As we fast approach the end of the year, many school districts are trying to come up with amazing ways to keep school spirit alive within the confines of Social Distancing. But how do you do keep the lines of communication flowing when so many of our students are getting bombarded with emails and virtual meeting requests that they often find themselves far from achieving Inbox Zero?
The answer might be easier than you think … Enter Google Classroom.
Google Classroom is one of the most versatile applications in the G-Suite lineup. We all know that it has the ability to organize your students into a classroom as well as providing the opportunity for you to create assignments and share documents … BUT
Did you know that Google Classroom also has the ability to keep both your students AND your students' families all on the same calendar at the same time?
The One Feature That Google Classroom Has … That No Other App Has
It's true that I love using Google Classroom to share assignments and keep track of my virtual classroom, but I also love Google Classroom's ability to interact and deeply integrate with Google Calendar.
If you click into the Classwork tab, you will notice a menu that shows access to Google Meet (if turned on), Google Calendar, and Google Drive.
If you click on this Google Calendar button, you will be taken into the Application where you will find that Google Classroom has created an individual calendar for your unique Google Classroom. What this means is that anything that you put on this Google Classroom is now visible by all of your students.
Wait … What??? Huh???
Many teachers use this feature without even knowing it. They create an assignment and give it a due date. From that point, Google Classroom automatically adds the due date onto the Google Classroom and creates a notification for each member of the classroom (both students and teachers).
But did you know that you can access this calendar directly and add items to it such as important dates, multi-day activities and anything else that you can think of? (Pretty awesome huh?)
But what is even better than that is …
Keep Parents Notified Of EOY Activities
If you ever have worked in Google Classroom, you might have seen the People tab. In this section, you can add additional teachers and students. But, did you know that you can also add parents?
Parents often ask if they can be included in my Google Classroom. This is something that is not allowed, both by Google Classroom and by your District Administrator. They can however be granted access to either daily or weekly emails giving them a summary of activities and grades that happen each week.
Classroom email summaries for guardians
As a guardian, you can receive email summaries showing your student’s progress in classroom.
Note: You can only receive summaries for students using Classroom with a G Suite account. For details, see About Classroom user accounts.
- You can choose the frequency of the emails, such as daily or weekly. Note: Daily means Monday to Friday. You won't receive email summaries on Saturdays or Sundays.
- You can unsubscribe or remove yourself from Classroom at any time.
Guardian email summaries include:
- Missing work—Work that’s late at the time the email was sent
- Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or work that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails)
- Class activity—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers
How Can This Feature Be Useful?
There are several advantages to connecting parents with your student accounts in Google Classroom.
- Once a parent is connected to a student, they remain connected for all additional classes both present and in the future.
- Parents can see student activity in the classroom including grades.
- Parents can now be sent announcements that don't look like traditional emails that they may ignore.
It is this last feature that I am most excited about. The ability to reach out to parents with something that doesn't look like a traditional email is key to keeping everyone involved and engaged, especially as the school year closes and the inbox gets cluttered.
How Can You Use Google Classroom For Parent Communication?
Are you looking for great ideas to keep your students and parents engaged as the school year winds down? Please check out additional resources on Google Classroom right here on TeacherCast and subscribe to our educational network of podcasts today.
Do you have a suggestion for keeping in touch with parents? Please leave a comment below.
My Review of Google Classroom:
Google Classroom is one of the most important and often used applications in the G-Suite system. In this post, we take a look at several ways that you can communicate with parents through it's deep integration with Google Calendar.