Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Using Google Calendar in the Classroom

If you are looking for a simple way to integrate technology into your life, I highly recommend using Google Calendar. It is simple to use and much better than your old "plan book". Once you get going, you will be wondering how you ever survived without it!

In order to use Google Calendar, you must first have a Google account. Since the school district has joined "Google Apps", everyone SHOULD already have an account. The username is your school email address. Your password is the same password used for your email. If you have difficulty logging in, let us know.

The beauty of Google Calendar is that you can create multiple calendars, each with a different purpose. Each calendar can be made private or public, and it can be shared with others, allowing them to also make changes. As you can see below in my Google calendar, I have set up four different calendars (described in more detail below). The names of these calendars are viewable on the left. (By clicking on the calendar names, you can make them visible or hidden in your main calendar.) Each calendar can be assigned a different color to help you easily tell them apart. When you add a new event to Google calendar, you choose which specific calendar you would like to add it to.

My Google Calendar
My Four Calendars:

1. 8 Gold Calendar (gold) is public for anyone to see and acts as an important communication tool for our students and parents. All teachers on our team are able to add events to this calendar, such as upcoming tests, projects, due dates, etc. As you can see in the image below, this calendar is also "embedded" directly into our team website. If your team has a class website/blog/wiki, we can show you how to set this up!

2. Gold Teachers Calendar (green) is a private calendar shared just with the teachers on our team. We use this to keep track of school, department, and parent meetings. This has really helped improve communication and collaboration. Whenever one of us adds a meeting, for example, it is immediately seen in the other teachers' calendars.

3. Jeremy's Calendar (blue) is my personal, private calendar. This is how I keep track of all things outside of school. Many of you may benefit from a "family calendar" to help you keep track of your children's commitments (sports, play practice, appointments, etc.)

4. Science Calendar (private) is used as a pacing guide for my curriculum.

 Our Google Calendar is embedded directly on our team's website.

Other Ideas for Using Google Calendar

Post daily homework assignments.
  • You can attach Google Documents to all of your events. This comes in handy for homework assignments.  
  • If you teach more than one class, set up more than one calendar. For example, there could be a "Math/Science Homework" calendar and a "ELA/Social Studies Homework" calendar.
Use it as your plan book for the school year.
  • Some school districts have utilized Google Calendar to be the shell for their curriculum planning. I have not experimented with this, but it an interesting possibility.
School Calendars
  • Imagine how helpful it would be if there was an "Oak Middle School" or "Sherwood" calendar that could be edited by all staff! It could include upcoming events, field trips, assemblies, after school sports/club events, meeting agendas, and so much more.
  •  Let us know if you would find this helpful. We could look into setting one up if there is enough interest.

Access your calendars from anywhere.
  • Once you set it up, Google Calendar can be "synced" to all of your devices. This means that you can view and edit your calendars from just about any laptop, smart phone, or tablet (such as an iPad). You can even add events on your phone.
  • It can be a little tricky to first set up, but it is definitely worth it. Unlike my laptop, my phone is always with me so it's great to always have access to my calendar. The image to the right shows what how your calendars would look on a smart phone.

Resources for Using Google Calendar

Getting Started Guide from Google 

"How-To" YouTube Videos for using Google Calendar 
Created by the Google Apps team -- covers basic and advanced features. Very helpful!

Google Apps for Education

How to sync Google Calendar with iPhone Calendar 
This explains how to log in and view your primary Google Calendar (which is the first calendar you created). 

(Advanced) If you would like to sync multiple calendars on your phone (I have all four of my calendars on my iPhone), you must open up your phone's web browser (will not work on your laptop) and go to Here, you can choose which calendars you want to sync on your phone.

Google Calendar Tutorial:This tutorial explains many of basic features of Google Calendar such as: creating new calendars, adding/deleting events, looking at different calendar views (daily, weekly, monthly), and repeating events.


  1. I was a dedicated paper calendar user until 2 months ago when Mrs. Maroney told me that I could no longer use it:) I logged into Google Calendar and have never looked back! Anne, Scott, and I use this religiously...we always know where each other is at all times! Kinda creepy but it works for us. Also, all of the school events are also posted so we always know what activities are running after school and on weekends. My iphone is synced and it pings to notify me of appointments or calendar events. In short, it prevents me from running amok. Don't know how I survived without it. ~ Ann

  2. I love this idea! I spoke to my team about it, and we actually decided to try using the outlook calendar feature. We invite all team members to parent meetings, faculty meetings, super team meetings, etc. We set it up so there is a reminder the day before. For people who are used to using outlook for email it is a good alternative.