Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Introducing Chromebooks to Littles & Beyond!

As we are getting back into the full swing of things over here... many teachers have already jumped head first back into Google Classroom! Here are some tips that I'd like to share from my experience of working with many primary teachers in my own district:

Practice #1

  1. Signing into their Google Accounts on a Chromebook: Yes, this can seem painful at first, but trust me... it only takes practice and within a week or two, even the youngest students will master this step! To help make this a little less painful, make sure to prepare cheatsheet cards for each student so they can quickly access their email and password information. To help you, make sure you keep a master list of their emails and passwords so you can quickly help students who misplace their cards. If you're in our district, remember we have to help a student reset their password, if their default account information isn't working or they forgot their password from last year. 
  2. After students successfully sign into their accounts, have them sign out and practice signing back into their account. This repeated cycle will help give your students extra practice, while you're helping the students who are struggling to sign into their accounts for the first time. 

Practice #2 (Same day or the next day)

  1. Joining your Google Classroom! I highly recommend and encourage teachers to set up and have their students join a Google Classroom, even if they don't envision using it right away. Google Classroom allows you to assign, create and manage digital activities for your students. Once students are connected to your Google Classroom, you can quickly share links, resources, templates and pull your student names to create classes in other online tools such as Epic! Books
  2. How can students find Google Classroom
    • Open Chrome and start typing Google Classroom... before they even finish Google Classroom, it will show up in the drop-down options for students to click on. Even if they misspell it, Google will know that they meant Google Classroom and it will usually show up as the top option in the search results. 
    • Or they can go directly to to access this tool. 
    • Have students click on their App Launcher on their Chromebook (white circle in the bottom left) and look for Google Classroom's icon or search for Google Classroom. 

Pro Tip: You can personalize the shelf on a Chromebook with a two-finger tap on the icons on the shelf to remove them OR add new ones from within the App Launcher. This can be very helpful for students and can be used in addition to or instead of bookmarking websites in Chrome! 

    • Once they reach Google Classroom, if it's their very first time, they will be asked to confirm their Google Account by clicking "continue." Next, they will have to select their role. This year, this step became much more student-friendly because Google added pictures to help identify their role as a "student' or "teacher." This really isn't as important for students as it is for teachers. The only difference between accounts is the fact that only TEACHERS can create classes. Teachers can create and join Google Classrooms as students, but students can only join classrooms. So if your teacher account isn't showing you the option to create a Google Classroom, then you need to reach out to your TSS/IT Department to switch your role in the Admin Panel. The last step for your students is to enter your unique join code to officially join your Google Classroom.
    • Finally, your students are connected to your Google Classroom and are ready for you to add an assignment or activity to complete once they successfully join your Google Classroom! 
      • Start with adding a question! These can be either short answer or multiple choice. Personally, I love multiple choice questions for opinion-based surveys. For example, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Then give your students 4-5 options to select from and then once everyone has submitted their choice, you can have a quick number talk about the data. Quick, simple and fun!! 

    Practice #3 Introducing Skills Through Google Slides

    After seeing the activity, Chromebook Skills created and shared by Ben Cogswell and Ryan O'Donnell on Twitter, I wanted to expand this activity to help our students focus on each of the key skills. Here are the three activities that I created based on this one Google Slides presentation:

    Hopefully, these ideas were helpful for you as you begin to introduce Chromebooks to your students! Please feel free to share these ideas with other teachers and add any ideas in a comment that you've found helpful in your own classrooms!