When sharing Google Docs with students one trick is to have the students make a copy.
The link to share the document is right in the sharing screen. I usually just highlight the URL at the top of the document. The keyboard shortcut for this is Control L (Command L on a Mac) to highlight the URL and Control C to copy the URL.
I advocate having a really good classroom website (a digital haversack) that the students use to link from. Instead of asking them to go to xyz website, the students always go to your classroom website. Post the link for students to get to the document.
Since the document is view only the students can look at the template you’ve provided but they can not make changes.
Make a Copy
Teach students to go to the File menu and choose “Make a copy…” This will create a copy of the document into the students “My Drive” with the student as owner.
If your class is using the new Google Classroom this workflow is something you would not need to do. However, teaching students how to make copies of documents is still a valuable skill. File->Make a Copy is also how you can share document templates with colleagues. They will want to make their own copy to use with their students.