By Andie Worsley
Most 21st Century educators have heard of Google Classroom, the amazing, free web-based platform creative by Google. According to support.google.com, “Classroom saves time and paper, and makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized.”
According to me, an elementary educator, “Classroom is a game changing tool that sparks student interests and makes my life as a classroom teacher so much easier!”
If you haven’t implemented Google Classroom in your classroom yet, I’m going to share six simple, yet engaging, ways to begin implementing the most basic (and most wonderful) feature of Google Classroom: The question feature.
If you’re anything like me, you squealed with excitement when Google launched the new question feature in Fall 2015. Immediately, my mind began racing with hundreds of ideas about how to use this new component of Google Classroom.
Since you may get bored (and feel overwhelmed) reading a list of 100+ great ideas, I’ve decided to cut that list down to these six simple ideas.
1. Morning Question
Ask a question first thing in the morning to get students’ minds warmed up for the day. This could be a question about a skill or topic from the day before, or a question regarding a future skill or topic so students can “show what they know.” Better yet, it could simply be a brainteaser or riddle for students to solve.
2. Exit Ticket
You may want to use the question feature as an exit ticket. Post a question about something you covered in your classroom that day to gather formative assessment data to fuel your instruction for the next day. The best part: You can read student responses right from your phone, tablet or laptop anytime.
Tip: Turn the ‘students can reply to each other’ feature off for these types of questions.
3. Discussion Starter
Do you participate in read alouds in your classroom? Do your students engage in discussions with accountable talk? If so, let the question feature spark those discussions. Post a question from your daily read aloud within Google Classroom, leave the ‘Students can reply to each other’ feature turned on and let them go for it.
I love reading my students’ discussions, especially when they use accountable talk like, “I agree with… I disagree with… Because…” Discussions with accountable talk show me who really understands the text.
4. Pose Questions With State-Testing Vocab for Guided Reading
Do your students suffer from the dreaded state assessments? Do you do guided reading? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions then this next idea is for you. Use the question feature to post a general question using fun state testing vocabulary like “significant” or “impactful” for students in different guided reading groups to respond to. Not only will this help engage your students with testing style language, it will also give you a chance to reflect on student understanding during guided reading.
5. Student-Created Discussion Question
Let your students take the wheel! Post a student-created discussion question in Google Classroom. Not only will the student that created the question feel a sense of pride, but his or her classmates will put a lot of thought into answering a question that was created by one of their peers. Win-WIn!
6. Pair a Question With a Link
Did you know you can post a link to go along with your question? Link to an educational video or a great digital resource t your question to increase student ownership and create a flipped lesson, all at the same time! The best part, just as you can see which students have completed a Google Classroom assignment, you can also see which students have answered the question.
As with any technology integration tool, you need to lay down ground rules about what is and isn’t appropriate to post when responding to a question. You may want to play around with what works best in your classroom regarding whether or not to leave the ‘Students can reply to each other’ and ‘Students can edit answer’ features on.
In the seven years I’ve been teaching, no other tool has compared to Google Classroom. It has been one of the easiest and most effective tools for me to implement in my classroom. I hope you’ll give one of these six simple question ideas a try in your own classroom.