Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Google Classroom for Families

Stephanie Conine, Jane Reynolds, Teresa Lansford | Published: November 23rd, 2022 by K20 Center


The K20 GEAR UP Google Classroom for Families presentation engages parents to become better informed about Google education software. Through gaining this knowledge, parents will have the necessary skills to forge the parent-school-community partnerships essential to improving academic achievement for students. In this session, families will learn about how to navigate and manage Google Classroom to better support their children.

Essential Question

How can you both supervise your child’s work and advocate for your child during remote and blended learning?

Learning Goals

  • Participants will analyze and identify parental engagement and involvement within a virtual platform.

  • Participants will engage in numerous features of Google Classroom and learn how they can support their students in a virtual environment.  

Materials List

Facilitator's Note: Setting Up

Prior to your session, you will need to ensure you complete the following steps in order to be properly set up:

  1. Open Google Form LEARN Getting to Know Google Classroom for Families. Click on the link in the Materials list to create a copy of the Google Form you will need for the Engage portion of the session. Participants will reflect on questions focused on their experiences with in-class, blended, or remote learning. Once you have made a copy of the Google Form, create a QR Code, and a Tiny URL to add to slide 8. Make sure you also include the complete link in the slide notes for your producer so that they can drop it in the chat for your participants when the time comes.

  2. Open Google Form LEARN Two Stars and a Wish. Click on the link in the Materials list to create a copy of the Google Form you will need for the Evaluate portion of the session. Participants will reflect on or extend their knowledge utilizing the strategy “Two Stars and a Wish.” Once you have made a copy of the Google Form, create a QR Code, and a Tiny URL to add to slide 23. Make sure you also include the complete link in the slide notes for your producer so that they can drop it in the chat for your participants when the time comes.


Display slide 2 as participants are entering. To begin, display slide 3 and make introductions. 

Display slide 4 to discuss that GEAR UP is a U.S. Department of Education grant program whose ultimate goal is to increase the number of students in our partner schools who are prepared for postsecondary education and to help those students be successful in their transition from high school to college. When we say “postsecondary education” that means any type of college or technical training that your student may need after high school that will help them on their career path. We take a whole school approach to preparing students for life after high school. We work with school leadership, families, teachers, students, and community partners through a variety of programs and events, like this one to help us meet our goals.

Slide 5 contains grant goals. Share that GEAR UP first hopes to increase cohort academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education. Secondly, they want all cohort schools to increase high school graduation rates and postsecondary education participation. Lastly, it is important to increase student educational expectations and student and family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing. 

Show slide 6 and share that for this session our objectives will be showcasing tools that focus on Google Classroom and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). By the end of this webinar you will have a better understanding of the Google education software and how you can use it to work in partnership with your school to help improve academic achievement for your student.

Slide 7 shows the goals for the session. Let participants know that the goals for this session are, first, to provide the opportunity to analyze and identify parental engagement and involvement within a virtual platform; and second, provide you with the opportunity to engage in numerous features of Google Classroom and experience how you can support your student in a virtual environment. 

Share slide 8. Families will have the opportunity to give feedback on the following questions in a Google Form:

What does parent involvement look like during remote learning?

What are the benefits you have experienced with virtual learning?

What challenges have you experienced with virtual learning?

Tell families that the next activity includes taking a moment to reflect on their experiences with in-class, blended, or remote learning.  For some questions, they will choose the image that best represents how they are feeling; additional questions ask that they provide a short answer that best reflects how they are feeling.  Once complete, participants must click the Submit button. 

Show participants’ responses and discuss.


Move on to slide 9. Ask participants to reflect on the varying experiences they and their students have encountered so far this year. Explain that during this session, you will explore and take a deeper look into some of the features of Google Classroom and Google Workspace. Google Classroom is part of a larger suite of tools called the Google Workspace. There are several different tools, but some of the most used ones are Docs, which is a word processing software similar to Microsoft Word. Another feature of Workspace includes Slides, which is a presentation software similar to Microsoft PowerPoint. Another feature is Google Classroom, which is a learning management system for online and in-person classes. Google Classroom can be used for everything from providing class updates, housing and collecting student assignments, to organizing student tasks in a calendar.

Tell participants that they will be exploring features such as the Student “Upcoming” list and the Assignment Stream. They will learn how to access the Google Calendar and its features, how to submit assignments, how to upload an assignment, and see how families, parents, and guardians can request access to Google Classroom notifications.  

Show slide 10. Ask participants to first take a look at how to join a Google Classroom. Show participants the video “Google Classroom for Families - GSuite and Streampage.”

Ask for questions. Share that after the presentation families will get links to digital task cards like the one on slide 11 to help them walk through the steps from the video.

Display slide 12. Have participants watch the video “Google Classroom for Families - Upcoming and Google Calendar.”

Slide 13 and 14 show the task cards for the video.

Show slide 15. Show the video “Google Classroom for Families - Student Work Submission.”

Slide 16 shows the task card for the video.

Display slide 17. Next, show the video “Google Classroom for Families - Student Grades.”

Slide 18 shows the task card for the video.

Move to slide 19. Tell participants that now that they know how to turn in assignments and how to find grades and missing assignments, now they will locate where the assignments are. Ask them to watch the video “Google Classroom for Families - Class Drive Folder.”

Slide 20 shows the task card for the video.  

Explain that in Google Drive, you can view and create files, then organize them by creating folders. All files and folders on Google Drive can easily be shared on Google Classroom, or by directly sharing the file with someone. You can even send them a direct link to the file. There are several layers of security built into files and folders on Google Drive; you can set it up so that only some people can access the file, or so that anyone with the link can get to it. All Google Drive documents, such as Docs, Sheets, or Slides, can be edited simultaneously by many people, which makes them great for group activities.

Google Drive can be accessed in many ways: through the classroom, on a computer browser, and even via the Google Drive application for your mobile device. 


Share that another feature of Google Classroom is the parent/guardian email summary report. Show the video on slide 21 on what email summaries look like by watching the video “Google Classroom for Families - Email Summaries.”


Display slide 22. Explain to participants that to receive email summaries they must request permission from their child’s teacher. Encourage participants to click on the link or follow the QR code to be able to copy the text provided into an email to share with their child’s teachers.


Display slide 23. Tell families that it is time to reflect on what they learned today by engaging in the strategy Two Stars and a Wish.  At this time, they will click the tiny URL or their phones or tablets to scan the QR code.  If parents are unable to access or participate in this activity, that is okay— ask that they follow along and post their comments in the chat.

Explain the activity of the Two Stars and a Wish form. For the first question, invite participants to reflect on two things they learned today (two stars).  For the next question, ask that they take a moment to think about one thing they wish that they could have learned more about today (a wish). 

Give participants time to respond, then look over their answers in the form and share responses.

Display slide 24 to cover any other questions participants may have. 

Slide 25 has a link to a survey if your audience includes GEAR UP schools.

Research Rationale

Parental involvement strategies are incredibly important to student academic achievement, social development, and life planning. Schools can benefit greatly from increased awareness and attention to this component of student education. With the development of positive relationships, school staff recognize and respect families’ knowledge and abilities, connect family engagement to learning, and create cultures that respect, invite, and involve families. Through this framework, families are not just informed about their child’s education, they become advocates, decision-makers, and collaborators (SEDL, 2013). It is important to note that “involvement implies doing to; in contrast, engagement implies doing with” (Ferlazzo, 2011). Schools must take time to listen to parents and address their worries and concerns (Ferlazzo, 2011). Trust-building is key to positive relationships (Leithwood & Patrician, 2015). Parents need to be treated “not as clients, but as partners” (Ferlazzo, 2011). Schools should take time to understand what parents’ goals are for their children and then work to extend that vision for even greater success (Leithwood & Patrician, 2015). Research shows that effective parent engagement programs view parents as assets, increase cultural competency, build trust and positive relationships, and are founded on two-way connections between families, schools, and communities. Schools need to equip parents to see how valuable they are to their children’s academic success (Leithwood & Patrician, 2015). 

While schools see the benefit of using communication components of their learning systems to share information with parents, many families could potentially see this as an additional stressor if not provided with the proper supports (Selwyn, et al., 2011). When parents are equipped to interact with a learning system, they feel empowered and more involved (Selwyn, et al., 2011). One factor for success is providing meetings that help schools share their expectations for student achievement (Leithwood & Patrician, 2015). Creating school and parent partnerships can take a lot of time and is out of the routine work of the average school day (Leithwood & Patrician, 2015). The amount of time invested, however, is not as important as the quality of time (Leithwood & Patrician, 2015). This session provides an in-depth look at Google Classroom to best equip parents for quality engagement. Time is given in the presentation for parents to provide input and to be heard regarding their concerns. This presentation provides a framework that can support increased parent involvement in student learning systems.


  • Kerka, S. (2003). Alternatives for at-risk and out-of-school youth. ERIC Digest. Leithwood, K., & Patrician, P. (2015). Changing the Educational Culture of the Home to Increase Student Success at School. Societies, 5(3), 664-685.