The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + resources, tips and tricks!

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G Suite | Monday, August 10, 2020

The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + resources, tips and tricks!

The Google Classroom quick-start guide
The Google Classroom Quick-start guide + resources, tips and tricks!

Google Classroom was created to focus less time on tech and more time on teaching. And it certainly has lived up to its billing.

Classroom has streamlined the classroom workflow and makes communication easier between teaches and students. At its core, Google Classroom does a few things and does them really well

  • It creates a central home for class activities.
  • It lets teachers create assignments (and other class activities).
  • It collects assignments from students.
  • It helps teachers grade assignments and provide feedback.
  • It returns assignments to students.

Have you set up Google Classroom in your classroom? If not, now is the time!

This guide will show you how to set Google Classroom up in a matter of minutes and perform the main tasks. It will even address a few things Classroom will NOT do, as it’s not a fully-featured learning management system.

Consider keeping this post open in one tab in your browser and Classroom in another so you can refer back. Feel free to click on the screenshots below to see the full-sized versions. Also, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for a link to this guide in a shareable ebook format, plus links to even more resources.

Let’s get started!

How to set up your class in Google Classroom

Follow these steps to set up your Google Classroom

1. Go to:

  • Google Classroom is now available for Google for Education accounts as well as regular Gmail accounts. Anyone with a Google account can now use Google Classroom.

2. Click on the “+” button in the top right to create your first class. 

(It’s next to the checkerboard icon you use to access all of your apps.) Then click “Create class.”

  • If you’re getting started for the first time, your screen will likely look like the one above.
  • If you have some classes already, they’ll display on this home screen. You can add new classes with the “+” button.

3. Add information about your class.

  • You must add a name for your class. This is how your students will identify your class when they open Google Classroom.
  • Use the “section” field to differentiate between different classes of the same type. Many teachers will use this field for the class period. (This field is optional.)
  • The “subject” field lets you choose from a list of class subjects or type your own. (This field is optional.)
Create and share a class code in Google Classroom

4. Once your class is created, students can start joining it.

  • Students can join your class with a join code (above). This is a quick, easy way to get students into your class. By displaying the join code (click [  ]), students can log in to Google Classroom, click the “+” button and “Join class” to enter the join code. Then they’re added to your class.
  • You can invite students to your class by email. This is a good option if students don’t meet in person for your class. To do this, click the “People” tab at the top. Then, click the “Invite Students” button (an icon with a person and a plus). You can invite students individually with email addresses or by groups if all students are in a Google Group.

5. Customize your Google Classroom.

  • There won’t be any students in your class the moment you create it. This is the time to get creative and have some fun with it! Click “Select theme” on the right side of the header. It will open a gallery of header images you can use to spice up your classroom.
  • You can also upload a photo to display at the top of your Classroom. You can use an image of your class or something that pertains to your class. Some teachers will create a custom header image with important information and fun graphics. Use this template to create a custom header.
Select a theme in Google Classroom

Tech Like A PIRATE is now available!

Tech Like A Pirate book cover

Using Google Meet in Google Classroom

Google has added the ability to enable Google Meet right from your Google Classroom!

Google Classroom & Google Meet Infographic (1)

How to generate a Google Meet link in Classroom

  1. Click on the settings icon in your Google Classroom. From there scroll down to "General"

  2. Click "Generate meet link".

  3. Toggle on "visible to students" if you want your students to be able to see and access this link when they log into Classroom.

  4. Once the link has been generated you can copy the link if you want to share it through another platform. You can also reset the link from here as well.

How to use Google Meet for elearning, online learning

How to use Google Meet for elearning, online learning

When students are learning from home, Google Meet can be the connection you need with them. Here are ideas for using it.

How to use Google Classroom in everyday class

After your class is set up and students join, you have a fully functioning Google Classroom. Congratulations!

But you don’t want to stop there. Here are some things you can do in your Classroom:

Create and share announcements with your class in Google Classroom

1. Add an announcement.

This is a good way to communicate with your class and give them up-to-date information. Announcements are posted to the class stream, but there isn’t a grade associated with them.

Add an announcement to Google Classroom

Go to your class Stream and click on “share something with your class”. Add the text for your announcement. Add any files (attached or from Google Drive), YouTube videos or links you’d like. Then post it (or schedule it for later).

Create an assignment, quiz, question, attach material, or reuse an old post in Google Classroom

2. Create an assignment, quiz, question, attach material, or reuse an old post.

This is where students get to work! You can create a graded (or ungraded) question for students to answer, a quiz, OR assignment for students to do. You can create them under the “Classwork” tab (above). You can also attach material you want the students to see or reuse an old post.

Tips for Google Classroom assignment

Things to include in your assignment or question (above):

  • A descriptive title for your assignment. (Pro tip: It’s good to number your assignments to eliminate confusion.)
  • A description. This is helpful for students who were absent and for referring back to a previous assignment later.
  • Points. Choose how many points the assignment/question is worth (or use the drop-down menu to make it ungraded).
  • A due date. Choose when the assignment is due (or don’t use a due date).
  • A topic. (We’ll get to this in a moment …)
  • File attachments. Attach files, add files from Google Drive, include YouTube videos, or give students a link.

Assign the assignment immediately, schedule it to post automatically later, or save your assignment as a draft to finish later.

3. Organize your class with topics.

If you have different chapters, units, subjects, etc. within your class, you can categorize your assignments and questions by topic to keep everything organized.

Under “Classwork”, click the “Create” button and add a topic. Then, whenever you create a new assignment or announcement, you’ll be able to add that topic to it.

4. Grade and return work.

Once students have completed work, you can provide feedback and grade the assignment. Click on the “Classwork” button and click on the assignment to view student work.

Here are some of the actions you can take …

  1. Sort the assignment by students who have turned the work in or all students who were given the assignment. (Just click on the big number.) Or, you can sort by other options with the drop-down menu below the big numbers.)
  2. Open and view student work by clicking on it. Inside student documents, slide presentations, etc., you can add comments directly to the file. Or …
  3. Type and view private comments to the student by clicking on the student’s name. You can also see when files were turned in with the history.
  4. Add a grade to student work.
  5. When you’re all done, return work back to students. Be sure you’ve checked the box next to their names and click the “Return” button.

Google Classroom tips and tricks

Here are some ideas for maximizing your use of Google Classroom …

  1. On your “Classes” page (click the three lines menu button and “Classes”), click and drag your class cards around the page to reorder them.
  2. Whenever you see a folder icon, click it to open that class’s Google Classroom folder in Google Drive. This is where student work lives when it’s turned in.
  3. Assignments with due dates automatically go on your class’s Google Calendar. Click a calendar icon to view it.
  4. Want to make an individual copy of a file for every student in an assignment? (i.e. You have a graphic organizer you want ALL students to complete.) Google Classroom is like your digital photocopier. When you attach the file to your assignment, use the drop-down menu on that file and choose “Make a copy for each student.”
  5. Know the difference between the types of comments you can leave in Google Classroom. Check out the graphic below!
  6. The Google Classroom mobile app is your secret tool for giving students quick, easy, instant feedback. Check out all you can do with it.
  7. Adjust the settings for your class using the gear icon from your class’s home screen. You can change your class name, display the class code, decide what actions students can take in the stream, and decide whether to display deleted items.
Use the right kind of comment in Google Classroom

Looking for even MORE G Suite resources?

101 ways to Ditch That Textbook with G Suite ebook cover

Get our FREE ebook!

101 Ways to Ditch That Textbook with G Suite, tons of practical, creative ways to use Google tools in the classroom.

The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide ebook

The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide ebook cover

Want a quick and easy way to share this resource with your colleagues? 

Now you can download this step-by-step guide in an ebook!

Click here to download the ebook. It’s FREE!

Top Google Classroom blog posts

Here are some of our most popular posts with even more Google Classroom tips and tricks:

For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

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  • Love that I can now sort students by last name! Thanks! One major thing teachers would like to do with Classroom is post assignments, but not show them until the day they are assigned. Currently I can only post daily – It’d be nice to have them posted – but hidden – until I want students to see them.

    I have LOVED Classroom and will continue to use it!

    • Kristi says:

      I second that! It would be nice to have a “holding tank” for work you’re not ready to assign. I’d also like to see a code for parents to join and see assignments/announcements, but I’m not sure people outside the org can view classroom assignments.

  • Jim Schwantes says:

    Is there a way to post announcement and have it first show up the next day. Google classroom is really working well!

    • Matt Miller says:

      Jim — I don’t think that’s an option yet. I would suggest clicking the “?” icon in the bottom right and click “Send feedback” and tell them you’d like to see that feature. I know first-hand that the Googlers that work on Classroom check those suggestions all the time. And I agree — Classroom is making life much easier for me in my classroom as well!

  • Ellen Chiesa says:

    I like that Classroom organizes documents by assignment title and period BUT those same files also turn up in my shared with me folder drive – I don’t want a hundred assignments there that I have to sort through – I would be happy if things went only to classroom to the predesignated folders. Is there a way around this that I’m missing?

    • Matt Miller says:

      With Classroom, you can find assignments in two places —
      1. Within the assignment itself in Classroom … click on the assignment and then view individual student files.
      2. In your Google Drive under the “Classroom” folder … all the student files are stored in individual sorted files.
      When students turn assignments in to me in Classroom, they never show up in “Shared with Me” for me. Not sure what’s different with yours …

  • […] The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + tips and tricks … […]

  • […] Sourced through from: […]

  • […] 2. “Adding descriptions to assignments is a good thing to do. The assignments in Classroom become good points of reference for absent students and kids that see their grades and wonder why they are as they are. Spelling out all of the details makes for easy reference later.” (Ditch That Textbook) […]

  • Amy says:

    I am wondering how to link the apps to the classroom. I would like to make assignments in Google classroom that require my students to record their voices on Google record for me to listen to and grade. I would like to be able to put the app in the classroom for them. Is this possible?

    • Matt Miller says:

      An easy fix for that is to leave instructions in an assignment, give them a link to the tool (I assume you’re talking about Google Voice) and then let them mark it as completed in Classroom when they’re done. If it’s Google Voice, you could leave instructions and your phone number in the assignment so they can call and leave the voice message.

  • […] Ditch That Textbook: Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide […]

  • […] Ditch That Textbook: Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide […]

  • Melody says:

    Can students use google docs in connection w teacher using doctopus without having gmail for ea student?

  • cathy says:

    My classroom recently got a chromebook for each child (actually our whole school did). I am loving this new technology. I am also in the learning stages. I have a lot of TeacherPayTeacher things I have purchased over the years – some very good material. I want to use the worksheets from these packets and allow students to work on them the way they do on a google doc assignment. I have searched all over for a way – do you know of one (fairly simple to use)? Thanks in advance.

  • Thanks for this guide! My district is just getting started with Classroom and this will be a useful resource.

    One neat update since you posted this – Google has added the ability to post an assignment at a later date, which someone in these comments suggested. Here’s a link where you can keep up with updates to Classroom:

  • Sara Gunn-Meche says:

    I am frankly frustrated and disappointed that my new district is insisting on Google Classroom. It is a monster to manage after using Schoology. They really need to understand that teachers need an easy, intuitive forum for their classroom. The eternal search for extensions to make things work is cumbersome. I can see it as a way to give the work, but not really to grade the work and communicate about the work.

  • Barb says:

    Not sure of the date on this, but GC does sync with the Google Calendar.

  • Staci says:

    Is there anyway to print a list of assignments posted on GC for a certain date?

    • Matt Miller says:

      To print assignments posted to Google Classroom, try this …

      1. Open the class in Google Classroom and click the “About” tab.
      2. Click the “Open in Google Classroom” link.
      3. Find the date that you want and click on the header at the top (i.e. where it says “Wed 11/9”) to display just that date.
      4. You’ll see your list of calendars to the left (“My Calendars” and “Other Calendars”). Click on any calendars you want to hide (so that you don’t end up printing them).
      5. Click on the “More” drop-down in the top right and click “Print”. You can choose the date range that you want to print (i.e. just one day, a whole week, etc.).
      >>> If the one day option doesn’t look the way you want, you can always click “Agenda” to get a different look.
      >>> After clicking “Print” you an also click the “Save as …” button to get a PDF file of the calendar.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Jena says:

    My doughtier Aousha can’t get on to Lisa overton’s Google classroom.
    She forgot her username and password to get on to it.

    To:Lisa overton ????????????????????????

    From: Jena Reeves ????????????????????????

  • […] Resource: The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide […]

  • Jay says:

    Feeling disappointed by the limits. Used Moodle for years at my old school which could do SO much. Then came to a school with no VLE. For some reason when choosing a VLE they have now gone for Classroom which seems to do little except document share, share messages and take work in. It’s not really changing the way we can teach, just the tools. Frustrated!

  • seo plugin says:

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  • […] For tips on how to set up your google classroom, you can click HERE. […]

  • Else says:

    How does Google classroom create Student email addresses? If I have a Gsuite educational account would it automatically generate student email addresses?

  • Katrina says:

    Is there a way to assign one page / slide from an entire PDF packet? For example I have a 72 page packet on graphs but I only want to assign page 4. How can I do that?

  • Nadine says:

    Thank you so muck for the tutorial. This has been best one so far, and I have tried many. Directions were very clear and pics where helpful. I thank you, because I will be using google classroom in my class.

  • Scott says:

    I’m not certain how to effectively use this with my performance (instrumental music) classroom.

  • Karen says:

    I like the idea of numbering the assignments. Simple but effective.

  • Jean says:

    How do you edit a document?

  • […] out The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + resources, tips and tricks! for all you need to get started using Google […]

  • Sean says:

    The class code shown didn’t work.

  • Jelly T. Alegre says:

    Thank you Google. Infos in Google meet is very helpful for us teachers on this new normal.

  • shoshanna says:

    would be nice if they put the time of there classes on each period my stepson gets so confused he is 12

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