Well, folks… they did it again. The dynamic duo of Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller, EdD teamed up to bring us another Google Classroom book. Believe it or not, this one is even better than the first (I know, I know – I thought there was no way, too). Are you ready to see what this one is all about? Book 19 from the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up is 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom by Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller, EdD.
I’ve been asked if it is an extension of the first Google Classroom book. I’ve heard it said, “I don’t need that one; I’ve got the first one.” To that I say, “Uh, yeah… you do.”
You see, this book and the first are nothing alike, other than the “50 Things” bit, the format, and the integration of Google Classroom. Beyond that, this book has much more “meat on the bones”. The first book was terrific, don’t doubt that for a minute! It is where I direct educators who want to know more about Google Classroom as a tool and how to get started. THIS book is where I direct educators who want to use Google Classroom to engage and empower students. 50 Things Further is unique in that every single way to use Google Classroom Alice & Libbi discuss how it relates to a student-centered approach. I love, love, love that they aren’t just telling you how awesome Google Classroom is as a tool, but are sharing the incredible things your students can do by using Google Classroom!
Many times we (this is a real “we,” as in, I’m 100% guilty of this, too) become so enamored by the new “shiny” tool that we lose sight of why we are using it.
If the tech doesn’t serve a purpose, if it doesn’t make the lesson more efficient, more interactive, more… just more… then WHY would we use it? Don’t let the tech drive the lesson, but let the lesson drive the tech.
Alice & Libbi get this better than anyone I’ve seen. The students drive their reasons for using Google Classroom. They show how the tech makes starting class, transitions, procedures, directions, giving feedback, grading (ugh, current soapbox item for me, but that’s another post for another day), collaboration, and connections more efficient. They give evidence of how Google Classroom makes student learning stick by giving the power to the students.
Some of my favorites from this book:
- Numbering assignments in Google Classroom – #001, #093, #182, etc. Makes it easier to find assignments through keyboard shortcuts, faster to tell students which assignment is missing, and organizes the Google Classroom folders!
- Use Google Classroom in conjunction with a website or Learning Management System (LMS). Many teachers in my district are using Google Classroom to manage day-to-day lessons in their classroom while putting grades, lesson plans, communication with parents, etc. in our LMS. This is proving to work very well together with the LMS serving as communication and Google Classroom serving as organization.
- Using hashtags in comments! I REALLY love this idea! George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, shared in a workshop I attended that we should hashtag our Google Drive. That idea worked wonders for me in the organization of Google Drive, and this idea from Alice & Libbi will be just as functional, I believe!
- Peer editing – I love that students can peer edit within Google Classroom. Because it is a closed environment and protects students from people outside the classroom, I can safely put student work here and accountability partners in class can edit and revise one another’s work!
- Yearlong journals – giving students a space to reflect is so important! I learned from The Writing on the Classroom Wall by Steve Wyborney that reflective writing is one of the most powerful practices in which we can engage ourselves and our students. Giving students a writing journal template allows them a safe space to collect and transcribe their own thoughts.
- Providing challenges and not assignments is one of my very favorite ideas to come from this book! I love that the authors suggest giving a challenge with complex questions so students can show their thinking, rather than a detailed description which would create 100 of the exact same assignments turned in.
With these amazing ideas in mind, my implementation plan is quite simple! I already use Google Classroom in the media setting. I intend to use the hashtag in comments and numbering assignments tips from this book. I will also implement a writing journal for each of my students. This will be a space for them to reflect on books they have read. At the beginning of every media class, they will be responsible for accessing Google Classroom and spending 5 minutes reflecting on one of the books they will be returning. This reflection may take any form they’d like, but they must write and it must be about a book they are returning. It is my hope that this will encourage students to read, keeping them accountable, but also freeing them to write about it as they’d like without the standard “write a summary” prompt. I’m so thankful that I didn’t have someone telling me what to do with #DBC50Summer as I have finished reading each book, and I have taken so much more out of this experience than I likely would have if this was a prescribed reflection. Don’t you think the same is true for our children’s reading?
The Flipgrid for 50 Things To Go Further With Google Classroom is located here, with the password DBCSummer. A big thank you to Andrea Paulakovich for the amazing idea to include a space for global collaboration and continued learning as a book study for ALL of the DBC books! Access her #DBC50Summer here! Alice & Libbi have set us up for success by providing an updated tour of Google Classroom at 50thingsbook.com. You can also access Alice’s Google Classroom page here, her website/blog here, and find the templates and add-ons mentioned in the book here! As I mentioned in the first Google Classroom book, these are rabbit holes. Proceed with caution; you will NOT want to leave all the awesome that is provided on those websites! I also highly recommend following Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) as she is constantly tweeting tips and tricks for teachers AND students about using GAfE (Google Apps for Education)!
The 20th book in the DBC line up is finally here! OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am honestly in shock that we’ve reached this point in the #DBC50Summer journey! The 20th book is one of my favorites; it’s a short book packed with all kinds of “relevance” (wait for it…) – written by Denis Sheeran, Instant Relevance (see what I did there…) is a MUST-HAVE for any educator’s collection! Blog coming soon!
Did you get your copy of 50 Things to Go Further with Google Classroom yet? What are you waiting for? You want this!