Announcements are one way that you can deliver content in Google Classroom. Announcements are posts that do not have an assignment attached to them. You can use them to share information with your students, and they sit at the top of your Classroom stream. You can control who can comment or reply to announcements, and you can create a bunch of them at the same time and schedule them to post at your convenience. In the new version, it appears you cannot assign a topic to your announcements like you could in the former version.
In the old version of Google Classroom you could choose one of your announcements to be at the top of your stream. In the new (currently in beta) version, you cannot, but you can organize your assignments on the classwork page. I will discuss this more in an upcoming post.
Here are some suggestions for ways that you can use Announcements in your class to increase student interest and engagement.
Event Calendar Reminders
While Announcements is not a calendar feature, you can use the ability to move a specific announcement to the top of the feed to remind your students of important events in a give day or week. You can continually update the same announcement, or add new ones as needed.
Student Introduction & Welcome
Welcome your students to class and invite them to share something about themselves. Depending on their age, you can give them a question to answer (what’s your favourite dinner, what’s one thing you think should be different in the classroom, dogs or cats? ) or you can leave it open ended.
Share Videos or Other Links
Announcements are a great way to share content with your students. Perhaps you found an interesting YouTube video that relates to the class discussion you had today. An announcement sharing the video and inviting student comments or discussion will continue the learning outside the class.
Inform Students of the Day’s Plans
This is especially useful if you are going to be away and a substitute teacher will be taking your place. You can leave information as a document, or, if you want to be more engaging, take a selfie video with your smartphone and use that as your announcement. Come to think of it, you can do this even if you aren’t going to be away…kids will love it!
Continue the Conversation
Post an article or a video and encourage students to make comment, or ask each other questions. Or post a recap of something you discussed in class, and ask students to extend their thinking. This continues the classroom discussion outside of the actual classroom. Online discussions have a different dynamic from classroom discussions. Often the student who doesn’t talk much in class will take a larger (more “vocal”) role when the conversation is online.
Fun Comments to Boost Morale
Post a birthday greeting, a fact of the day, or a fun meme. Kids love seeing their name “in print” and this will increase student engagement and build classroom community.
What ways have you found to use Announcements in your Google Classroom? Comment and share below.