Phone: (951) 509 - 5052


Degrees and Certifications:

M.A. Education, Digital Teaching and Learning - Azusa Pacific University M.A. Journalism, Broadcast Journalism - University of Southern California B.A. Communication Studies, Broadcast Media, Leadership - Azusa Pacific University

Mr. Rob Schwandt

  • New Semester Google Classroom Tips

    Posted by Robert Schwandt on 8/10/2022

    Found this great article from one of my favorite follows: John R. Sowash. I subscribe to his monthly newsletter full of great tips for educators using Google Workspace and for teachers who teach students with Chromebooks.


    Creating classes for the new school year is a straightforward four-step process.

    You can follow along below, or make a copy of my checklist.

    What about last year?

    If last year's classes are showing up in Google Classroom I recommend archiving them. You can learn more about archiving by here.

    Note: Do NOT attempt to re-use a course from last year. This will cause all kinds of frustrating problems!

    Advanced tip: If you are teaching the same classes that you did last year, you can make a copy of your old course. This will copy the assignments as drafts which you can edit, rearrange, and modify before you share them with students.

    Step 1: Create your course (three tips + a bonus)

    I have three important recommendations when you create new courses for the 2022-23 school year:

    1. Make sure you include the date in your class name (makes finding it easier!)
    2. Create a class for each section/period that you teach (keeps students separate)
    3. Plan on creating a new class for each semester (makes grading easier)

    Advanced tip: There is currently no way to “lock” old assignments. This is a very frustrating limitation of Google Classroom. My best solution to this challenge is to create a new class for each marking period. This is slightly more work but makes it much easier to manage old assignments. Watch this video to learn more!

    Step 2: Adjust your classroom settings

    After I create a class I head straight to the settings page to make a few standard adjustments:

    1. Class comment policy - in most cases, I allow my students to comment, but not to post. You can mute individual students who abuse the commenting privilege.
    2. Classwork on stream - I use the stream page exclusively for announcements, so I choose to hide classwork notifications.
    3. Guardian summaries - if you plan on sending progress reports you will want to enable guardian summaries for your class.
    4. Google Meet - you can enable/disable your unique meeting room code from the settings page. This is a great option for virtual office hours.
    5. Gradebook calculations - If you plan on using the gradebook, go ahead and set up your categories and grade weights. If you are using your district grade book, set Classroom to “no overall grade.”

    Step 3: Organize your course

    After I adjust my classroom settings I start to organize and build out my classwork page:

    1. Create topics - topics organize your assignments and class material. I recommend creating your topics based on chapters, units, or weeks. All three strategies can work well, pick the option that suits your teaching style.
    2. Post reference material - I recommend creating a “resources” topic where you can post your syllabus, class rules, templates, and support resources.
    3. Re-use assignments - If you created lessons and resources last year, reuse them! Click New > re-use post to pull content in from previous courses you have taught.
    4. Post an announcement - Post a welcome announcement on the stream page. This is the first thing students will see after they join your course. I recommend posting a funny GIF or a welcome video.

    NEW for 2022There is a new “display image” option that lets you upload a large image to an announcement. You can have one display image per announcement.

    Step 4: Send some invitations

    1. Invite students - The easiest way to get students into your class is to write your unique class code up on your whiteboard on the first day of school. You can also send them a link to click, if you know their email addresses.
    2. Invite co-teachers - invite co-teachers and school administrators to your class if necessary. Co-teachers have full access to your course, so invite wisely!
    3. Invite guardians - Once your students have joined your course you can invite parents to receive progress reports. You can learn more about that process here.

    NEW for 2022There is a new setting in the Google admin console that will prevent students from removing themselves from your course. Send your IT admin this link and ask them to enable this feature!

    Advanced setup

    The next few items are for experienced Google classroom users.

    1. Create/copy your rubrics - Google Classroom has a very nice rubric scoring feature. You can create new rubrics or copy rubrics from existing assignments if you used them last year.
    2. Review / edit your comment bank - The comment bank is a great way to add feedback on student assignments. You can view your existing comments by clicking here.
    3. 🆕 Connect Classroom add-ons - brand new for this year, Google classroom now supports 18 add-ons for popular edTech products like PearDeck, IXL, and GoFormative. You will need to connect each add-on to your account one time before you can use them. Create an assignment and look for “add-ons” to get started!

    NEW for 2022: Add-ons are only available to districts that have upgraded to the Teaching & Learning or Education Plus editions of Google Workspace for education. Your IT admin will need to approve Classroom add-ons before you can connect them to your course.

    Comments (-1)
  • #CTT

    Posted by Robert Schwandt on 8/9/2022

    #CTT (Cool Teaching Tool) 


    Stumbled across this tool after one of my Youtube follows @PocketfulOfPrimary showed it off on their channel. has everything you need to manage your classroom: Timer, Stopwatch, whiteboard, random student selector, polls, and other classroom management gadgets to help you manage your classroom and maximize student productivity:

    • Timer - A great way to keep track of time in the classroom. It also has a visual countdown clock so students can see how much time they have left.

    • Whiteboard - The perfect tool for when you need to write down an important piece of information or something that needs to be done in class. You can even use it as a collaborative tool with our polling feature below!

    • Polls - Create polls in seconds using our intuitive drag-and-drop interface (no coding required). You can use them as part of any lesson plan, allowing students more control over how they engage with the content being taught by allowing them to answer questions about what has been covered so far in class or add their own thoughts on a topic before moving forward with new material

    Here's a full list of tools you can use on Timer: a great way to keep track of time in the classroom. It also has a visual countdown clock so students can see how much time they have left. Whiteboard: the perfect tool for when you need to write down an important piece of information or something that needs to be done in class. You can even use it as a collaborative tool with our polling feature below! Polls: Create polls in seconds using

    Explore the full list of tools.

    You can use many of these tools to enhance your classroom management and lesson planning. You can also use them when you're out of the classroom for professional development or to collaborate with other teachers around the world.

    Some of our favorite tools include:

    • Polls - students can come up to the screen or answer from their own devices to provide valuable feedback data for lesson comprehension, opinions on a particular topic, or as an exit ticket to make sure students are ready for their independent practice.

    • Random Name Generator - you can call on random students in the class with ease so everyone is accountable for learning and demonstrating mastery.

    • Group Maker - can create instant groupings for students to work with others that they usually don't work with.

    And start working on your plan for the perfect class!

    Now that you have everything in the list above, it’s time to start planning your class. We know how easy it is to forget something important when you are creating a lesson plan and even though we think we have thought of everything, there will always be a few things we don’t account for. So before you start working on your plan for the perfect class! make sure that:

    • You have all your favorite materials ready

    • You have all your favorite tools ready

    • You have all your favorite gadgets ready

    Comments (-1)


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