Google Classroom users have doubled in light of COVID-19 with the need for a virtual classroom setting skyrocketing in the past few months. While the classroom was already becoming more and more paperless for college and university students, elementary and high school teachers have now discovered an effective way to virtually teach their students using Google Classroom.
Google classroom is a streamlined, easy-to-use tool that helps teachers manage coursework, focusing on less complicated tech and more teaching. Whether or not you consider yourself up-to-date on technology, we can promise you that this is an incredibly easy and effective tool to use.
In this post, we’ll explain how to use Google Classroom and what you can do with it. From inviting students to your class to grading and returning an assignment, Google Classroom is simple and straightforward to use.
1. How to Access Google Classroom
There are multiple ways to access Google Classroom. Google Classroom is available for Google for Education accounts, but it is also available with a regular Gmail account. You can find Google Classroom by entering classroom.google.com in your browser, as well as downloading the Google Classroom app. You can also conveniently find Classroom in your applications manager on your Google homepage.
2. Create and edit a class in Google Classroom
Creating and editing a class is easy in Google Classroom. All you need to do is click the + button and select Create class.
Once the dialogue box pops up, you can fill in the class information. You can choose to write in all of the necessary details right away, or you can change these settings anytime by going to the Class settings.
Here are the options you will find:
- Class Name: This is where you’ll put your class name.
- Section: If you teach multiple segments of a course, you can enter the class description, duration, time, or grade level for each individual section.
- Subject: Write the class’s subject or select one from the list that will automatically begin to populate when you start typing.
- Room: The location of the class.
After a class is created, you will still be able to edit the class details by selecting the Settings button on the class page.
3. Apply a Class Theme
Classroom automatically applies a theme when you create a class, but this can easily be changed. Students and teachers will be able to see the image or pattern at the top of the class’s Stream page. While the theme image is visible to both teachers and students, it can only be customized by the teacher.
To edit the theme, click Select theme. If you have your own image you would like to add, you can also select Upload photo and choose a picture that’s saved to your computer.
From here, you can choose a theme category, which you’ll find simply displayed at the top of the screen under ‘gallery’. You can then choose and select your class theme. When your theme is applied, you will see both the header image and the color of the tabs at the top of the page updated.
4. Add students to your Google Classroom
Students can simply join your class with a join code, which is a quick and easy way to get students into your class. By sharing the join code with your students, they can log in to Google Classroom by clicking the “+” button and “Join class”, where they will enter the join code. They are now added to your class.
You can also invite students to your class by email, which is the most convenient option for sharing your class while in a separate location from your students. To add students by email, select the “People” tab at the top. You can then select “Invite Students” (an icon with a person and a plus). You can either invite students individually with email addresses or you can invite them by groups if all students are in a Google Group.
Reset Class Code
When you create a class, Google Classroom will automatically create a custom class code. If for some reason students have trouble entering the class code, you can go ahead and easily reset it. You can also disable the class code if for some reason you do not want students to join the class, however, it can be enabled at any time. When you reset or enable a class code, Classroom will create a new code for the class and the previous code will no longer work.
To find where to reset your class code, use the following steps:
- Go to classroom.google.com
- Select Settings
- Under General next to the class code, select the Down arrow, and choose from the following options:
- To display the code, select Display
- To copy the code, select Copy
- To reset the code, select Reset
- To turn the code off or on, select Disable or Enable
- Click Save
5. Showing how students join a class
To use Classroom as a student, you simply sign in on your computer or mobile device to join classes. After you have officially joined a class, you can then receive work from your teacher and communicate with your classmates via Classroom.
As a student, you can join a class in two ways. You can either enter a class code, which your teacher would have to share with you. You then sign in to Classroom and enter the code.
You can also accept an invite, which your teacher will send you through your email. You can either accept the invite in your email or in Classroom.
Whether you join Classroom on your mobile app or your desktop, you will be enrolled in that class on all devices.
6. Invite guardians and email students
One of the many great features of Google Classroom is that you can invite guardians to receive emails on behalf of their students. The teacher will have to manually turn on this feature as it’s not automatically enabled.
To do so, go to the Students tab. If you do not see this option, it may be because you have not officially been verified as a teacher and may still be pending. In this case, you need to contact your G Suite administrator.
Once you enable the feature, you will need to invite each guardian individually. You can either turn this feature on for all of your classes or you can select individual classes. To begin inviting guardians, select Invite Guardians next to the students’ names.
From here, you can enter the guardian email and repeat the same process for each individual student. Guardians then have a week to accept the invitation, at which time you will need to send them another invitation if they miss the window.
7. Communicating in the Stream in Google Classroom with Student View
As a teacher, you can communicate with your class in the class stream. This is one great way to ensure students and teachers alike can feel connected and are easily able to share thoughts and ideas. You can do so in the following ways:
- Post: Information or a question
- Comment: A response to a post or comment
- Reply: A response to a comment that mentions whoever made the comment
Students also have the option of sending a private comment to their teacher about an assignment or question, however, they cannot send a private comment or question to their classmates.
You can also easily attach items to your post, including videos, images, files, Google Drive items, YouTube videos, and links.
8. Adding Resources and Materials in Google Classroom
Virtual classroom or not, you need to add course materials for your students to reference and work from. These may include post-resource materials, such as syllabus, classroom rules, or topic-related reading.
To do so, you need to access the Classroom page, which you can find beside your Classroom Stream. To add a topic, simply select Add Topic and enter your topic into the populated text box. You can create as many topics as you like and then add materials within the topics.
From here, you can type your title and description. By selecting the Add button, you can then attach files such as your course syllabus, a YouTube video, or any other link. You can also attach more files before and you select Create.
Before posting, you can select whether you would like to share this material with all students or select individual students and which topic you would like to apply it to. When you’re ready to go, select Post.
Students can easily see and access the topics and resources that have been uploaded by their teacher.
9. Creating an assignment in Google Classroom
As the teacher can quickly and easily make assignments that include the attached materials. When you post the assignment, your students will receive an email notification. Your students can then complete the assignment and turn it back in. Students do not have the option to edit their assignment once it’s turned in.
To create an assignment, log in to your class and select the Classwork tab and click Assignment.
You can now type in the title of the assignment as well as optional instructions. The description is a great place to add instructions for the assignment. If you have materials to add to the assignment, you can do so by clicking the appropriate attach icon, as you did with your resources and materials.
When you upload documents from Google Drive, you can assign permissions right away for what the students can do. This includes:
- View only: This option is for if you want all of your students to be able to read the same file but not change it, which is ideal for reference materials only.
- Edit: This option is for if you want all of your students to be able to make changes to the same file, which is only good if students are collaborating on a single assignment.
- Make a copy for each student: With this option, students can make changes and turn in their assignments separately, which is most suitable for typical homework assignments.
You can now click the due date to change it if you wish, as well as clicking Add Time to add the time of day on the due date that the assignment is due. You can also create and select a topic to associate it with right in this menu, rather than creating one prior. You can now go ahead and assign your document.
10. Student View of the Assignment
Now that the assignment is made, each student will receive an e-mail notification of the assignment. It will then be visible on the class’s Stream page and under the Classwork tab.
The students can now select View Assignment to open the assignment you just posted. Your students have multiple options to turn in their assignments, including right in Google Docs if they choose to write and submit their assignments there.
Once submitted, students have the option to un-submit their work if they need to make changes. They can also add other documents to their file, including links, Google Drive documents, and YouTube videos.
11. Grading and Returning the Assignment
When you log in to your class and click the Stream tab, you can see the assignments you’ve made in the center column.
In the Assignment box under Classwork, you can see how many students have and haven’t completed the assignment, but how many have turned it in. If you select the number above and click Done, you can see the list of students who have turned in the assignment.
You can then select the name of the student to expand his or her assignment in Google Docs. By selecting their name at the top, you can also quickly and easily switch to the next student’s document who has turned in their assignment, without having to exit the page.
You can make any comments you have inside the document by using the Comment tool to provide feedback. Simply highlight the text you wish to comment about and select Insert → Comment. You can then type in your comment and click Comment. All of your comments are then automatically saved in the document that the student turned in and they will easily be able to view them themselves.
To grade the assignment, type in the number of points earned, from 0 to 100. You cannot type in letter grades in this field. You can then choose to turn in one student’s assignment or multiple, by selecting the applicable students. You can then click Return.
12. Students’ View of the Returned Assignment
Students can now easily view their submitted assignments and can see their grades clearly at the top of the page. They also have the option to resubmit their assignments here.
Ready to Teach?
We hope you’ve enjoyed this general overview on how to use Google Classroom. It’s important to keep in mind that these functions will all be the same with mobile apps, where students will easily be able to receive all of the same notifications and can turn in their assignments. Google Classroom is a great and effective tool for being able to assign assignments, as well as communicate with your class from a distance. On top of that, it’s incredibly simple for both students and teachers alike!