I set up Google Classroom. Now what?

You have your Google Classroom set-up, but now what? Luckily, with Google Classroom you can integrate with many applications – but go slow.  Master one integration before you introduce the next.  Too many new tools and resources can be confusing for students and overwhelming for teachers.  You will find success when you take baby steps.  

Explore some great ways to take your Google Classroom to the next step b


Extension: Share to Classroom

Share to Classroom ext

  • Extensions are browser add-ons that act as shortcuts for your internet activity.
  • The “Share to Classroom” extension enables you to easily share web pages with your Google Classroom.
  • Simply click the extension button from any website, select how to share the page (as an announcement, question, or assignment), and click post.

See instructions here to install “Share to Classroom”


Google Drive/Google Classroom Connection

 About Classroom page.png


  • Your Google Classroom comes with a Drive folder as well as a calendar.
  • Google has made these easy to access by adding these links to your Classroom’s About page.
  • Click the Class Drive link to directly access the Drive folder for this Google Classroom
  • Classroom Calendar links to your Calendar within classroom, and displays your classroom assignments.
  • Google Calendar links to your Google Calendar, which displays all of your calendars in one spot.

Google Forms in the Classroom

assessment---google-forms.pngQuestion types


  • Google Forms are a great way to track student learning, act as exit tickets, and get feedback from parents and students.
  • Google Forms can also be created as self-grading quizzes, making monitoring student learning even easier!
  • New in 2017 is the ability for teachers to push graded Google Forms Quizzes back to the student’s record in Google Classroom!
  • Google Forms offer a variety of question types to meet all your surveying needs.



  • Student responses can be viewed at a glance on the responses tab, or in the responses spreadsheet.
  • The at a glance view shows allows you to view a summary of responses, all responses by question, as well as all responses by student.
  • Once the quiz is assigned via Classroom, you can easily view student completion, grade, and import auto-graded quizzes.

What Audience is Your Website For?

Who is Viewing Your Website_

Many schools fall into the trap of building a website for one audience – prospective families.  Even worse, some schools build a website with only current families in mind.  Often schools forget to think about the diverse audience that will be visiting their website.  This leads to many missed opportunities for donations, alumni connections, and community support.

While prospective parents should always remain the key audience, and a school’s sitemap, photos, and layout should cater to their needs, it is important to think about how a website can be welcoming and accommodating to all viewers.

Without a doubt, your largest audience is your future families.  Can they see themselves at your school?  Would their children fit in with the community?  What is a day in the life of a student like?  Prospective parents want to understand who you are just by exploring your webpage, assume they won’t come for a tour unless they have already fallen in love with your virtual presence.

The most frequent visitors to your site are likely current families.  Don’t let the information they need clutter your homepage though, it doesn’t speak to your other audiences.  Instead, use an internal portal or parent page to house the information they want to find with a simple click: calendars, forms, access to online grades, etc.  Don’t forget that they want simple, mobile-friendly access to stay up to date on the go.

The website can be a source of revenue too! Don’t forget about your potential donors. Online donations are quick and easy for people to participate.  Once a grandmother of 10 wanted to give each of her grandchildren’s schools $100.  Only one of the schools had an easy path for online donations, so she gave them the entire $1,000.  Your “Donate Now” button should be front and center, and your donation form should be quick and easy to fill out.

Use your website to connect with alumni.  They can be great ambassadors for your school and maybe future donors or parents in your community.  Have a place they can call their own and connect with your school today.

Is your school going through accreditation soon?  Your website could be the first interaction your visiting team has with your campus.  Make sure your site is up to date, matches your narrative and reflects the culture and community the visiting team will see when they arrive.

Your competition and neighboring schools may also view your website.  Are you looking to be a community leader in education?  Do you collaborate with any feeder schools?  Does your school have additional programs they want to highlight? We teach our kids not to brag, but it is okay to showcase your school’s success and strengths online.

Creating a website that recognizes the varying needs of your audience is critical.  A well-organized site map is key.  Don’t be afraid to use a primary navigation to address your most important audience, prospective families, and a secondary navigation to engage the rest of the community.

Contact us today for an evaluation of your current site and a free website mockup to help you meet the needs of all your audience members!


How Often Should You Redesign Your Website?

Last year you launched a wonderful, updated website – congratulations!  

Your team worked hard to update content, look at various design options, and discuss the best photos.  Your website was great, but it has already aged.  You guessed it – it is time to begin considering the redesign process!


Absolutely!  In order to keep your website looking fresh and up to date schools should be doing a redesign every two years.  While the design elements need the most adjustments, it is also a great time to review and update your site map, photos, and content.  

The Web Design Trends Evolve

  • In Today – Out Tomorrow: Just like fashion changes with the season, web design is constantly evolving and being elevated to a new level.  Having long scrolling home pages might be in today, but tomorrow is a different story.  In order to have a modern, cutting-edge design, you will need to update the layout and design elements every two years.  


  • Make Your Best First Impression: Would you wear an old tshirt to an interview?  Of course not, if you want the job!  Your website is the first impression many prospective families and donors have of your school, so it needs to look professional and modern.  When websites look dated, which happens fast, it reflects poorly on the school identity.


Your School Identity Shifts


  • Addition or Elimination of Programs: While the mission statement of your school likely will stay consistent, schools are always adding, adjusting or enhancing classes, curriculum, and programs.  Are you adding or updating a one to one technology program – your homepage website design should showcase this!  Might you be introducing an updated art docent program with parents – it is time to showcase that!  People won’t know what your school offers unless you tell them.



  • New Teachers: Employee turnover is inevitable, so use the redesign as a chance to update and rearrange your staff page.  



  • New Facilities: Make sure your redesigned website showcases any new facility projects as well as ones in the works.  Websites can be a great way to drive donations for big upcoming projects.  Remember, no one will donate if they don’t know the project is on the horizon!



  • Showcase Your Awards and Accolades: Do you have new testimonial quotes from families?  Did your school recently finish accreditation?  Has the school been the recipient of any grants or awards?  We teach kids that it is not polite to brag, but on your website the more you promote the success and recognition of the school the more credibility you gain.



The Mobile Experience Changes

  • How People View Websites Changes: Every year the percentage of people accessing your website on a mobile device goes up.  Every six months the newest, greatest phone or tablet hits the market – your website needs to be able to hold up the ever-changing technology.  Review your website analytics as part of your redesign process to make sure your website works for your primary audience.


Your Photos Age Out


  • Students Get Older: You guessed it, those kids keep growing!  It is unrealistic to remove students who have graduated every year, but if you have photos of high school students who are now in college or elementary students who are now driving cars – it is time to update your photos to reflect the students who comprise your community today.



  • Cameras Get Better: The quality of photos being taken, the editing software supporting those images, and the equipment capturing them are always improving.  Low-quality images will make a site feel dated very quickly, no matter how cutting-edge the design structure may be.  Invest in a professional photographer with each redesign, the resulting crisp, powerful images of your students are worth it!



Compliance Requirements


  • ADA Compliance: ADA compliance is a hot issue today as schools are regularly approached by advocacy groups. The requirements to keep your school accessible to all might change tomorrow. Stay on top of the legal ramifications by consulting all compliance legislature during your redesign.

School’s should be looking to update their websites every two years to ensure that their site has a modern design, is easy to view on the latest mobile devices, and properly reflects the community of the school today.  Taking the time to refine and polish your school’s online presence is important to making a lasting first impression on potential donors, future parents and alumni.

Let us help you get started on a redesign today!

Doodle 4 Google 2018

Doodle 4 Google 2018 is live! If you aren’t sure why this is exciting, or maybe you’re not quite sure what doodling means, let us explain. You know that little picture above the search box if you visit Google.com? The one that celebrates historical figures or events and changes every day? Your students can make one!

This year is Google’s 10th anniversary of their contest “Doodle 4 Google” competition. This competition melds art and technology by encouraging students to create their very own Google doodle. The contest theme this year is inspiration.

The contest is open to K-12 students around the world. The national winner of the contest will receive a $30,000 scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school or non-profit organization and the opportunity to work with the Doodle team to make their doodle become interactive for Google’s homepage! Each doodle needs to incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e but the student can be as creative as they would like, mixing any type of media to create their master doodle.

Help your students and children follow these easy steps to participate in this year’s event!

  1. Download or print the entry form.
  2. Make the doodle using any materials you’d like.
  3. Write a description about the doodle and what inspired it.
  4. Fill out the rest of the entry form and sign it.
  5. Submit the doodle following these guidelines.

Learn more fun facts about Doodle 4 Google on their site- you don’t want your students or children to miss out on this opportunity to show Google what inspires them!

Make sure to read the contest rules before getting started.

Doodle 4 Google is accepting entries from January 8 – March 2, 2018 so…get doodling! If you want to take your class a step further, have them code their own animation for their doodles using CSFirst curriculum.

Did your students enter the Doodle 4 Google contest? Share your experience (and awesome doodles) in the comments.

Join the Worldwide Event: Hour of Code!

Do your students ask about coding or computer science? Are you looking for an easy way to dip your toes into the ocean of computer science? Never fear, the Hour of Code is almost here! Get your students, and yourself, excited about the wide world of computer science by participating in a worldwide event.

The Hour of Code started in 2013 as an opportunity to show how accessible coding can be to anyone with access to a computer. Hour of Code is focused on the premise that every student should have the opportunity to become well-versed in computer science. They explain their mission as helping to build creative thinking, enhance problem solving, and strengthen logic and reasoning through computer science.

With the boom of computer based industries and careers, it seems like a no-brainer to introduce coding and computer skills to younger and younger students. You might be shocked by these statistical representations of coding and computer science:

  1. 71% of all new STEM jobs involve computing yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in computer science
  2. Studies have shown that students’ favorite subjects are the arts and computer science
  3. Women who study AP Computer Science in high school are ten times more likely to major in it in college and Black and Hispanic students are seven times more likely– the key is to start education early!
  4. A student who majors in computer science in college can earn 40% more than the average college graduate
  5. Jobs in computer science are everywhere. In fact, computing jobs are currently the top source of new jobs in the U.S.
  6. Only ten states have developed K-12 standards for computer science.
  7. In 2013, only 12 states allowed computer science to count for a math or science high school graduation requirement and now 34 states and D.C. allow it- some requirements are statewide, while other states let the schools decide

Source: https://hourofcode.com/us/promote/stats

Less than half of the schools in the U.S. teach computer science . Hour of Code is on a mission to change those statistics! Last year, the wildly successful Hour of Code helped engage over 100 million students in computer science. This year, Hour of Code hopes you and your school will join the movement. No experience is necessary and the lessons are applicable to all ages. Hour of Code provides free one hour tutorials in over 45 languages and have already registered almost 70,000 events for this year!

Hour of Code happens each year during Computer Science Education Week. This year, it will be December 4-10.

Check out their simple how-to tutorial to see how you can run an Hour of Code and sign up to take part in this incredible and enriching experience. Make sure to watch some of the success stories from past years to get inspired!

BONUS CHALLENGE: You have an opportunity to win a celebrity chat for your class when you create an app, game, or design with Code.org and tag #HourOfCode and one of their celebrities to have a chance at winning a special video chat for your class! Check out what the celebrities are looking for in the projects, here!

We hope you can take advantage of this great program and let us know your thoughts once you do- happy coding! Please let us know if you would like more information about introducing a computer science curriculum to your school. You can also find year-round lesson plans and coding games at code.org.

Coding in the Classroom Series: Codecademy

Diving into the world of Computer Science can be a bit overwhelming for many students and teachers. Don’t be intimidated, there are dozens of online services that are dedicated to teaching students to code in fun, friendly and interactive ways. We wanted to dedicate a few blog posts to talk about some great options to start coding in the classroom. Enjoy!

Whenever the subject of coding comes up, our first response is always, “Have you tried Codecademy?” Codecademy is an excellent tool for easing students and teachers into the world of coding. If you have never written a line of code in your life, this is the place to start. The program is entirely free for the bulk of its content and spans many levels and languages. What makes Codecademy so accessible is that everything can be done from within the browser on any device. Since Codecademy does not require external downloads or applications, it can be used on shared devices like chromebooks, iPads,or lab computers. This means you never have to worry about saving files, distributing files to a class, or any of the messy techy jargon that can bog down the learning process.

Everything in Codecadamy is kept in one, easy-to-use place that allows teachers to track students progress. They provide a very clean, simple user interface with step-by-step instructions on the left side bar, a large colorful simplified text editor in the center, and the console output on the right. This layout is important because it allows the students to work on one page without needing to tab between several different windows and files.

Codecademy provides starter code and asks students to fill in bits and pieces rather than creating entire documents from scratch which can be very daunting for a beginner. With this program, everything is self contained within the web browser, which makes getting it up and running very easy. Codecademy offers courses in nearly every programming language and is an excellent choice for teachers who want to teach their students the basics of programming for free. Although most of Codecademy is free, they do offer a Pro Version for $20 per month. This adds additional features including projects, guided learning paths and quizzes. However, most of this is extra information and Codecademy does a great job of making all the content you need completely free.

Let us know what you think- is Codecademy a hit or are you still looking for other options to explore the world of coding with your students?

Introducing the Google Expedition Pioneer Program

Google’s new Expedition Pioneer Program gives teachers the opportunity to provide their students with more interactive, immersive lessons- bringing the world into the classroom. Using their AR technology, this program maps out the physical classroom so students can look through a screen at their classroom and look at placed 3D objects. These 3D objects are not actually in the classroom but they can be seen through the screens using Google’s AR technology. For example, students can look at a 3D depiction of a tornado; they can walk around it and look at it up close to learn about how this storm works. It’s easiest to watch in action to understand what this program can do to elevate your students’ learning.  

Interested in signing up for this innovative opportunity? Sign up here and let us know what you think!