Titling assignments in Google Classroom for primary students takes some careful thought, but there are ways can support students with locating assignments. My transitional kindergarten students were able to login to Google Classroom, locate the assignment, open it, and work on the activity. This year, I want to try a new approach to titling assignments with my kindergarten students that I believe will be more efficient for my students and myself as a teacher.
Viewing Assignments as Students
I really like the way Alice Keeler suggests to title assignments in her blog: “Google Classroom: Numbering Assignments.” Her approach is to number assignments with the hashtag in front of the assignment title (i.e. #006 Number Sense in Slides).
Student View in Google Classroom Stream
TK focuses on number identification, so with no doubt in my mind even the youngest kiddos would be able to locate an assignment based on its number, AND find the OPEN button. Notice in the above image, an attachment (template) that requires a copy for each student DOES NOT appear in the students’ Google Classroom Stream. Providing a supporting visual may be helpful in this scenario. The teacher can choose to attach an image and set it as students can view file, to serve as an additional point of reference for students. Below is what students see in the Stream (place where assignments are posted) in Google Classroom.
Student View in Google Classroom Stream (with view only image)
Sample instructions/clues to help the kids locate the assignment:
- Look for the hashtag and numbers that say “#006” and looks like this (provide visual – on the board, on paper, etc.). Find the gray rectangle that says OPEN inside of it. OPEN starts with an O, O-P-E-N.
- Click where the hashtag and numbers are. It says “#006” and looks like this (provide visual).
- The assignment has a picture of a ________ (image) on it.
- Click where you see the hashtag and numbers again. Remember it says #006 and looks like this ____ (provide visual). You will see your name at the end of the title (words).
Teacher’s View on Setting up the Assignment
- Titling – Start with a hashtag and a number (example: #006), and then add a title for the assignment. #006 Number Sense in Slides
- Directions – Provide directions for the assignment, even if your students are not reading those kinds of words yet. Your students may become familiar with the wordage used in assignments and might learn a few words! You will want to encourage the parents of your students to check out the cool things they are doing with the Google Apps, so they will need to know the directions for the activity. You may also have a substitute who will need to refer to directions as well.
- Due Date – You can decide whether or not you want to have a due date for the assignment. The due date can be edited after you create the assignment. I do encourage you to have your students turn in assignments once they are completely done.
- Attachments – When creating an assignment, you have the options to attach something from your computer, a Doc from your Drive, a YouTube Video, or a link. Depending on the activity you are doing will depend on the setting of how you push it out to students.
- Students can view file – students will not be able to do anything with the file except look at it. (Students WILL see the attachment in their Stream.)
- Students can edit file – the kids can collaborate within the SAME document. (Students WILL see the attachment in their Stream.)
- Make a copy for each student – students will get a copy of a document that you are attaching. (Students WILL NOT see the attachment in their Stream.)
- Attach Image (optional) – In the event that your attachment needs to have a copy made for each student, you can also attach an image. The image can be uploaded from your computer (click on the paperclip to attach) or from your Drive (click on the triangle logo for Drive). Be sure to set the attachment as Students can view file.
Move Older Assignment to Top of Stream
It is good for you to know that an assignment can be moved to the top of the Stream in Google Classroom. Let’s say your students have some assignments that take a couple days to complete, and are also working on collaborative work as well. You can move an older assignment to the top.
Teacher view of moving assignment to the top:
If you use this setting, this means that students can most likely assume that the assignment they are working on will typically be on the top. While it is a cool feature, I want my students to know how to scroll in the Stream to look for an assignment.
Perspective of a Kinder Teacher
The way we teach our students to identify something, such as locating an assignment in Google Classroom, is how they are going to remember to complete the task in the future. We should strive to have best practices with our students. My littles’ subsequent teachers may use this hashtag/number method or one that is similar. I should be supporting my kids and helping them develop the skill of identifying/locating an assignment. Locating an assignment gives the kids opportunities to practice listening and following directions, drawing their attention to things such as titles and bold letters, being exposed to new vocabulary such as “title” and “assignment”, and beginning to identify words like OPEN. Think of how all of that information can be transferred to other skills within the classroom and digitally.