1. Don't click student!
When a teacher visits classroom.google.com for the first time, they will be asked if they are a teacher or a student. If you select student, you will be unable to revert back to teacher mode. Your domain administrator must go into the Google Apps control panel to reset your account and give you the teacher role.
At this time, it is not possible to use classroom as both a teacher and a student. This is bad news for schools that were hoping to use classroom for staff PD. Hopefully this is a feature that will be added in the future.
It might be wise to create a fake student account so that you can explore classroom from a students point of view. Ask your domain admin to setup a student account for you.
2. Don't group all of your sections/hours together.
Although it is tempting to setup a single classroom for all of your sections, don't do it! Yes, it will be nice not to have to post things multiple times, however if you group all of your students together, you will lose the ability to post messages and assignments to individually classes. This will be very important if you are unable to maintain exactly the same schedule in each class.
Spend the time to setup a separate class for each of your sections. You can't duplicate content between classes, but you can copy/paste your assignment descriptions and announcements.
3. Don't chose arbitrary class names
Ideally, each school will choose a naming convention for classes. If you don't, your students are going to have a hard time sorting through all of the courses in which they are enrolled. Unfortunately at this time, students (and teachers) are unable to sort classes; they appear in the order that they were joined/created.
The name of your class should NOT:
- Contain the name of the teacher (the teacher's name will be automatically displayed)
- Include section/hour (there is a designated field for section
- Be long (long class names will not be fully displayed)
The name of your class SHOULD:
- Be simple (i.e. Biology)
- Include the year/semester (i.e. 2014-15 or Sem 1.)
When you create a class using Classroom, matching folders will be created in Google Drive under a top level folder called "classroom." Do not move, rename, or delete these folder. If you do, you will cause trouble for yourself and your students.
5. Don't add things directly to the Drive folders created by Classroom.
The folders created by classroom are used for the copying and distribution of student files. They are not designed for use outside of classroom. When you create an assignment in classroom, it will move/copy files into these folders. If you manually put something into the classroom folders it will NOT be displayed in Classroom and will NOT be visible to your students.
If you need to share documents with your students that you don't wish to assign via classroom, you might want to use the Google Drive add-on called gClass Folders which will set up a very handy folder structure for the sharing and receipt of files in Drive.
Google Classroom is a promising tool that is in need of some refinement. Don't forget to send your comments and suggestions to Google. There is a "send feedback" button in the bottom right corner of Google Classroom. Use it to make Classroom better!