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Google Classroom

Student-Centered Classrooms with Google Classroom

Google Classroom at it’s heart allows you to distribute work and collect it. It does not make learning better, more engaging, more student-centered… none of that. YOU DO! How you use a tool is what makes the difference. It is an intentional decision to design lessons, that include Google Classroom, that engage and empower students.

Diversity of Submissions

When designing assignments in Google Classroom ask yourself if you expect all students to submit the same thing? The platform allows for a diversity of submissions. You do not have to push out a worksheet or template to students. What is great about Google Classroom is YOU need very little tech ability. Click on the plus icon to create an assignment and type the learning objective. Leave it open ended enough that students can put a little of their own interpretation into it. Students can click on “Add” or “Create” and turn in anything!

students click add or create in google classroom

Private Comments

One of the most powerful elements of Google Classroom is the private comments feature. For every assignment (not announcement) is the ability to have a private conversation with students. Whoa, let me say that again. Google Classroom turns comments into conversations. This allows every student to have a voice and communicate their ideas or struggles with a task. If we want a student-centered classroom, then we need a method to hear from students.

Respond to Feedback Topic

Students learn more when the feedback is ACTIONABLE. Perhaps you want to create a topic at the top for “Respond to Feedback.” Change the topic on an assignment you’ve given feedback on to the “Respond to Feedback” topic. Only after they respond to your feedback do you release the score.

More tips on using Topics

Respond to Feedback

What Are We Doing TODAY?

If you are organizing your Google Classroom by unit, you may want to have a topic called “TODAY” at the top. As soon as students go to the Classwork page they immediately see what is planned for today. What is also helpful about that is you can revisit assignments by changing the topic to “TODAY.” At the end of the day, you need to edit each assignment and change the topic to the unit you want to organize it into.

I like to recommend that if you are going to leave feedback, make it actionable. When you finish providing feedback to students on an assignment, edit the assignment to change the topic to “TODAY.” Consider this being your warmup to have students respond to the feedback you left them. Tip: Do not release the score until students respond to your feedback.

Today topic

Google Classroom for Beginners

Recent Blog Posts

12 Things to Start with in Google Classroom

12 things to get started with using Google Classroom.

More Resources


Getting Started with Google Classroom

Alice has created a playlist full of helpful tips for getting started with Google Classroom. Follow along as Alice goes over the basics of setting up your classroom with quick steps that will help you to create a successful learning environment.

Google Classroom – Intermediate

Recent Blog Posts

Big Announcement –

Alice Keeler will be joining the Schoolytics team.

More Resources


Teaching with Google Classroom

This playlist is an extensive archive of videos of where Alice shares her expertise on how to get to know Google Classroom so that you can best use it as a tool for facilitating a student centered learning environment.

Google Classroom – Advanced

Recent Blog Posts

Google Classroom: Get Out of Suggestion Mode

When using Google Classroom the default for feedback is suggestion mode in a Google Doc. Switch to Edit mode.

More Resources


Google Classroom – Advanced Tips and Tutorials

This playlist includes a variety of Alice’s more advanced techniques to increase efficiency and communicate with students.

80 thoughts on “Google Classroom”

        1. Great, and if I change the name of the folder, they are still “linked” together? So any changes in classroom, will go to the newly named folder?
          Thanks so much!

        2. Hi Alice,
          Your blog has been a great resource for implementing Google Classroom. Thanks so much for all the clear instructions.

          I have a question about end-of-the-year digital organization of Google Drive for my students. I was thinking about having them rename the Classroom Folder which includes most of their assignments from this year, so next year they can start with a fresh Classroom Folder. For example, what if I had them rename the folder Grade 5 Assignments and also had them move assignments created before I used Google Classroom into the renamed folder. Would this be a good way to organize their Drive? Might it create problems?

          Thanks again,

        3. Michelle Jatczak

          Is it possible for a Google Classroom teacher to also be a student in the same domain? I want to use Google Classroom for professional development at our school. So the faculty would be members of my Google classroom as students. Then they would create/manage Classrooms with their students.

        4. Schoology can integrate a google drive in the site, can google classroom do the same for schoology? The grading system in classroom seems cumbersome requiring additional steps.

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        6. Hi Alice,

          I love your ideas for using Google Classroom, and I can’t wait to get started with my 5th Grade class. My students are obviously under 13. How do I get them Google email addresses that are COPPA compliant? Can I sign them up to Classroom without unique email addresses?

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        8. I worked a bit in classroom last year. I also love the ideas in the book. But, one question: how can I see what the students in my class see – the assignments I make, etc.? Do I have to create a “dummy” student? I tried that last year but had trouble with the “dummy” email.

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        12. When grading and posting assignments I am having to select each one individually. I have a lab of 50 Students. So utilizing the check all to review them and post the grades back is causing an error. Is there an easier way to handle mass grading?

          1. I agree, the workflow for grading could use improvement. Please click the question mark in the bottom left and choose “send feedback” and fill that out often. ONE suggestion per feedback. The feedback is tagged and counted.

        13. Love your blog site, watched you on teachercast…excellent! Now I have a question, we have the google for education domain, I can sign in and develop a classroom, now can I have students sign in under their own google email addresses or must they have assigned email addresses under the google domain? Our IT and district doesn’t want to manage email addresses under the google for education domain. Any suggestions?

          1. There are some great articles on this site. I never realized how much could be done with Google Docs. I need to bring up Classroom and take a look at its features. I inherited Office 365, so I stayed after reading around here, I’m thinking I perhaps should look at moving the student email.

          2. Is there anything I can use in Google Classroom that is like the opposite of a Google Form? I have all my band kids upload video attachments of their playing tests to me under each assignment. I want a form that I can check off feedback from a list (without being a formal rubric) that I can attach with my feedback/mark for each video submitted. I am greatly appreciative of any direction you can lend me! : )

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          10. I HATE that I didn’t stumble upon your blog until the LAST day of Spring Break! Or maybe that’s for the best, as I would have spent the entire week online….
            Thank you for this terrific resource! I cannot wait to dig in. It’s people like you that inspire this 30+ year veteran teacher to get even more excited about teaching.

          11. I know you can’t go into great depth in this format, but maybe you could provide a “quick” answer as well as a pointer to information in greater depth. I teach in a Catholic K-8 school. We have a GAE account, but have not implemented it yet. Admin and parents are “paranoid” about kids being able to send or receive mail, or to end up on “questionable” destinations. Many sites require an email to log in. It seems as though “Laws” say kids under 13yo cannot utilize various platforms without tons of disclosures and permissions. So… Since so many schools are using Google, I must assume that there is/are easy work a rounds/ solutions, and that we are just terrified of The Feds and our own shadow. Your soothing comments?…

          12. Hi Alice, thank your for the great blog posts about Google Classroom! I’m currently studying education science and will graduate soon and work as a teacher. I’m quite interested in various kinds of teaching methods but I don’t really have experiences with Google Classroom. I was wondering if it could also be used for situations in which students have to pass an exam for example?

          13. I am a 6th grade math teacher, hoping to use google classroom next year. I have some great ideas, but am concerned about how the students will “show me their work”. Any ideas how math teachers are handling this?

            1. Paradigm shift let that go. Literally go type math problems into Google. Not only spits out the answer, but the steps. Wolfram Alpha does the same thing. Photomath… same thing. Technology has replaced “show your work.” Instead, we move to “Show your thinking.” Have students do rote drill on websites such as but this is not the emphasis on the class. Look at the 8 mathematical principles ( not one says “show your steps.” The mathematical principles are what students DO with the math standards. They are supposed to use it in a real context, to critique the reasoning of others, to choose tools strategically (they should realize they need a spreadsheet). Have students USE tools that show the steps and then compare and contrast the solutions. USE DESMOS! Have students work with spreadsheets. Use REAL DATA. Critically think about it. Pretty much all the math problems in the textbook are a) who cares about that and b) DOK level 1. Showing steps is NOT critical thinking, it is procedural. Have students focus on UNDERSTANDING. Truth: most adults can not apply the math we taught them in school. Survey came out that 85% of adults can not calculate the price of carpet given the price per square foot and the dimensions of the room. We need to move away from rote memorization of algorithms to deeper understanding. We do NOT have enough time to add another brick, so we have to let things go. Our approach to teaching math has to be different. Stay tuned, writing a book with Diana Herrington on Teaching Math with Google Apps.

          14. What is the best/most efficient way for grading student work and then returning the grade and comments/feedback to students using Google Classroom and/or Google Drive?

            1. I prefer to NOT put grades in Google Classroom. Use side by side windows to enter grades into your gradebook. Research shows the value of your comments is LESS when you put a grade next to it.

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          16. I have been using Google Classroom for a year now with my 3rd graders. We have an assignment that will have each student add a paragraph and a picture over the course of a month (a different student each day) I would like to have all the paragraphs and pictures within the same assignment and also have the ability for the other students to comment. Very similar to a blog, but I don’t want to start a new program at this point. Is there a way to do this?

          17. I would like for students to make changes to my slides, however is there a way to lock in the template so that they cant change my template but make additions or type on the provided template. Please help or refer me to a link that you already have.

            Thanks so much for your hard work

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