5 Tips to Getting Started with Microsoft Teams

Published by TheJenalleeShow on

So you have heard the buzz… Microsoft Teams is amazing! You want to use this application with your students, but you don’t know where to begin, right? Well, you have stumbled upon the blog post for you.

Here are Jenallee’s 5 tips for getting started with Microsoft Teams:

  • Determine your purpose
  • Use assignments and rubric grading
  • Determine your layout
  • Use your already created resources
  • Foster collaboration

#1 Determine your Purpose

Ask yourself these two questions: 1) What is the purpose of using Teams? 2) How often will we be using it?

  1. What is the purpose of using Teams? Our purpose ultimately should be to make the most of the learning experience. Technology should be enhancing the learning opportunities, rigor, and collaboration. Teams can definitely help you with all of this! Keep this at the front of your mind as you begin to design your learning environment in Teams. It can do cool awesome things, but why do we do these things? Let’s make sure we keep the learning the focus. To be honest, Teams naturally helps you do this in the way it operates, but we wanted to be sure we start with the right frame of mind.
  2. How often will we be using it? I ask this because many of you may be coming from a shared device or BYOD district. So, when designing our learning outcomes within Teams, we need to be mindful of how often students will have access to the devices which determines their access to content and learning opportunities within Teams. Considering the amount of time spent in Teams we can set achievable goals and assignments within Teams.

Once the time element is established, we can now plan lessons accordingly in Teams. Be mindful of how long assignments take to read, watch, and complete in an online environment versus a face to face environment.

#2 Assignment Creation & Rubrics

Now that we know why and how often we will be accessing the content, let’s create our first assignment. I would definitely use Teams assignments because it offers a visual calendar for students to gauge time, it offers Rubrics, it is organized and housed in Teams, and it offers easy grading features for teachers.

How to create a Teams assignment in 3 easy steps:

  1. Select assignments in Teams
  2. Select the specific team
  3. Create assignment details

Now let’s look at Rubrics!

We also love that Teams has the ability to attach a rubric to an assignment. You can create, assign, reuse, and grade with the rubric creator in Microsoft Teams. See how easy it is in the video below. 👇

#3 Design your Teams Layout

Now that we know why we are creating the Team, how to manage assignments and rubrics, let’s look at how the layout of our course can be set up to maximize our learning potential.

There are a few ways you can organize your content in Teams. We will share them all here. Remember to select the way(s) that fit(s) you and your teaching style the best. Tutorial videos are also included to help you visualize the process!

Our favorite organization features:

  • OneNote
  • Channels
  • Top Menu Tabs


OneNote is AMAZING! Stop right now, if you have not heard of OneNote! Go to this OneNote tutorial website to learn all about the awesomeness this application has to offer!

OneNote offers you the ability to communicate, disseminate information, and fosters student collaboration. We love OneNote and it works great in Teams. It is a great option for organizing your content for your class.


Microsoft Teams channels are another great way to organize content, student groups, and more. They are easy to create. Just click the ellipsis by the channel name, click add channel and then add the name and content. Each channel is individually organized. So… when creating think about how you want to lay out your channels. You could do it by subject, classes, groups, content, etc.

Another benefit to creating channels is the connection it has to OneNote! If you are using a class notebook, as you create channels, Teams and OneNote automatically create new tabs for you in the collaboration space of your class OneNote 🙌 Wow! Truly Magical 🦄It is definitely worth the exploration when beginning to build your Team.

Top Menu Tabs

You can also customize your Teams layout with your top menu tabs. Each channel offers you the ability to add specific applications to the channel. This is perfect for differentiation, group work, subject specific information, etc.

Organization is quickly achieved with these three options. Watch this video to learn how to customize your channels. 👇

#4 Use Your Already Created Material

Boom! Drop the mic… This is what makes Teams pretty spectacular 💥 Already have content created in Nearpod, Quizlet, PowerPoint, Flipgrid, etc? Well, you are in luck! Each of these and more amazing applications and websites can be inserted right into Teams. We can work smarter not harder! Use these materials by simply adding a tab on the top menu. What’s even better, it opens and work in Teams, so students are not going back and forth between applications! Genius 🤓

#5 Foster Collaboration within your Team

Jenallee has dubbed the phrase

“Microsoft Teams is the Mecca of collaboration”


Why you ask? Well… It offers your students the ability to collaborate in every way.

  • Co-author documents
  • Conversations per channel
  • Flipgrid
  • Shared files per channel
  • Class OneNote
  • Teams Meetings

Students can collaboratively work together to create, learn, and share within Microsoft Teams.

Co-Author Documents & Shared files

Files can be shared within the team and can be co-authored and edited by multiple students. This is a great way for students to create together whether in the same room or at home.


Students can hold conversations with others within the channel through the conversations tab. Easily chat with the built in chat feature, Teams Meetings, gifs, and more.


We are definitely in love 💚 with the amazing application, Flipgrid. Add this to your channel for students to have video conversations. It’s a great way for you as the teacher to see the thinking process as well! Facilitation at its best.

Class OneNote

Another great way to foster collaboration is to set up a class OneNote notebook within Teams! Check out this video to learn how to create a class notebook.

Teams Meetings

Skype for Business is built right into Teams! What?!? I know, awesome right! So, you can video chat within Teams. It gets even better 🌟Microsoft Whiteboard is also built into the Teams Meeting. So, you can demonstrate on a whiteboard exactly what you are trying to say. Great way to collaborate and communicate within Teams.


That is a lot of powerful information to wade through if you are just getting started with Microsoft Teams. Need help? Contact us! We would love to help you out!


Jeni Long and Sallee Clark are Instructional Technologists with Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD. This dynamic duo, known as #Jenallee, is passionate about technology integration and making learning accessible & fun for all! Between the two of them, they have presented across the 26 schools in their district, at their Regional Education Service Center, FETC, TCEA, TCEA for Tots, & Central America. They are both MIE Experts, MIE Trainers, Ed to the Max Consultants, and Flipgrid Ambassadors. Jeni has served in education for 20 years as a 6th grade Math Teacher, 7-12 ELA Curriculum Specialist, Technology Integration Specialist and a Science Curriculum Specialist. Sallee has served in education for 14 years as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Elementary Librarian, K-12 District Librarian, & Instructional Technologist.


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