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Tech Tools: Getting Google Drive Organized For The Classroom

Google Drive is a wonderful organizing tool! While schools have their own online systems and ways for teachers to store files online, Google Drive is easily accessible, creates a unique space to share resources, and super easy to organize.

But, if you’re like me, organizing feels daunting (unless it’s already a blank slate). Over the last few years (and a Google Educator Level 1 Certification), I’ve learned different ways that make navigating my school things so much easier.

Why should you organize your Drive?

Personally, I have to be in the mood to organize – but I always thank my past self for when I take the time to organize, especially school-related items.

Organizing your files, such as presentations, worksheets, lesson plans, and printables, makes school-work a million times easier. You’ll be able to find files quickly, and share resources with others.

If your district uses it as a school resource, you’ll also be able to find past lessons and activities easily to reuse year after year!

So, where do you start to make your Google Drive more organized? Take a look below at some tips and tricks for organizing!

*Important notes before diving in*

  1. If you are thinking you may want to switch schools or your school doesn’t use Google Drive, make sure to use your own personal Drive and use it at home on your own device. While not as convenient, districts own whatever is in a school drive. Therefore, whatever you make and store there is typically only for school use. This means if you want to create something to sell, such as on TpT, then you need to use your own Drive and device.
  2. These tips can be used for personal or business use, too! Take these tips and use them for whatever organizational needs you may need these for. But, if you’re using these tips for a business/side hustle, make sure you are not on a school device or account.

Organize by School Year

If you have been at a school multiple years or expect to be, a great starting point is creating main files by year. This is especially helpful if you are expecting to move grade levels or positions in the building/district. It also allows you more freedom to make copies of printables and edit them for what you need at the moment, while still retaining the original file from the original year.

Creating Folders

Folders can be your best friend! Folders allow you to store different information and organize them into easy to find places. Your folders can be named and sorted  however best suits you. Some examples and recommendations are continued below!

  • Subject – As an elementary teacher, we tend to have to teach multiple subjects – math, reading, writing, science… The works! Creating folders by subject and/or topic allows you to easily keep files organized and create easy ways to access different items. This also allows you to keep lessons organized to easily reuse and scaffold year after year, such as editing math tests or creating writing topics for different prompts.
  • Start & End of Year – The start and end of the school year brings along its own subjects and topics! An easy way to keep these organized are to have folders ready to easily print and go when that time of the year comes around. 
  • Conferences – Have you created your own sign up form for conferences? Reminder forms? Templates for reflections? These can all be stored in a conferences folder to allow you to have easy access to be ready as soon as you need the forms to go.
  • Prep & Go – frequently used items – I call this section “Prep & Go” in my own Drive because I prep it once, then can easily print and go whenever I need it! These are items I use frequently, such as grading rubrics, planner pages, labels, and more! Anything you know you’re going to print frequently can be stored here.
  • Sub Plans – An incredibly important folder are your sub plans. The best part with a sub plans folder is you can create your emergency sub plans, then make a copy every time you need a sub plan, tweak the activities as needed, and then you’re done! It’s also handy to have on hand past examples and activities so you know exactly what you’ve done and have an idea of what you want to do for your next day off.
  • Special Projects – Do you have a special topic or project you like to focus on every year? For me, I love to teach my students about the Iditarod (a yearly Alaskan sled dog race that is so much fun to teach about!). I personally have a folder dedicated to that unit, so I can easily find it year after year to reference and plug the lessons into my planning every year. Similar to the subjects, creating folders for special projects allow you to easily find them when the time is needed!

Morning Items

Having a folder with morning items you frequently use can be a lifesaver! This folder can be the central place for any files you use in the morning that can be quickly opened and accessed. If you have math groups in the morning, you can add your presentation with the rotations. If you make morning slides, you can post them here, too!

Keeping your frequently used items in one folder allows you to have quick access and allows you to keep everything in one spot. It eliminates having to go through multiple folders as well.

Folder Colors

Colors catch the eye – and if you color code you’re folders, they’re even easier to find! I love color coding my folders so my eyes associate colors to specific folders quickly.

You can color code folders by:

  • Right-clicking the folder with your mouse
  • Select “Change color”
  • Pick the color you want to use!

Quick and simple to do!

You can find other tips I have on making your school easier by checking out the blog post here.

Thank you for reading, and happy teaching!

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