Distance Learning Essentials: Classroom 

New to Google Classroom? Start here!

1. How to create a classroom

Today we are going to be taking a look at Google classroom which is a hub or landing spot for classroom connectivity and collaboration.

The first thing that we’re going to do is create a class. After you log into Google click on your nine dots where you find all of your Google Apps and click on the classroom icon so you can see all of the classes you have created. Click the plus sign in the top right hand corner and choose create class. When the pop-up window appears you will name your class and click create again. 

Now that your class has been created, you can change the theme that has been automatically selected for you. You do this by looking in the bottom right hand corner of the banner and choose “select theme”. Your choices will appear in a gallery and you’ll be able to choose one that appropriately represents your content matter. When you’ve decided, select “class theme”. 

You can also upload your own photo but remember that sometimes different sized images will not work in the banner.

This concludes our micro course on creating a new class in Google Classroom.

2. How to add students

Let’s take a look at how to add students in our classroom. At the top you will notice the four tabs for your classroom. Stream, classwork, people and grades. 

For this micro course, we are only going to look at the people tab, this is where you will add students or other teachers to your classroom. The first way to add students is to go to the people tab and look under the students heading, click the add people icon and enter the students email addresses. You can copy and paste these from a list if you have it available.

They will automatically see the class icon appear when they log in and they will simply click join, it is more time consuming on your part but easier for the students. The second way is to give them a join code, you will see the join code at the bottom of the people tab before you add students. You can also click on the settings gear where the class code can always be found, if you click on to the arrow next to the code, you can display it larger on your screen. You can also copy and paste it anywhere you would like, such as an email, text or class website. You can also reset the code or disable it so students can no longer join using that code.

Students will log into Google classroom and then click the plus sign and then join, they will enter the code and automatically be accepted into the classroom. This concludes our introduction into Google classroom.

3. How to create announcements

Now that you know a little bit about how Google classroom is set up, let's take a look at how to create an announcement for your class. You can use this when you need to give reminders to students or simply make general announcements.

When you click on your classroom that you will be working with, it will open up into the stream. If you look at the four tabs at the top of your screen you will see stream, classwork, people and grades. The stream is where you will post general announcements or reminders. At the top of the screen you will see a box that says “share something with your class,” this is where you can type general announcements. 

Let's practice creating an announcement. Click in the box that says “share something with your class,” now that your announcement window is open you have some different options. 

If you'd like to send your announcement to more than one class, you will click on the drop down arrow next to the name of the current classroom that you're in. Check the boxes next to the classes that you would like to receive this information. 

If you choose to send the announcement to more than one class, then you do not have the option for sending it to specific students. If you only send your announcement to this one class, then you can choose which students specifically you would like to have this announcement. This feature is especially useful when you are trying to differentiate or communicate to individual students. To do this, click the drop down arrow next to “all students,” you should see a list of all the students enrolled in this particular class and you can choose accordingly. 

You can now type the information needed for this announcement, you can also attach documents, files, images, videos or links to this announcement by choosing where you want to get your attachment from. Keep in mind when in the announcement feature all files will be viewable and not editable by students.

When you have finished entering in all the information, click post to add it to your stream. Now all students will see this announcement when they first click into your classroom.

This concludes our micro course on adding announcements into Google classroom.

4. How to create topics and questions


5. How to create assignments

Let's keep going in the class work tab in Google classroom. We are gonna take a look at creating assignments for when you want students to turn their work in through classroom. As well as creating a spot for classroom materials that you want your students to have access to.

Before we begin looking at the assignment feature, it's important to note that in order for classroom to run seamlessly, it is suggested that you pulled files from your Google Drive and

not from your computer. As a reminder to make sure all of your files are in Google format, go to settings and then click settings again and make sure this box is checked. 

In the previous Google classroom micro course, we went ahead and set up some topics, we will use those topics again when creating assignments. This will create a list of topics for you to choose from when creating assignments. 

Now click on the create button and choose “assignment”, like the other Google classroom features you can choose to send an assignment to more than one class or to specific students. Many times you might want to send an assignment just to a small group of students in order to differentiate or for group work. Remember if you choose more than one class to send this to, you do not have the option to send to specific students. 

Now you can fill out your assignment title, instructions, points for the assignment, due date and of course topic. If you selected to use grade categories in the settings of this class, you will see the option to choose a grade category and it will have a default point value that you chose in your settings. However you can change the point value as needed. 

You have multiple attachment options including documents from your computer, your drive, videos or links to other websites that you can include with this assignment. 

If you want students to be able to type on the document and simply hit turn in, you will need to attach a file, click the Google Drive icon and select a file to attach the assignment and click “Add.” You will now see the options for student viewing or editing. Click the drop down menu beside the words “students can view file.” 

You have three options:

Option one- Students can view file: Will allow students to view the file only, they will not be able to edit. 

Option two- Students can edit file: Will allow all students to edit the same document, thick

brainstorming or signing up for a topic.

Option three- make a copy for each student: Automatically generates an

editable copy for each student individually. This option allows students to edit the document and turn it into you without saving or downloading.

The drop-down arrow next to the word “assign” gives you the option to assign now, save this assignment as a draft, or to schedule this assignment to go out at a later time. 

Many teachers like to give students access to classroom materials but don't require anything from them in return, this will also be done in the “classwork” tab. I would recommend creating

a topic for each unit labeled “class materials.” If you want to keep the materials separate from the assignments, go to create and choose materials. You will add your files the same way you

did for an assignment, the difference is you will not have the option to make a copy for all students. You can add several files to one post, or you can create separate posts. If you don't want the students to be able to edit this document, you will need to confirm that your file is on view only in your sharing settings. Once you add materials to the appropriate topic, the student

will be able to view any files you add.

This concludes our micro course on creating assignments and clash materials.

*The videos above are only brief sample components of the micro-courses offered to schools and districts enrolled in the MobileMind learning hub. Our full micro-courses consist of hands-on challenges, micro-credentialing, human feedback, and progress reporting for instructional leaders.  Learn more here or schedule a call with us anytime. 

Need more help getting started?

Check out the Teacher Center for First Day of Classroom module or view our Getting Started with Google Classroom slides presentation on setting up Google Classroom for your students.  

The Google Classroom section of the Help Center is a great place to find answers to specific questions you might have.

More Thoughts about Using Google Classroom for Distance Learning

Organizing your Classroom with Topics

  • Organize your virtual classroom environment using topics in Google Classroom. You might choose to create topics by unit, chapter, theme, or type of work.
  • It's okay if you've already created your classroom.  You can add topics at any time!  
  • Ready to add topics!  Our topics video will help you get started!

Communicating in Classroom

  • Regular communication is key in a virtual setting!  Use the stream in Classroom to post quick reminders for students.
  • Share resources and content with students using the materials feature.  We recommend this feature when you are simply sharing information/content with students and not asking for  anything in return (such as a task submission.)
  • Post assignments with as much detail as possible. Consider allowing students to collaborate on some of these assignments from a distance as well!

Assessing your students remotely

  • Attach a Forms quiz to an assignment in Google Classroom to assess student learning - maybe even during or after a Meet session.
  • You can import Forms Quiz grades right into Classroom, but we recommend reading up on this first.  You can visit this page to learn more about this, as well as other tips for using Forms in Classroom.
  • Create multiple choice and short answer questions in Classroom.  You can take a quick class vote or formative comprehension check - or even encourage students to reply to their peers!

Classroom management

  • Use email summaries in Google Classroom to involve guardians in the remote learning experience. 
  • For class discussion, use multiple choice and short answer questions in Classroom.  You can take a quick class vote or even encourage students to reply to their peers.
  • Keep in mind that you can set student permissions to allow students to interact in various ways.  You can choose to allow them to create posts in Classroom (not recommended if students are new to Classroom), to comment on your posts in classroom (recommended if your students are of a level of maturity and understand digital citizenship,  and even mute individual students so they can only submit tasks (and cannot reply or comment in the virtual class.) 

Preparing your students for remote learning

Meeting the needs of all learners

Overcoming lack of Internet access

  • Reaching students without internet is vital in order for all students to have equal access to learning.  
  • With the ability to record Meet sessions sessions, you can pre-record sessions or share recorded sessions in Classroom so students are able to watch at a later time.  
  • If possible, make sure students have enabled offline mode while on wifi if possible so they can access Docs, Sheets, and Slides without internet.

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