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.
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How to Use Google Classroom
⚙️ Tutorials to get you up and running
🛠 Organization tips and tools
💡 TONS of activities you can use right away
🚀 Ideas to take your skills to the next level
How to set up your class in Google Classroom
Follow these steps to set up your Google Classroom
1. Go to: classroom.google.com.
- 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.)
4. Once your class is created, students can start joining it.
- NEW invite students with a link! Students can now join your class using a special invite link. Just click on the class code and click "copy invite link". You can drop this link in your distance learning classroom chat box or email the link if you already have a group email list set up.
- 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.
Do More with Google Classroom
Teach better. Save time. Make a difference.
The short how-to tutorials on Google Classroom are EVERYWHERE. But how do we teach well with it? In this book, you'll find practical ideas to do great teaching with Google Classroom and thrive.
Using Google Meet in Google Classroom
Google has added the ability to enable Google Meet right from your Google Classroom!
How to generate a Google Meet link in Classroom
- Click on the settings icon in your Google Classroom. From there scroll down to "General"
- Click "Generate meet link".
- Toggle on "visible to students" if you want your students to be able to see and access this link when they log into Classroom.
- 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
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:
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.
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).
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.
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 …
- 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.)
- Open and view student work by clicking on it. Inside student documents, slide presentations, etc., you can add comments directly to the file. Or …
- 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.
- Add a grade to student work.
- 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.
10 ways to make GOOD Google Classroom assignments BETTER
Understanding and utilizing Google Classroom's features can help you make the most out this widely used tool. Here are 10 tips for creating even better assignments for your students.
Google Classroom tips and tricks
Here are some ideas for maximizing your use of Google Classroom …
- On your “Classes” page (click the three lines menu button and “Classes”), click and drag your class cards around the page to reorder them.
- 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.
- Assignments with due dates automatically go on your class’s Google Calendar. Click a calendar icon to view it.
- 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.”
- Know the difference between the types of comments you can leave in Google Classroom. Check out the graphic below!
- The Google Classroom mobile app is your secret tool for giving students quick, easy, instant feedback. Check out all you can do with it.
- 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.
20 tips to use Google Classroom effectively and efficiently
Google Classroom can be even more powerful with a few tips and strategies to make it efficient and effective.
Looking for even MORE G Suite resources?
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
Top Google Classroom blog posts
Here are some of our most popular posts with even more Google Classroom tips and tricks:
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