Curriculum mapping is a particularly collaborative process. Lesson planning, on the other hand, is quite individual. But both benefit from connected tools that encourage collaboration, sharing and tracking student progress.

Google Workspace for Education – formerly G Suite for Education – offers a comprehensive and integrated bundle of productivity, collaboration and communication tools that teachers can use both in the classroom and out, during both curriculum mapping and lesson planning.

We’ve gone over some of the basics in our previous sections. Now it’s time to dive into the details behind the Google apps, and how it makes curriculum mapping and lesson planning with Google possible.

Let’s break down Google for teachers, tool by tool:

Google Classroom

Overview

Google Classroom can be described as a learning communication platform, where teachers can post announcements, assign and collect classwork, and respond to student posts. It’s full integration with Google apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Calendar allows teachers to pull many different content formats in their communications with students.

In your curriculum mapping

Think of Google Classroom as a way to deliver a curriculum you’ve mapped to a course. Teachers can create topics that correspond to the units outlined, ask questions to the students in their class and track how many students are participating in class activities, to get a better idea of the progress and pace of learning as it happens.

In your lesson planning

Teachers can set up the assignments or classwork involved in each lesson and distribute them to students via the Classroom interface. Once the year is done, teachers can create a copy of that class and use it as a basis for lesson plans for incoming cohort – and make tweaks along the way, if necessary.

Google Calendar

Overview

As the name suggests, Google Calendar is a daily planning and scheduling platform that allows users to book meetings, set reminders for important dates, attach important notes and documents, and manage their time. Calendar also allows users to share their calendars with others, or import or export calendar events.

In your curriculum mapping

Google Calendar gives teachers a simple way to visualize the sequence of learning and the standards students will achieve throughout the school year, while establishing targets around timing and pacing. Also, because curriculum mapping is never a one-and-done process, regular reminders can help teachers and administrators remember to revisit and update their curriculum maps.

In your lesson planning

Some teachers choose to build and store lesson plans in Calendar, often by either creating an event for each learning activity or by blocking an entire day and using the description field to outline the key components of their lesson plan. Doing so year-over-year allows teachers to compare their pace from previous classes. Plus, with sharing features, teachers can collaborate with each other across their school, district or country!

Google Drive

Overview

Cloud-based storage platform Google Drive allows users to upload any kind of file, from any device, and share it with selected recipients in real time. It looks a little like the storage on your computer’s hard drive, with a system of folders to help keep information organized.

In your curriculum mapping

First, the obvious: Google Drive provides teachers, administrators and learning partners with an easy way to upload, house and share curriculum maps with each other. Additional complementary documents, such as curriculum mapping templates, teaching resources, instructions and the set of standards you need to follow, can be stored alongside them for quick access. An organized file structure is key here, to help keep curriculum maps for different grades and subjects easy to find. Richard Anderson and Fanny Passeport provide an in-depth Google Drive overview on sharing permissions and file organization in this video, Curriculum Mapping: Getting Organized. Check out their infographic as well for next steps on connecting your Google Drive to other Google apps to further your curriculum mapping efforts.

In your lesson planning

In a similar vein, teachers can upload their lesson planning documents – along with any lesson planning templates provided by your school or resources they’re planning to incorporate into their instruction – into designated folders. They can also browse the lesson plans from other teachers to get a deeper look into what students are learning day-by-day, or to get new ideas about how to approach something new in their own classroom.

Google Sheets

Overview

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet tool included in Google Workspace for Education. It allows users to create, edit and share spreadsheets with others in real time, making it ideal for fostering collaboration between teachers, administrators and other educational stakeholders.

In your curriculum mapping

A Google Sheets template can help teachers chart the sequence that learning will take place within a classroom, along with the pacing across different weeks of instruction. Using a template, you can ensure that everyone involved in the curriculum mapping process is on the same page, with a consistent approach that’s applied evenly across subjects and grade levels. In this video, Richard Anderson shares his template for curriculum mapping scope and sequence.

In your lesson planning

If Google Calendar isn’t your cup of tea, Google Sheets provides an alternative format for creating lesson plans, with additional formatting capabilities and a few extra features like the ability to create new sheets or tabs. This allows teachers to create different views – from what an overall week might look like, to the scheduling of individual learning activities within a particular class. With the ability to customize exactly what you want your lesson planner to look like or include, the options are endless. Watch this video to learn how one teacher created a lesson planner with Google Sheets. There are also thousands of templates available (free or paid) on teacherspayteachers.com

Google Docs

Overview

One of the longest-lived Google Workspace for Education apps, Google Docs is essentially an online word processor that allows users to create, edit and share documents. It comes with additional benefits like change tracking, commenting and revision histories that make collaborating in real-time simpler than ever.

In your curriculum mapping

Google Docs provides another way to create curriculum maps themselves, particularly when paired with add-ons like the Curriculum Mapping Tools Add-On from Richard Anderson, which makes it easier to assign units, grade levels, start and end dates, and resources via an automated template. On its own, however, Google Docs is still a powerful way to share curriculum maps with other teachers, administrators and stakeholders, allowing them to create curriculum maps simultaneously and provide helpful feedback in real time. Google Docs is also useful for creating other resources like your process for creating curriculum maps.

In your lesson planning

Not only is Google Docs a helpful resource for building a lesson plan document, but it’s also a great tool for creating rubrics, worksheets, assignments or other resources that teachers may use in the classroom or share with students for independent study. The same sharing and collaboration benefits apply here, too, giving teachers access to new and innovative ways of structuring lessons and delivering instruction.

Google Forms

Overview

Google Forms is an online survey tool that allows users to create and edit polls, questionnaires, quizzes and (you guessed it) surveys, and collect the responses in real time. Similar to other Google tools, Forms is a collaborative space where users can work together, and the integration with Google Sheets can help you analyze your results deeper should you require it.

In your curriculum mapping

Because Google Forms enables features like preset drop-down menus, checkboxes and the like, you can semi-automate the creation of your curriculum maps (or at least parts of them). While this won’t result in a fully fleshed out document, it will cut down on the amount of time it takes to create by taking some of the burden off of school staff.

In your lesson planning

Similarly, the same kinds of drop-downs you use to auto-populate parts of your curriculum map are available to do the same in your lesson plans. Teachers can load learning activities or resources they commonly use, for example, and simply add them into another lesson in just two clicks.

Google offers many other services through its platform, but when it comes to curriculum mapping, lesson planning and teaching with Google, we’ve found the above to be most helpful.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Google is the only set of tools available for teachers, administrators and education partners to plan and achieve better student outcomes.

Chapter FourLimitations of Using Google

In this Chapter

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