Aug 162014


Google Classroom

Curious about Google Classroom? Hopefully  your questions will be answered by clicking “Continue reading” below or take a look at my Getting Started with Google Classroom video (YouTube) or presentation here. You may find the Google Classroom Training Checklist PDF helpful. I have also made a Students Only PDF version.

Open up the Media Research Assignment Google Doc I demo during most trainings and follow the prompts to make a copy of your own. I also have versions for Football Season and Christmas. If those don’t suit your fancy, here’s a collection of teacher created docs that guide students through the great tools in Google Docs. Lastly, here’s my Google Docs demo using the Media Research template (YouTube).

Looking for what is new in Classroom? Jump down to the Updates section.

What is it?

  • Classroom is a brand new tool from Google that was designed hand-in-hand with teachers using Google Drive with their students to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.
  • It’s like a super light version of Canvas
  • Classroom = an easy to drive VW Beetle, Canvas = a Ferrari with all of the bells and whistles
  • Take a look at this Classroom Overview, or learn what new features and tools have been added to Classroom lately.

What can it do?

  • Create classes with a click
  • Add students to classes by email or a student entered code (automatically generated)
  • Class ‘Stream’ for discussions
  • Create assignments using 1 or multiple uploaded files, Drive docs, YouTube videos or web links
  • Open discussions in assignments, or private notes/discussion on individual assignments
  • Online assignment turning in, grading and returning
  • Automatic Drive folder and document creation – everything is created, shared and organized automatically for teachers and students!
  • Download assignment grade spreadsheet
  • Lots more now, and much more to come!

Take a look at Google Classroom in action.

A few things to know first…

  • Classroom (like all other Google products) is constantly being improved and features added. Take a look at the Google for Education Blog (or just the posts specific to Classroom) to keep informed about all of the new additions.
  • Google has added the “Trusted Domains” feature to GAFE. If your district has different domains for teacher and student accounts (@DistrictTeachers and @DistrictStudents), then your IT folks can fix it so that you don’t need multiple accounts to use Classroom.
  • New to Chromebooks and Google Drive? Learn more and discover some great Chrome apps here.

How do I get started?

  • Get a student Google Apps for Education account in your school district (if you are not already on the same domain as your students)
  • Head to
  • Log in using your new student account
  • On this page, choose ‘Teacher’ as your role, and submit.
  • You should now be ready to use Classroom!
  • Click the ‘+’ on the top right of the page and create a class
  • Give your class a name and section/period if you’d like
  • Once your class is open, head to the ‘About’ tab.
  • Give your class a title, description, & room number.
  • Lower on the ‘About’ tab you can add any class materials like:
    • Syllabus
    • Rules
    • Links to class Web site or other sites
  • Now, head to the ‘Students’ tab
    • Add a student or two to start via email address
    • Students can self-enroll by using the class code at

Where do I go from here?

Complete step-by-step instructions are here.

UPDATES: View all of the Google Classroom Updates from the Google Classroom Help site

October 2017 UPDATE:

Here’s a very comprehensive Slides deck on Google Classroom, with screenshots and How-To’s for pretty much every feature in Classroom, including how the iOS/Android apps work. It’s 129 slides long – comprehensive as I said! Thanks to Brenda Lemon at Chapman High School in Kansas for putting this together and sharing!

August 2017 UPDATE:

August 2016 UPDATE:

  • Guardian summaries: Teachers and administrators can invite guardians to sign up for email summaries to keep up with their students. Guardians can choose how often to get a summary—daily or weekly—and can unsubscribe at any time. Summaries include a student’s missing or upcoming work as well as new announcements and questions posted by teachers in the class stream.
  • Topics for stream organization: Teachers can organize the class stream by adding topics to posts. Teachers and students can filter the stream by topic. No longer do you need a new ‘Class’ for every topic!
  • Teachers can add a subject when creating a class.
  • Mobile annotations: Teachers and students can draw on, highlight, and write notes on documents and PDFs in the Classroom mobile app.

Summer 2016 UPDATE:

  • Google announced some great new tools for Classroom at the ISTE Conference: Google Cast for Education and they have added self-grading quiz options in Google Forms. Learn more here.

October 2015 UPDATE: 

  • Google Forms: Teachers can easily attach Google Forms to posts, and open responses from Classroom. When teachers attach a form to an assignment and there is no other work, the assignment is automatically marked as done when students complete the form. You can now use Google Forms & Flubaroo for quizzes in Classroom!

September 17, 2015 UPDATE: Google has added some great new features and extras for Classroom and Drive (See the complete post here):

  • Share to Classroom Extension: When this extension is installed on BOTH teacher and students Chrome browser, and students are logged into their Chromebooks or Chrome browser, you can send and automatically open any web page that you’d like to your Classroom. You can also use the extension to create an announcement or assignment and automatically link to the web page you are on.
  • Voice Typing in Docs: Found in the ‘Tools’ menu in a Google Doc, you can enable typing by just speaking what you’d like typed. Most people can talk 5 times faster than they can type, so this may be a big time saver for you, as well as help those students that have a hard time getting their ideas from their mind down to their fingers. Give it a try!
  • A new Template Gallery from the individual Docs, Sheets or Slides pages: You can’t get to these pages from the Drive home page (yet…), but when students open the Docs, Slides or Sheets apps from their Chromebooks they’ll see a new home page with links to create a new file from a template, or just a new blank document. You can add the Drive Template Gallery add-on to Drive so that you can access any templates directly from the big red ‘New’ button in Drive.

January 15, 2015 UPDATE: The new Classroom mobile app is now available on Android and iOS. Get the same great time saving and management features of Classroom plus new mobile-only features. The mobile app works well for schools with Android tablets and iPads, schools with BYOD policies, and students’ personal devices.

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