Google Classroom: A great introduction

Many of you have emailed me to ask about Google Classroom and when you might get access to it. According to Google, it will be turned on any day for our system. We still have some unanswered questions about how it works with multiple domains ( vs., but we will get those answered as soon as it launches.

That being said, Kelly Fitzgerald from Leander ISD has done an incredible job of identifying each of the icons you will come into contact with in all of the menus that we have seen in the Beta launch. It will truly help you get started stepping into this new product. Be sure to scroll through her slides below.

Also, keep an eye out on the Google links in the sidebar of this blog as we add new links to helpful resources Google Classroom specific links.

As for the actual launch date of Google Classroom, if you are logged into your school Google account, go to Google Classroom. If it gives you a welcome screen and offering to let you create a class, you are good to go. If it gives you the screen telling you about it coming soon, then we are not live yet. Just hang in there. It will go live any day.

New Look to Google Drive

Another friend of mine here in Texas, Amy Mayer, has done a nice job of sharing the differences in the new look of Google Drive. She based her video off of a blog post from Alice Keeler.

Aside from the look of Drive changing, the biggest change is now instead of having the option to look at Shared items, it now says Incoming. New word, pretty much the same outcome. Hope you find this helpful.

Google Calendars – Adding Attachments to Events

So you’ve posted an upcoming test date on your Google Calendar and have it shared with parents and students. You might even have it embedded in your blog. Excellent. How about adding the test review to it? If you put your review is in Google Drive using Docs or one of the other tools, it’ll be so easy to share it out using this process. Or, maybe there’s an upcoming student trip that requires a permission slip. You sent one home, but sometimes they just don’t make it to the parents. Add it to the event on your calendar where parents can easily download it.

Again, let Richard Byrne walk you through the process.
How to Add Attachments to Google Calendar Events

Google Calendars – Create and Share

The Google Calendar portion of your Google Apps account is a great tool that you can use to keep parents informed of what’s happening and when. Parents and students can subscribe to the calendar using their own Google accounts and even have the dates feed into their smartphones if they so wish. You also have the added bonus of being able to embed a Google Calendar into your class blog. The next few blog posts will introduce you more to Google Calendar and the things you can do with them.

Let’s start with the basics. My friend, Richard Byrne, made several great videos about this tool. Here’s one dealing with creating new calendars (because you can make more than one in your account) and using the Share feature to allow others to collaborate on it with you. Think team teachers needing to add/edit due dates or coach/assistant coach needing to add/delete/change game or practice times.

A Short Guide to Creating and Sharing Google Calendars


Google Forms for Assessment

This is a great video to get you into the basics of using Google Forms to create assessments for your students. Yes, there is a way to make it grade automatically, but it is a pretty geeky process. I’ll share it in a later post in case you are interested. As always, feel free to email or call me if you want any help integrating this into your classroom.

Cleaning Up YouTube

NOTE: The post below was from an email that Jacovia Cartwright sent out. It’s a great tool that I thought was worth sharing here. Thanks for letting me repost this, Jacovia.

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In our lessons we sometimes use YouTube as a resource. YouTube is great, but the most annoying thing about YouTube is that it comes with ads on most videos. The ad’s are at times not that bad, especially since you can skip some of them within 5 seconds. Then there are the ads that require you to watch the whole 2 minute clip and at times can be inappropriate for the students to see. This might be an issue you are facing daily and I thought I would offer a little assistance with working around the ads.

My favorite process is using “SafeShare”

The website is “


1. Open safeshare in one tab and in a different tab find the video that you want to show on youtube.
2. Once you are playing the Youtube video you want, copy the URL either from clicking the share button under the youtube video, or copying from the URL bar at the top.
3. Once it’s copied go to the safeshare tab and paste the URL in the blank space that reads “Paste a YouTube Link”.
4.Then click the green Generate button. You will then see a link that says “take me to the safe view”. Click that link and you’re all set with an ad free video.

If you see a low quality video make sure that you have clicked the gear icon on the bottom right so the video shows in the highest quality possible. I have included a screenshot of the page below as a reference to make sure you are on the correct website. You won’t be able to click the image on this email to see the video I used. Here is a link to the safeshare video that I used for this process.

There are other options out there like chrome browser plugins and a service called ViewPure. I have found that the safeshare process has been the most consistent for me and I have not had any issues like the others that I’ve tried. I hope this helps you out in some way with your lessons.