loved Classroom, even though I wasn't using all of the available features. Students were able to easily get on the site, access assignments, and complete them. I could create an assignment in Google Docs or Sheets and have a copy created for each student. I loved that I could make students load presentations in one place that was easy to access quickly when they were giving in class presentations. No more flash drives, emailed presentations, the "I emailed it, didn't you get it?" That feature alone was a huge time and sanity saver. 
 
I found great sites that work with Google Classroom to make assignments even easier. EdPuzzle is my favorite for listening activities. Quizlet also works with Classroom so you can assign vocabulary practice. I also found some Google add-ons that are helping me better utilize students time and research. My current favorite is Insert Learning, which enables me to take a live web page and add questions, notes, and even word/phrase translations to make it comprehensible for all levels. 
 
This year, I have more consistent access to computers, so I am trying to incorporate even more online. I have created Google Forms for practice and quick mini-formative assessment checks. This will enable me to set up automated grading so students can get instant feedback. I am also using Forms for student goal setting and reflection for each unit, semester and for the year. I can schedule everything to make sure it is delivered on time. 
 
All of this will hopefully give me more time for what really matters, one-on-one time with the students. I want to be able to not only more purposefully help students, but also to be able to better monitor their work, especially conversations. I also want to be able to have individual meetings with students quarterly to discuss their progress and make plans to help them to continue to grow. Basically, I am hoping that I can focus on what I should be focusing on, helping the student move up the fluency. Updates to follow.

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