I have been using Google Classroom for many years and love the seamless integration with everything Google. The platform has greatly changed the way in which my classroom runs because of the efficiency it creates. However, there was one area of Google that was always missing, groups. I started my teaching career using Edmodo and it’s also a great platform (a post for another day). When Google Classroom came out it made more sense for me to adopt it since I was doing everything GSuite (originally GAFE). However, I quickly missed the ability to group my students digitally in Google Classroom like I was able to do in Edmodo. Student grouping is extremely powerful when differentiating, creating student centered classrooms, as well as managing student work.
The day has come that Google Classroom allows for grouping! Well, sort of…
Now, you can post announcements, assign work, and ask questions to specific students. This is a major step for Google’s learning management system and a win for teachers. Google Classroom now allows teachers to continue their differentiation and grouping by giving individual students or groups the work that pertains to them instead of posting multiple assignments that some students will not complete. This new feature also creates a more accurate reflection of work completion.
How to use this new feature in your classroom:
- Jigsaw assignments – assign parts of a larger task to certain students so that they can work on the specific task at hand. All group work will be turned in to you via classroom but only the work pertinent to the specific students will be visible to them.
- Assign work based on ability – in a differentiated classroom, you have students who are advanced, on target, below target and everywhere in between. You now can assign the work specific to the ability of the student, creating a more efficient distribution of the work assignment.
- Assign different assessments – as part of your differentiated classroom you need to assess different things. Now, you can assign separate Google Forms or other formative/summative assessment tools/tasks to specific students to target their monitoring needs.
- Assign extra practice to specific students – instead of posting extension work to the entire class and confusing students, you can now target those who need it.
- Assign work based on interest – you can provide different learning experiences to students based on their learning style(s) and/or interest. Now, simply assign individual students and they are ready to go!
This is a big step in the right direction from Google! It would be nice to have groups already made and stored (like it is in Edmodo) so that the teacher can post to a group as well as individuals.
Keep providing Google feedback, they do listen. If you have other ways you are using this resource in your room, share in the comments section!