What is Google Classroom?

Think of Google Classroom as a digital “place” to enhance your physical classroom. Teachers create digital assignments, track student progress, and give feedback online. Students complete assignments and communicate with teachers and other students using online tools.

This Google Classroom Guide for Teachers walks you through classroom setup, helps you create and manage your assignments, and interact with your students online.  Have a look at my video tutorial for your students.  This is perfect for students learning to use Google classroom.

Google Classroom Video Tutorial for Teachers

Set up your Google Classroom

Create your Google Classroom

  1. Login to your Google account and visit the https://classroom.google.com. Or, find click the app launcher and select the Google Classroom icon.
    Launch google classroom
  2. Click the “+” icon and select Create class.
    Create class
  3. Enter class details
    The class name is the only required information. The section is visible to your students in the class header. This is a handy place to share quick information.

    Click the Create button to continue.

    Create class form

Add students to your class

You have two methods to add students to your class. Your system administrator can push students into your classroom.

Share join code with your students

You will find the Class code for your Google Classroom in the class header. The class code will be a seven-character code your students can use to join your class.

Google Classroom class code

Invite students by email

Visit the People tab and click the Invite students button. Then, type the email address of your students. After entering all your students, click the Invite button.

Invite students to your classroom

Each of the entered students will get an email invitation to your class. They will need to accept the invitation to fully join your class.

Google classroom student invite

They can also join your class by clicking Accept from their Google Classroom page.

Student accept invite

Admin push students into class

Your technology department may “push” students into your classroom using a GAM toolkit provided by Google. This is an advanced technique that requires planning and a bit of programming.

Using a GAM script is a way to put students back into your class if they keep unenrolling themselves.

Customize your classroom with themes

Add flair to your classroom to add interest and help distinguish your online space from other classes. This is helpful if your students switch between classes.

Select a pre-made theme banner

Google provides a library of pre-made themes for you to select from.

  1. Click the Select theme link in the banner.
  2. Browse the available themes and click to select the theme you want to use.
  3. Click the Select class theme button to close the window.

Select pre-made theme

Upload photo banner

You can upload your own photos to your classroom header. Google Classroom allows you to crop the photo to fit the theme header.

  1. Click the Upload photo link in the class header.
  2. Drag a photo from your computer or click the Select a photo button to browse for a file to upload.
  3. Browse to your image file and click Open to upload your picture.
  4. Next, you will crop the image to fit the theme. The boxes on the corner are called handles. Use the handles to select the portion of the image to include.
  5. Click the Select class theme to save your picture.

Upload photo for theme

Create a custom theme banner image

Your custom theme photo should be 1000 pixels wide by 250 pixels high. Google Drawings and Canva are two free online tools open used to create engaging Google Classroom banner images.

Why is my classroom banner dark?

You may notice your Google Classroom theme has a dark overlay. This is a purposeful design choice. The dark overlay helps people with vision disabilities, such as contrast sensitivity, participate in class.

The dark banner is more than an aesthetic choice. It is an important accessibility feature.

Co-teachers in Google Classroom

You’re not alone! Google classroom allows you to invite co-teachers to help manage your digital classroom. A co-teacher can do anything in a classroom except delete the class.

Add Co-Teacher to Google Classroom

Google Classroom Stream Page

The stream is the first thing your students see in Google Classroom. As the teacher, you can use the steam page to share news and announcements.

Post announcements to the class stream

Follow these steps to post an announcement to your stream.

  1. Near the top of your stream, click on Announce something to your class. This will open the announcement screen.
  2. The current class is selected by default. You may select multiple classes if available.
  3. If only one class is selected, you can select specific students to receive the announcement. If you select multiple classes, all students in those classes will receive the announcement.
  4. Type your message in the text editor. Very simple formatting options such as bold, italic, underline, and list bullets are available. The “T” with a slash removed formatting options.
  5. Use the Add button to include an attachment with the announcement. Add one or more of the following:
    • Files from your Google Drive
    • Link to another website
    • A file uploaded from your computer
    • A YouTube video
  6. Click the Post button to send the announcement now. Schedule the announcement to send another date and time. Save the announcement as a Draft to finish later.

Post to google classroom stream

Mention students in your announcement

A Mention (or tag) is how you grab someone’s attention in Google Classroom. The mention is added to a comment. They get an email letting them know you mentioned them. The person can reply to the comment. (Btw, this also works in Google Docs.)

mention in comment

How to reuse a stream post

Teachers usually create a new Google Classroom for each school year. The reuse post feature allows you to save time by pulling posts from another class. Posts can be pulled from active and archived classes.

how to reuse posts

Customize Stream Settings

From the classroom settings, you can customize how students interact with the stream. Classwork may be included in the stream as assignments are posted or changed. Some teachers choose to hide classwork from the stream to minimize clutter.

Stream Settings

  • Post and Comment: Control if students can create posts and/or comments on your stream. You can also select to only allow teachers to add posts or comments.
  • Classroom on stream: You may include full or condensed notifications. You may also hide all notifications.

Google Classroom Classwork Page

Use the classwork page to organize assignments and other classroom materials. You have several different types of assignments to choose from.

Types of assignments

  • Assignments: This is a homework assignment or project for a student to complete. Include instructions and optional attachments. These assignments are graded manually with or without a rubric.
  • Quiz Assignment: A quiz assignment has an associated Google Form. This allows for some questions to be automatically graded.
  • Question: Single quick survey question. Ask a short answer or multiple choice question. No grading or points awarded for this question.
  • Material: Material assignments are not graded and have no points awarded. These are used to organize reference materials for your classroom.

How to Create an Assignment in Google Classroom

Assignments are tasks required for students to complete and turn in when complete. The steps described below

how to create assignment

  1. Create assignment: From the Classwork page, click the Create button and select Assignment.
  2. Title & instructions: Enter the title and optional instructions.
  3. Attach files, links, or videos: Use the Add button to include attachments. Add one or more of the following:
    • Files from your Google Drive
    • Link to another website
    • A file uploaded from your computer
    • A YouTube video
  4. Create files: The Create button allows you to create a new file for the assignment. New files are stored in your Google Drive.
  5. Attachment access: For each attachment, select how the student may access each attachment.
  6. Target classes: Select one or more target classes to receive the assignment.
  7. Target students: Assign to all or target specific students. Note: if you assign to multiple classes, you cannot target specific students.
  8. Award points: Assign the number of points awarded for the assignment. Or, mark the assignment as ungraded.
  9. Due date: Select optional due date and/or time.
  10. Topic: Organize assignment under an optional topic.
  11. Rubric: Include an optional rubric to indicate how the assignment will be graded. 
  12. Submit assignment: Use the submit button to Assign now, Schedule for another time, or Save draft to assign later.

Warning about attachment access

A common mistake is to not change the attachment access for attached docs and slides. Make sure to select Make a copy for each student if you want each student to edit their own file. View access doesn’t allow students to make changes. Edit access allows all students to modify the same file. With the edit option selected, students can make changes to each other’s work.

View edit or copy file

Reuse classwork assignment post

This is very similar to reusing a stream post. Pull an assignment from another Google Classroom. No need to reinvent the wheel!

Create a rubric for an assignment

A rubric allows teachers to assess student work using specific criteria. If used effectively a rubric ensure students know what is expected of them and reduces time spent grading.

Create Google Classroom Rubric

Organize your classwork page

Use topics to group posts into categories

Topics allow you to group your assignment and classroom materials into categories. Posts without a topic are displayed at the top of the classwork tab by default. Teachers may choose to create topics by topic or chapter. Another option is to create a topic for each week of school.

Drag posts and topics to change order

Move topics and posts by dragging the header around your classwork page. The order you select will show on your student’s classwork page immediately. A common practice is to organize assignments and materials into weekly topics and drag the current week to the top of the page.

Drag posts and topics to change order

Use icons in posts and topic titles to grab attention

Emojis are little pictures you can put in the titles of your posts and topics. You can also put emojis in the comments. My favorite site to find emojis is EmojiCopy. Search for any item and click the image to any copy the emoji. Then, paste the icon into your topic title or comment.

Conclusion

Google Classroom is a powerful tool in the Google Workspace suite. Most school districts have this available for all teachers. I hope you found this guide useful. Let me know if you have any suggestions for articles or videos. Have a look at my YouTube channel for more educational technology tutorials.




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