Emailing Students: Google Classroom to the Rescue

Oh brother, I can’t, I can’t get through

As we navigate these uncharted waters of school closures due to COVID-19, communication is one of the most important things we can do to help students work through remote learning and all the stress that entails. Not every district has the luxury of placing all students online for the remainder of time that the schools are closed, so communication can become tricky. However, utilizing the school email is always a good idea which can be followed by other means of contact for students who are unable to respond.

I’ve been trying hard to reach you ’cause I don’ know what to do

While your district’s email service, Gmail for many of us, can make emailing student simple enough, bulk emails can be tricky as we work through issues of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), especially if you haven’t set up student groups within your email service already. What’s a poor teacher to do? Turn to Google Classroom, of course!

Oh brother, I can’t believe it’s true

While this is not a feature I generally use much, but with #remoteteaching, I have totally been doing just that. The fact that it puts all students in the bcc field is so fab! 🙂 I send a personalized but generic email in just a couple clicks! Here’s how:

Google has made this process as efficient as possible. First, open up the Classroom that you want to work with, and click on the People tab. Once you’ve clicked on people, then just select all students who are to receive the email, click on actions, and then select email.

I’m so scared about the future, and I wanna talk to you

Once you click email, then your Gmail account opens in a new window, even if you already have it open in another tab. The email address from your Classroom are now in the “bcc” (blind carbon copy) space, the “to” field is empty, as is the “cc” (carbon copy) field. This makes it easy to send a bulk email to your entire class as if you were personally emailing each student. They won’t know, unless you indicate such in the email, that it is a group email. Regardless, using bcc means that all recipients are kept blissfully unaware of who the other recipients are and also means that the email addresses are kept private. While that may not be an issue your district is concerned about, it is a really nice feature to help us be aware of student email best practices.

That’s it! You are now well on your way to privately and efficiently emailing your students, whether that be during a school closure for a pandemic or just to send out information.

Heading titles are partial lyrics from the song talk by coldplay

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