Virtual Classroom Organization Tip: How to Make a Digital Table of Contents with Google Sheets

Learn this virtual classroom organization tip to help keep your students' online school materials organized.

It is important to learn virtual classroom organization tips.  Whether you teach in a virtual school setting or work in a physical school, knowing how to organize and use a great virtual classroom (LMS) is a valuable skill. Read more of my tips on teaching with technology here

Virtual classrooms can definitely help you save on paper and time spent battling with the photocopier, but they are powerful teaching tools in so many other ways too! 

They help you (and your students) stay organized, add differentiation to your lessons, foster technological literacy in your students, and make it easier for students to access learning materials when they’re outside of the school building. 

There are so many great platforms and resources out there to help you make your virtual classroom amazing. But the most important question will always be: 

Is Your Online Classroom Easy For Students To Use? 

To help you keep your digital materials as organized and user-friendly as possible, check out this virtual classroom organization tip: 

Create a digital table of contents for your students using Google Sheets! 

It only takes a few minutes, and will ensure that all of your digital units and lessons run smoothly!

Read on for step-by-step instructions. You can also access these instructions in video format and follow along.

How To Create A Digital Table Of Contents For Your Students Using Google Sheets

Download and Unzip Your TPT File

  • Download the file
  • Go into your downloads folder on your computer
  • Right click on the downloaded file and select “extract all.” This will “unzip” the folder. (The folder is zipped because it is otherwise too large to download)

  • This will extract everything in the zipped folder
  • Now, you can easily access all of the content in the folder. Double-click the folder to open it. Quick Note: When you purchase 2peasandadog resources, they come with the large PDF and individual PDFS already extracted. This simplifies the organizing process for you.
  • Rename the PDF folder so that it matches the resource title. For example, “Grade 7 Geography Strand A PDFs.” This will help you stay organized in the long run. 
  • Next, Open Google Drive
  • Drag and drop, or upload, your downloaded folder to Google Drive. This step may take a few minutes depending on your internet connection.
  • When the entire folder is uploaded, you can double-click to open it. You’ll see all of the sub-folders displayed like this:

Separate Teacher View and Student View in Google Drive:

  • Next, you’ll want to organize the files into two groups: Teacher View, and Student View.
  • Open the folder of the lesson that you want to organize
  • To make the organizing easier, first switch the view on Google Drive to “grid view”
  • This can be done by selecting the “grid view” icon on the top right of the screen

  • Now you can create a new folder within the Lesson titled “Student Pages”
  • Drag and drop any pages that you want students to be able to access into the “Student Pages” folder that you just created
  • Now the student pages and the teacher-only pages are separated within that folder. 

Creating the Table of Contents in Google Sheets:

  • Open a new Sheets document and title it with the grade or class that will be using this table of contents. For example, “Grade 7 Table of Contents”
  • The tabs located at the bottom can be renamed to the subjects that you teach. This is better than having a separate Sheets document for each subject, because this way everything will be in the same place. 

  • In column A-1 insert this text “Lesson Title”
  • In column B-1 insert this text “URL/LINK”
  • In column C-1 insert this text “Date”
  • You can also adjust the width of the column, change the font, bold the text and highlight the column to make it stand out as the header
  • The blank square located between columns “1” and “A” can be dragged starting from the bottom line of the square down to the bottom of column 1 to create a permanent header
  • You will know if you’ve done this correctly if you see a thicker grey line across the bottom of row 1

  • In column A-2 insert the Lesson Title for example “L1 Mapping Skills”

  • For column B-2 open the “Student Pages” folder from your Google Drive
  • Once inside the folder you can then link the entire contents of it by selecting the “Student Pages” header located underneath the Google Drive search bar and select the “get link” option from the drop down menu
  • Change the “restricted” option to “anyone with the link”

  • Click “copy link” and paste into column B-2
  • This will copy the entire contents of the “Student Pages” folder for the lesson specified
  • In column C-2 insert the date
  • Your sheet should now look something like this:

  • Following the steps above, you can also link individual student pages instead of the entire folder (I don’t typically advise this because the amount of links can overwhelm students. However, it may be useful in certain scenarios.)
  • You can continue to add rows this way, until the table contains everything that you want students to be able to access at this time.  
  • Once your table of contents is completed, you can then share the document by selecting the “share” button located on the top right of the screen

  • Under the “get link” select the sharing option you prefer

Select “copy link” and paste to your Google Classroom or other learning management system. Your students can now access the table of contents.

Use this virtual classroom organization tip to get your classroom running as smoothly as possible so that you can make the most of all your favourite digital teaching resources. I am very grateful to that colleague that showed me how to create this digital table of contents many years ago. 

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