google classroom 101

Google Classroom is an amazing tool. It helps teachers corral, organize, disseminate, and assess course content for their students. It helps students find everything–regardless of their executive function. (Gone are the days of balled-up handouts or work left at school or lost altogether.) It helps preserve assignments–and teacher feedback–Forever and Ever. Amen. And it helps parents and guardians support learning at home.

However, it’s definitely overwhelming. 

Here’s a quick rundown of Google Classroom, as well as a Cheat Sheet for Parents & Guardians. Are you a teacher who stumbled onto this post? Then this Cheat Sheet is for you.


Google’s Guardian Email Summaries are a great way for parents and guardians to see how their learners are doing. Parents & guardians can sign up for daily or weekly summaries, and they can opt out at any time.

However, not all teachers utilize this feature. For some, they’re not familiar enough with Classroom to know that the Guardian Summary feature needs to be manually turned on for each class, every year. Other teachers don’t want to mislead their support systems at home, since IPASS provides a more complete picture of a student’s progress (for the most part). Google’s Guardian Summaries only provide an update on work that has been assigned through Classroom. Anything outside of Classroom (e.g., readings, essays, packets) isn’t reflected there. So, a Google Classroom summary may might make it look like Johnny is crushing English when in reality, Johnny hasn’t cracked open a single book all year.

Since parents and guardians can’t join Classrooms, some students give their parents their access info. However, the latter is a rarity at the high school level. 

The best way to support student learning at home is for students to sit down, log in to Google Classroom, and show parents/guardian their progress.

Here’s a quick overview of three Google Classroom tools.


The LANDING page shows all of the Google Classrooms students belong to. The cards can be “shuffled” (e.g., moved around) to reflect an order that best works for the learner


The CLASSWORK page is where all of the magic happens: This is where all work assigned via Google Classroom is posted.


The VIEW YOUR WORK feature is a To Do List of sorts, combining all work across all of a student’s Google Classrooms, sorted by due date. It’s the 21st century’s answer to the Agenda Book.

For more information about Google Classroom, check out this Cheat Sheet for Parents & Guardians and this Cheat Sheet for Teachers.

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