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With many school districts offering, or requiring remote learning, Google Classroom is going to be a must-use tool for many students. What do parents need to know about Google Classroom in order to help their children? Read on for an overview of Google Classroom for Parents.

What is Google Classroom?

Google classroom is a place for your child’s teacher to post announcements, set assignments and homework, ask questions and share news etc. Students can see what work is due, submit assignments, take quizzes, post messages, and more.

Each teacher will create a Classroom for their class/subject, so your kids may be accessing one, or many different, Classrooms. Google Classroom uses/integrates with Google apps such as Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides etc.

How does is work?

Receiving an Invitation to a Class

The teacher will enter the student’s email address into the classroom, and each student will receive an email inviting them to the class.

In this example Classroom invitation, the teacher is Kristin Thorp. The student is SDM. The class is titled Test Google Classroom.

The student will click Join.

Navigating Classroom

This slide from, taken from Google’s training materials for parents (which you can download at the bottom of this post) highlights the main areas of Classroom.

Stream

Once they have joined a class, your child will be able to see the Classroom Stream of announcements, news, questions, notice of assignments and homework etc.

Classwork

Under the Classwork tab they will find specific assignments with required instructions/links/documents. Students complete work in a number of different ways including:

  • commenting directly on classwork assignments (either privately or to the whole class)
  • completing the assignment elsewhere (in another program such as IXL, Lexia, Pearson etc.) and then marking the assignment as done
  • completing attached documents, or attaching additional documents, and ‘turning them in’.

Documents (Google Docs/Sheets/Slides) may be attached to the assignment by the teacher as student specific (their own copy), or as a generic class document. Students will need to make a copy of class documents before they start work on them. Work can also be completed independently using Google Docs/Sheets/Slides etc., saved to your child’s Google Drive, and then added/attached to the assignment and turned in.

In our example SDM classroom, clicking on Classwork shows the following assignments.

People

Clicking on People shows the teacher’s name and a class list, allowing your child to see, and interact with, their teacher and their classmates. Clicking on the envelope next to each name will initiate an email to that person.

Assignments

When the teacher creates an assignment, the following information is available. Again, this slide is from Google’s training materials.

One assignment in our example SDM Classroom is a history reading assignment. It includes a link to a web page to read and a link to a YouTube video.

In addition, the student can see the rubric for grading for this assignment. The teacher can indicate what the expectations are and how many points step is worth.

Quizzes

Teachers can make quizzes using Google Forms. These can be self grading, in which case the student will know the result as soon as they submit. There is also an option to have the completed quiz emailed to the student at the same time the result is sent to the teacher, which can be useful for finding errors or studying in the future.

Depending on how the school system and the teacher are using Google Classroom, the student may see their grades or not. Some systems maintain the grading in a different program.

Can I access and keep track of my child’s Classrooms?

It is possible for a school system to invite parents and guardians to sign up for email notifications of assignments and student progress. However, you may want to keep a closer eye on your child’s work in addition to this. You can login into your child’s account (using their school email/password) and see all their Classrooms in your Chrome Browser via the Classroom app (found via the ‘waffle’ where you access other Google apps such as Docs and Slides). You can also add the Google Classroom app on to your phone. You can use the app to keep track of multiple kids by signing into each account and then switching between them. 

Additional Resources

A Parent’s Guide to Google Classroom – training materials from Google.

Parents Ultimate Guide to Google Classroom –  a great overview from Common Sense Media, that also touches on some of the privacy and safety concerns that you may have.

Everything Parents Need to Know – a good overview of the basics from Pop Sugar

If you’d like help setting up access to your kids accounts, or to learn more about how to use Google Classroom (completing assignments, turning work in, using Google Drive and associated apps etc.) to better help your children navigate it, then please give us a call and we can video chat or have a face to face appointment at our shop to discuss the questions.

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