Organizing Your Class Team in Microsoft Teams is based first on how you use channels, and then how you use the tabs within each channel. Today, on Day 117 of 365 Ideas for Microsoft 365, we’ll help you get your Class Team organized.
Microsoft Teams uses Channels for organization. I use Standard Channels to organize Content, and Private Channels to organize people.
Elementary teachers that might teach all content areas might want a channel for English Language Arts, a channel for Math, a channel for Science and a channel for Social Studies. Middle and High School Teachers might prefer to have a new channel for each unit of study, or possibly a channel for each chapter, although the days of organizing curriculum around a textbook are mostly in the past.
You would probably want to use the actual topic of your unit instead of my generic “Unit 1”, but to keep this relevant for everyone, that’s what I used for this sample.
Organizing with the General Channel
I make my General Channel “read only” for students. That means they can’t post or reply. That keeps the space clean for me to make announcements without them getting lost in student replies. Whenever a student enters my Class Team, it opens to the General Channel, no matter where they were the last time they had it open, so it’s a great place to post announcements. The fact that Teams allows “Posts” and “Announcements” helps, too! (This is an announcement, followed by a post.)
Organizing with Standard Channels
Every channel then becomes the central location for everything related to that unit. When teachers and students post about something related to that unit, it appears in the Posts tab for that topic. The Files tab in that channel is where content related to that unit is stored, whether created in Teams, or uploaded to the Team from OneDrive, Google Drive or your device. The Notes tab is a section in the Team’s OneNote Class Notebook. The teacher may decide they want this to be part of the Content library that is read only for students. Or, they may decide the Notes tab should be a section in the Collaboration Space section of the Class Notebook so everyone can edit it and collaborate there.
In addition, any other tabs the teacher adds, like a link to a Nearpod lesson, or websites, or Word documents or PowerPoints, should all be related to the content of this unit.
So what about Private Channels?
This is for small group work. Everyone on the team can see all of the standard channels and all of the content in those channels. You only see a private channel in your list of channels if you are a member of that channel. (Teachers see all Private Channels because they own them all.) Teachers choose who is a member of each private channel either when they create the channel, or anytime thereafter. They can change the membership of a private channel at any time. However, these can serve as permanent groups.
One of the complaints I hear from teachers in my district, where we use Google Classroom instead, is that if you want to assign a task to a small group of students, or communicate with different groups, you have to reselect the students every time. The four of you did an assignment together before. Great. But I still have to reselect all four of you to assign another small group project to you. Those groupings are temporary. In Teams, a private channel is a small group that perseveres. I can use it over and over again.
Each channel has it’s own Posts and Files tab, so conversations and shared files can be kept private within the group and collaborated on.
Organizing Your Channels
Channels are listed alphabetically. I chose to add z to the beginning of my Private Groups so they would come after the Units. However, you could name your units numerically, like this:
1- Introduction to Earth Space Systems Science
2- The World Around us
3- The World Beneath us
4- The World Above us…
Since numbers will come before letters.
In my next post I will highlight a particular communication tool that connects the Files and Posts tabs which is useful in a standard channel but really shines in private channels!
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