Google Drive Organization for TeachersApr 27, 2021
Have you ever looked in your Google Drive and just had no idea where to even start looking for a document? Yeah, me too. I hear this from my coworkers all the time too.
I know it may seem a little silly but getting your Google Drive or other online files organized can be such a game-changer in your ability to stay efficient and use your time wisely.
How to Organize your Teacher Google Drive
Create a Folder for each class period. I teach 4 different grade levels and each one is a class, so I have a 5th-grade folder, a 6th-grade folder, a 7th-grade folder, and an 8th-grade folder. I also teach Transition to Middle School and 5th Grade Advisory so I have a folder for each of those as well.
Within each folder, I have a folder for each year. Every year my teaching evolves and so do my units. I like to keep things I have used in the past as they might be helpful and useful again in the future. If you are just setting this up for the first time, you could have an “Old Stuff” folder and one for the current school year. Don’t honestly try to sort it all into specific years. Not worth it.
Then I create a folder for each unit. A lot of times, these will be the same as previous years, but the lessons I store inside them may be different. Put anything you used this year into the correct unit folder for each class.
Once I have all my documents, I like to change the name of it by adding a number to the front of the name. This number correlates to which lesson I use that resource with. So if it is a KWL chart to be used in the first lesson of the unit, it would be named something like “01. KWL Chart” and then anything else that went with that lesson would have the “01.” in front of it. Also, be sure to use this double-digit system, otherwise, lesson 10 will be up by lesson 1 and it will get weird in that folder. If I add a lesson and everything is already numbered, I just add in decimals like “1.5” of “1.3” It still keeps everything in order and making sense.
Next year, when you create your new folder for the school year, you have 2 options. First, you can copy over the whole unit folder, and then I like to make a “originals” or “old stuff” folder within the unit folder where I will put anything that I am not going to use or didn’t end up using. (This way I still have it, but it isn’t in the way of the other stuff.)
The other option is to only move over the resources you know you will use or only move them over when you do use them. This way all the old stuff is in the previous year and only the stuff you used this year is in the current folder.
I know this sounds like a lot, but it can be super helpful in the long run when you are looking for that project you liked from like 3 years ago or that one lesson you taught 5 years ago that was good and now you know how to make it better!
Also, within Google Drive you can change the color of the folders so I try to highlight the year we are currently in with a color and I like to color-code my classes as much as I can.
You can also use emojis in the titles of folders and documents, but be aware that anything with an emoji as the first character will move to the very top of the list.
This is just one method of organizing Google Drive and digital folders that has worked best for me for the past 6 years of teaching online. No one is saying this is perfect, but it has saved me a lot of headaches and time over the years.
If you are looking to help your students organize their drive too, check out the FREE Organizing Google Drive Checklist right here. It breaks down the process for students so it is super simple!