Start the school year strong by leveling up with your use of technology, starting with this quick and comprehensive Google Classroom tutorial for teachers.
I’ve been in your shoes, looking at the blank Classroom homepage and wondering if it will be better than the last “next best thing” your district mandated.
Good news…it is and it will be!
I love teaching with Google Classroom so much that I opted to stay when our district gave the option of switching to Schoology.
Two months later, I was doubly glad for that decision when teachers who had switched to Schoology were jumping ship and saying that students hated Schoology, the grade book integration was faulty, and the look and appearance of Schoology were difficult to navigate, more like Blackboard than anything.
I digress. If you are thinking about switching to Google Classroom, if your district is telling you that you must use it, if you have been using it for awhile now, you’ll want to read this post. (More experienced users will want to visit the Google Classroom Settings section to make sure they have set everything up for success.)
So let’s get learning!
What is Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a platform that syncs with Google Drive and Gmail to simplify file sharing and communication between students and teachers.
Much like Schoology or Blackboard, teachers can set up individual classes and add assessments for students to work on and materials for students to read and use in their work.
What makes Google Classroom so great is that it is intuitive to use for both students and teachers. In addition, teachers can organize materials and digital activities by unit, give quick and streamlined feedback to students on their work, and formatively assess student skills through the question feature.
How to Create a Google Classroom
To create a Google Classroom, you’ll need a gmail account. Go to classroom.google.com to get started. Then, click on the plus sign in the upper right corner to create your first class.
Name the class something that will distinguish it from your other classes. I also suggest adding the school year so that once you archive the class at the end of the year, you can easily find it again if needed. Feel free to customize the header image, again, something unique for each class. You can get creative here, take a picture of the class on the first day of school, use a stock image or picture of a cool design.
During the first week of school, I have students join my Classroom by clicking the plus icon and “join class.” Project the join code for students to enter. You can find the join code on the left of the header image in the Classroom stream.
How to Use Google Classroom
If a screencast Google Classroom tutorial for teachers is your love language, I’ve got you covered. In this tutorial, I walk you through, step-by-step, to set up your first class, understand the features of Google Classroom, and adjust the settings.
Google Classroom Settings
I went over this quickly in the video above, but to customize the settings in Google Classroom, you’ll want to visit the gear icon. Here, you can change the class details, but I recommend scrolling down to change the settings for your Classroom stream.
What is your purpose for using the stream?
➡️ Do you want to make the stream a place where students can share their work and chat with each other, like a backchannel chat? If so, make it so that “students can post and comment” or “students can only comment.” For these options, you have to really trust your students not to post something inappropriate. For the students can only comment feature, you can post a question, announcement, etc. and students can reply to your post.
➡️ Do you want to make the stream a place for teacher announcements and weekly agendas? If so, make it so that only the teacher can post and comment.
Next, do you want notifications of classwork you post to show up in the stream?
➡️ I would recommend choosing “hide notifications” to classwork on the stream.
The stream shows everything in chronological order, with the most recent content first. If classwork is posted not only in the classwork tab but also in the stream, students will waste time scrolling down in the stream trying to find assignments.
It is better to set a clear purpose for using the stream and hide notifications so that students must visit the classwork tab for their assignments. It’s better this way because you can create topics and file assignments in a logical way for students to find and access more quickly.
Hey, thanks for reading this Google Classroom tutorial for teachers! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able.
Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading. I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.
Click on the link above or the image below to get started!