The Ultimate Google Classroom Teacher Guide to Maximize Your Students’ Experience

Google Classroom Teacher


With such a large move to remote interaction and communication, there have been more and more e-learning and online teaching opportunities over the last couple of years.

This isn’t projected to change, as the worldwide e-learning market is expected to exceed USD $240 billion by next year. Maybe you’re keeping up with this trend and have acquainted yourself with various online teaching companies and digital learning platforms. Or, you could be looking around for how best to compete in this ever-growing market.

Either way, becoming a Google Classroom teacher may be an incredibly viable option for you. Check out our guide for all you need to know about this useful online teaching tool. In it, you’ll learn all about:

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What is Google Classroom?

Google Classroom is a digital learning platform for schools. It brings learning tools together in one place to help teachers and educators manage, track, and enrich the lessons and educational experiences they deliver to students. The platform also allows teachers to efficiently create, deliver, grade, and return digital assignments and other resources for their students. It streamlines the file-sharing process, all without the use of paper.

Google Classroom is free to use for anyone holding a personal Google account and for organizations that use Google Workspace for Education or Google Workspace for nonprofits. Most often, teachers and students access Google Classroom through a Google account that their school provides.

A Popular Online Teaching Platform

Google Classroom has become one of the most popular education-technology tools out there, thanks to its flexibility and integration with Google’s system and suite of tools that so many people already use and are familiar with. The platform is a low or no-cost, natural, easy, and intuitive way to get into online learning, for both teachers and students alike.

Why Should I Be a Google Classroom Teacher?

being a google classroom teacher

If you’re teaching various classes and subjects and would love to consolidate the tools and templates that you use across them all, Google Classroom could be a great option. You’ll enjoy a ready-to-go education platform that’s easy to use across multiple devices and that integrates with other tools you might be using. It’s a win-win for teachers and students and their schools because most users of Google Classroom will already have a device to use with it, and the school doesn’t need to provide IT support. You’ll even have access to Google Hangouts support for live video classes.

As a Google Classroom teacher, you’ll put in minimal effort to plan and deliver your class resources, assignments, grading, and feedback. You’ll seamlessly see all of your information across multiple devices.

Google Classroom is a robust platform with different versions and features but in its most basic form, it allows you to use all of Google’s tools in one place. So, while it won’t fully replace a brick and mortar classroom, it’s a free way to either get started teaching online or offer multiple, simple classes.

Keep reading to learn all about handy Google Classroom features.

Google Classroom Features

Google Classroom offers a number of helpful features that you can choose and benefit from in your classes. Overall, it offers you a single spot to use all of your education tools and run multiple classes. From any location on any device, you can work concurrently in a document with your entire class or connect with them face-to-face through Google Meet. This gives you and your students and parents more freedom and flexibility to be mobile from anywhere in the world.

Here are some of the more specific features you might benefit from as a Google Classroom teacher.

Manage Student Assignments and Feedback

It’s easy to create, deliver, and receive automatically graded assessments in Google Classroom. Or, to get a feel for how your students are doing or where they’re at on a certain topic or subject, simply post discussion questions. And, when you grade assignments and send student feedback, you can conveniently:

  • Work in different modes, from a specific student, class, or assignment in seconds.
  • Monitor your students’ progress and send their grades to your school’s student information system (SIS).
  • Mark with rubrics next to your students’ work, for maximum consistency and transparency.
  • Customize your comment bank to conveniently save frequently used phrases.
  • Get up to speed instantly on each student’s class performance, assignments, feedback, and deadlines using notifications.

Stay Organized and On Track

You can stay completely organized while managing multiple classes with digital automated calendar reminders and classwork templates. Plus, pages with to-dos for your students and to-review items for you keep everyone on track. This can involve many types of media and files, from websites and discussion boards to spreadsheets, videos, PDFs and more. You can conveniently post assignments to more than one class at once and update or reuse assignments from previous classes or years. You’ll also save time when you sync your classroom rosters from the SIS and add new students via a code or link.

Create Personalized Learning Experiences for Your Students

With features like support in multiple languages, adjustable accessibility settings, and individual education plans, it’s easy to take care of each student’s needs. When you do this, you’re more empowered to offer them as relevant and meaningful a learning experience as possible.

Communicate Effectively and Easily

It’s intuitive and straightforward to use Google Classroom when communicating with your students. Post reminders and announcements about assignments, quizzes, and projects, and see at a glance who has submitted their work or not. There’s also functionality to private message students so that you can individually answer questions and provide support and feedback.

Streamline Class Management

You can easily simplify the way you consistently manage all of your classes with integrations like Google Calendar, Docs, Drive, Meet, and Forms. This means you’ll find several complementary shortcuts and automation to manage your classroom.

For instance, your students’ class calendar will automatically populate assignment due dates that you’ve posted on the platform. Or, distribute unit tests or quizzes via Google Forms that get automatically graded once they’re handed in. You can then check out how your class performed directly in Forms or through a Google Sheet that’s automatically created.

Balance Work and Life Better

The location independence of remote teaching gives you a certain freedom and flexibility to do more of what you want, where you want to do it. When you connect with your classes over Google Meet video or collaborate in Google Docs, for example, you really can be anywhere in the world. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a quiet space.

Verify Authenticity and Originality

Google Classroom even offers features to verify the originality of your students’ work. Not only can you scan assignments to verify authenticity with originality reports, but your students can check their own work to get recommended citations. You can also compare their work against that of other students in your domain’s past student work repository.

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Using Google Classroom for Feedback, Assessments, and Grading

formative feedback report cards

Providing feedback to students is a critical part of your role as a teacher since it can help them improve. With report cards, ongoing formative feedback is key to that assessment because it gives your students a cue to what their next steps should be. For instance, if someone is struggling with a particular subject, topic, or learning method, it will get them thinking about this and focused on where to best spend their time and effort going forward. On the other hand, if a student is doing extremely well and you have nothing negative to say, they still need positive reinforcement to know what to keep doing. When you create this well-rounded feedback, which FeedbackPanda can help you streamline, you benefit from a practical guide to planning your future classes and knowing what to emphasize.

A nice thing about Google Classroom is it helps teachers streamline feedback assessments. For instance, you can create, send out, and receive automatically graded assessments. Or, post discussion questions to get a quick, real-time sense of what students think and where they’re at on a topic. You can also create summative assessments, such as unit tests with various types of questions, like short or long-answer, multiple-choice, matching, and others. Students have the flexibility to demonstrate their knowledge in multiple ways, such as through uploading movie or photo files as part of their answers. Plus, a variety of third-party formative and summative assessment tools conveniently integrate with Google Classroom.

Feedback in Google Classroom

In Google Classroom, you can:

  • Create unit tests with different question types like matching, multiple choice, short or long-answer, and others. From there, students can demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways, such as through uploading photo or video files as part of their answers.
  • Assign a weight or point to assignments with rubrics that students can view in Google Classroom as they work. When they hand in their assignments, they’ll see them automatically graded and assigned a score based on that rubric.
  • Provide personalized feedback to your students on any file type within Google Classroom’s grading tool. It’s quick and easy to leave public or private comments on assignments and keep a saved comment bank of frequently used terms to reuse for multiple submissions. The comment bank lets you access your most frequently used feedback, so you’ll save a ton of time as you go through the grading process. Check out this resource to get more information on viewing student work and using the grading tool for feedback. Supported file types include Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, image files, TXT files, and video files.

Report Card and Assignment Grading Tool

Report cards are a great way to provide ongoing feedback since students will regularly have a reference point to guide them on what their next steps should be. Those needing to improve will be informed on where and how to focus their time and effort in the near future and what their near-term goals might look like. At the same time, anyone consistently performing exceptionally well will know they’re doing things right and should keep that up moving forward. The upside for you? Once all of your feedback is created, take a look and notice what you have is a handy roadmap of sorts to planning your upcoming classes and knowing precisely what needs attention and the areas students need a hand with.

Guardian Summaries

Google Classroom guardian summaries are a handy type of feedback you can provide to your students’ parents or guardians. These are emails with useful information on the work a student may have missed, work that’s upcoming in the near term, and any key class activities including recently posted assignments and announcements. Guardian summaries are an easy and fast way to keep your students’ parents or guardians informed about their kid’s educational progress.

To prepare the summaries, it’s very simple. You start by inviting your parents or guardians to receive them, and they opt-in to get a daily or weekly summary in their inbox. Each student you do this for needs to use a Google Workspace account email address associated with your Google Classroom (which is in the (“student_name@school.edu” format). When you go to write your guardian summaries the first time, you can do so with FeedbackPanda’s feedback templates just once and repurpose them for future emails. Plus, it’s helpful to share them among your Google Classroom colleagues or use the templates they’ve shared to help each other out.

Each day or week, when your feedback is complete, you email the summary invitation to your students’ parents or guardians. Once they accept, just follow these steps to turn on your Google Classroom email summaries:

  • Navigate to classroom.google.com.
  • Choose the appropriate class and then “Settings”.
  • Within “General”, select the switch “On” (or “Off” if you’re removing someone from receiving the summaries).
  • Uncheck “Add all the classes you teach to guardian email summaries” if you don’t want to turn summaries on for every class.
  • Select “Add Class”.
  • Click “Save”.

Annotated Feedback on Google Classroom on Mobile

Some features only work on the mobile version of Google Classroom, such as the annotate and draw function on documents. This means you can markup, draw, or leave comments on student assignments and exams. This gets saved from your Android or Apple mobile device and can either be filed or sent as feedback to your student. For more details on this handy mobile feedback feature, check out this resource.

Save Time With Assessment Integration Tools

Now, managing all of this feedback might sound like a ton of work, and it easily could be if not for helpful assessment tools that integrate with Google Classroom, like FeedbackPanda. You can streamline your feedback and cut down on your workload by using FeedbackPanda to create student feedback such as report card comments, guardian summaries, and other assessments. By simply creating feedback templates once and repurposing them for your various classes and students, you’ll save time and energy on every report card comment, discussion board post, formative assessment, and guardian summary.

using google classroom tips

Read on for helpful tips on how to make Google Classroom fun and engaging for your students.

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Making Google Classroom Interesting and Interactive for Students

As a Google Classroom teacher or a teacher of any sort, you’ll want to make your students’ learning experience as good as it can be. This often means finding ways to deliver your classes in the most interesting, engaging, and dynamic way possible. Doing this with Google Classroom can include different things.

Consider a mixture of resource content and format. For instance, beyond Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can integrate and share other media types (like images, videos, and website links) in your lessons. You can also shake things up and offer your students more than one way to submit their assignments, including via video, comment, or diagram. Or, provide an interactive communication hub using Google Classroom’s Stream page, which is the first thing your students see when they log in to Google Classroom. Stream is essentially a feed for everyone to see upcoming assignments, announcements, and agendas. As a Google Classroom teacher, you can use the Stream page however you’d like. For instance, you could set up interactive discussion boards for students to bounce ideas off one another, so each and every voice is heard.

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Google Classroom Video Classes

Since Google Classroom integrates with Google Meet, it’s simple to set up video meetings for real-time class instruction. Sometimes this is the best way to get everyone in sync and on the same page. And when everyone can make eye contact, talk face-to-face, and share a laugh or two, it’s a great way for camaraderie and teambuilding. Plus, you can use Google Meet’s recording feature to make pre-recorded lessons that students can watch any time, at their own pace.

NOTE: If you’re not using a Google Workspace for Education account (required for Google Meet within Google Classroom), you can use a different platform like Zoom. Students cannot start a meeting or rejoin a finished meeting by default.

Google Classroom for Class Differentiation

It can be challenging to teach students with different needs, motivations, and interests. But, the reality is that you’ll find this in any classroom. To help manage the varied needs of your Google Classroom students, you can easily implement an online differentiation strategy.

In Google Classroom, this might look like customized assignments for small groups or single students. That way, their needs are met and the rest of the class doesn’t have to change what they’re doing to accommodate. You can also utilize private check-ins with students to see if they have questions or need a hand with anything. Students needing this will appreciate the fact that it’s confidential and unseen to the rest of the class – something harder to achieve with in-person differentiation strategies.

If you’re ready to get started with Google Classroom, get yourself set up fast with the how-tos below.

Google Classroom Teacher How-Tos

google classroom how tos

Set Yourself Up as a Google Classroom Teacher

It’s pretty straightforward and intuitive to set up Google Classroom on a basic level. You can check out many tutorials, including videos and how-tos, in the Google for Education Teacher Center. Plus, many Google Classroom teachers post their own videos to YouTube about their experiences with Google Classroom. These videos are very informative and can offer great insight and practical tips that they’ve learned along their teaching journey. To get you started, here are some tips on specific Google Classroom functionality.

Access Google Classroom

To sign in to Google Classroom on a computer for the first time, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to classroom.google.com and click “Go to Classroom”.
  • Enter the email address for your Classroom account, then click “Next”.
  • Enter your password, then click “Next”.
  • Review and accept any welcome message.
  • If you’re using a Google Workspace for Education account, choose “I’m A Teacher”.
  • Select “Get Started”.

For more information and other options to access your Google Classroom, check out this resource.

Add Students to a Class

It’s easy to invite students to take your class in one of three ways:

  1. Send them an invite link, and they can click to join.
  2. Email them an invite, from which they can join (or through Classroom).
  3. Send them a class code to be entered in Classroom.

For more information and options on adding students to your classes, you can read more here.

Create Assignments

To create an assignment:

  • Navigate to classroom.google.com.
  • Select the appropriate class and then “Classwork”.
  • Click “Create”, then “Assignment”.
  • Type in your assignment name and instructions.

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you have the option to post your assignment right away, save a draft, or schedule it for posting on another date. When your students submit their work, you’re able to grade it and send it back to them. For more information and steps for each of these options, take a look at this resource.

Personalize Your Google Classroom

It’s never a bad idea to change your Google Classroom theme so your students have something interesting to look at instead of a plain white screen. This will also help your classroom stand out from other classrooms they see on the platform.

Once you’ve created a class, you can swap out the default color or image shown at the top of your class stream. Either upload your own theme image or select a different theme image from Google Classroom’s gallery.

Do this by:

  • Heading to classroom.google.com.
  • Selecting the class you want to update, then “Select theme” at the bottom of the image.
  • Either 1) choosing an image from the gallery, then clicking “Select class theme”, or 2) selecting “Patterns”, then choosing a pattern and color and clicking “Select class theme”.

Or, you can upload your own image for your theme by clicking “Upload photo” at the bottom of your class image. From there,

  • Drag an image from your computer to the middle of the screen.
  • Click “Select a photo” from your computer, choose your image, and click “Open”.
  • Click “Select class theme”.
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Hopefully, this guide has helped you see just how intuitive, easy, and robust a tool Google Classroom can be. If you’re already using it, you might have some fresh ideas and tips to navigate the platform better. Or, if you’re considering becoming a Google Classroom teacher like so many others, this should give you the knowledge base needed to start and get on your way to online teaching success.

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