Google Classroom is a free virtual meeting place for instructors and students. The platform is very easy to learn for anyone with a Google account, as it closely integrates with the Google apps you know and use every day. This Google Classroom guide covers everything you need to know to get started as an online tutor.
What Is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is Google’s free e-learning platform where students and teachers collaborate and interact through online training, class assignments, and reciprocal communication. It is designed for both self-paced and live learning. To operate Google Classroom as a school administrator, you need a Google Workspace for Education account.
Combined with other Google apps, such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Google Meet, and Google Calendar, Google Classroom achieves the same outcome as a physical classroom. Just as in the real world, a teacher can mark attendance, assign homework, grade the assignments, provide feedback on progress, and also interact with parents/guardians.
Getting Started with Google Classroom for Teachers
If you’re new to Google Classroom as a teacher, follow these steps in order to access, create and manage your online classes.
1. Accessing Google Classroom
Accessing Google Classroom is very easy for both teachers and students.
- Go to the Google Classroom homepage and sign in with your Google account. You can indirectly access the “Classroom” app from your Gmail app drawer. On a mobile/tablet device, download the app from the Play Store or App Store.
- Whichever device you use, click “Continue” to associate your Google account with the Google Classroom app.
- Click the plus sign to create or join your first class. Select “Create class” as a teacher.
- You will see a disclaimer requiring you to agree that your school/university will sign up for a free Google Workspace for Education account. (Check the FAQs at the end for more information.)
2. Creating Your Class in Google Classroom
- Give your class a name and provide the section and subject details.
- Next you will see a blank classroom homepage requiring a basic setup. Either select a customized theme or upload a relevant photo.
If you’re uploading a picture from your computer, it should at least be 800 x 200 pixels. Crop and fit the image so that it can fill up the banner.
- Every class should have a minimum of a written agenda so that students can easily identify and relate with it. Click “Announce something to your class” and add one or two lines of description.
- While adding the above classroom details, you’ll see extra options to insert Google Drive files, YouTube videos, and website links.
- Go to “Settings” on the left, where you can set up class notifications and enable or disable them as per your needs.
- Your class is now online. Alternatively, there’s an option to schedule the class launch for a future date.
3. Managing Multiple Classes
As a teacher, you can create as many classes as you want, depending on the subjects. Any assignments or schedules you create for one cannot be transferred to the other classroom except by using a “Reuse” option. However, you can manage these multiple classrooms from the top level using a three-dot menu with options such as “Move,” “Copy link,” “Edit,” and “Archive.”
Google Classroom: Important Features
Once you create a class, students may join. Before your first session, spend some time to explore the most indispensable features of this platform.
1. Google Classroom “Classwork” Page
At the top of your homepage, you should see “Classwork,” one of the most important sections. Here you can use a prominent “Create” button to add assignments, quizzes, create topics and lesson plans, and reuse previous posts.
- Assignments: to add an assignment, you must provide a description with additional instructions. You can optionally set up points or grades, schedule a due date and add files. Additionally, you can set quiz assignments and pose questions.
- Reusing Posts: you can access a useful feature called “Reuse post’ that will save you the trouble of typing the same thing for each new lesson. Simply borrow the contents from an existing assignment, quiz or question (in any classroom) and reuse the data with the modifications needed.
- Creating topics: if your course is well-defined, you will need to arrange it by topic. From the “Classwork” menu, create various topics in a sequence. There’s a visible option that allows you to move the topics up and down as needed.
- Creating lesson plans: the topics are further subdivided into lessons. Any new assignment or task you create under a topic is automatically saved as a “lesson.” Therefore, you can easily formulate your lesson plans by topic.
2. “To Review” Items in Google Classroom
Once your class starts, you’ll need a central dashboard to view all your students’ work. In the left corner of your Classroom homepage, you can see an icon for “To review” items. This section allows you to review student assignment submissions in one place.
3. Organizing Files and Folders
Google Classroom is closely integrated with Google Drive, which is used to organize your files and folders. To access them directly, click the tiny folder icon visible on your class homepage to be led to the Google Drive folder containing all your files for the class. Alternatively, access the “Class Drive folder” from the “Classwork” tab. You can create as many subfolders as you need here.
Collaborating With Students, Teachers and Guardians
Once your class is ready and the topics/lessons prepared, it’s time to bring over the students, other teachers and parents/guardians. Below you will find the most essential collaboration steps.
1. Adding Students or Teachers to a Google Classroom
- To add students to your class, go to “People” at the top-right corner. You can add them directly if they had previously sent an email to your Gmail account; otherwise, simply send an invitation with an invite link. The procedure to add teachers is similar. For this, select the relevant option before “Students.”
- As soon as the student/teacher sees your email invitation, they can click the email link to join your class.
2. Students Joining with a Class Code
Another way for students to join the class is to use a unique class code that is automatically associated with every classroom. It is prominently visible on your homepage. As a teacher, you can share this class code via Gmail or texting apps.
To join using a class code, the students will first have to click the “+” sign on their respective screens on top and select “Join class.”
3. Inviting Guardians to Google Classroom
On a related note, as a teacher, you can invite and send email summaries to parents/guardians.
- Turn on the Guardian summaries by going to “Settings -> General.”
- Go to “People” where you will see “Invite guardians” next to any student’s name. Enter their email address and send the invite. Once they accept the invitation on their Google Classroom account, you can easily email them in the future.
Do keep in mind that the guardian email feature is only available with the administrator account in Google Workspace for Education, and the teacher has to be granted the access by the administrator.
4. Sending Emails and Private Comments in Google Classroom
Whether you’re a teacher or a student/guardian, you can send private emails on your dashboard from the “People” tab, where you need to choose the email of the person you are contacting.
The private comments option is visible on any assignment or task: students and teachers can communicate there. These comments can only be viewed by the recipient. All other comments on the homepage are public.
5. Inserting Emojis and Bitmoji to Google Classroom
Both students and teachers can use flashy emojis and other colorful symbols to make the class more engaging.
- To insert an emoji in Google Classroom, simply use the built-in emoji keyboard on your device. Windows users can use Win + ; to generate a huge list of emojis. Mac users can use Control + Command + Space.
- To add your personalized Bitmojis in the classroom, use this Chrome extension.
6. Giving Feedback on Assignments and Quizzes
All assigned classwork, quizzes and tasks in Google Classroom comes with a feedback section where you can add your detailed observation. If your assignment has dependence on Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides, as teacher, you can insert your feedback comments within the student submissions.
7. Tracking Attendance in Google Classroom
Tracking attendance in Google Classroom can be done manually, but with Google Workspace accounts, you can install this detailed timesheet tool. Once done, the attendance tool is automatically added as an “add-on” in Google Sheets.
The Google Sheets document automatically updates the entries each time a student attends the class. The rest of the data has to be filled in manually.
If you’re planning to use Google Meet in your daily lessons, use this “Attendance for Google Meet” Chrome Web store extension.
8. Checking for Plagiarism on Google Classroom
Once a student has submitted an assignment, the teacher can check it for plagiarism using the “Plagiarism Check” Workspace extension. It can be located as a Google Docs add-on.
Go to the student assignment in Google Docs and open the plagiarism check add-on. Click “Start” to begin the plagiarism check.
Gaining Access to Google Workspace for Education as a Teacher
Some of the advanced features of Google Classroom can only be accessed from a Google Workspace for Education account. You need to qualify for it, and only eligible schools and colleges have access to this feature, which is available for free. A simple form needs to be filled out by the administrator at the link. Once approved, they will be able to create individual Google Classroom accounts for the teachers.
Google Classroom greatly complements your blackboard teaching skills: you can assign homework, check tutorials, create quizzes and grade your students.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox