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How to Create a Custom Theme in Google Classroom

As teachers, we want our students to be engaged. We work to make content interesting and organized. And depending on your style, you may or may not spend the time to make your content visually appealing for students. After all, there’s not enough time in the day, right? But there are a few simple things you can do to brighten up and personalize your content by creating a class theme. And with the right approach, you can reuse this theme throughout the entire year. 

Today, I am going to show you how to create a custom theme for Google Classroom. Classroom has some nice themes, but sometimes you want something original, something that is meaningful to you and your students. Your Classroom theme can become a hook where the engagement starts. But it might be a little tricky figuring this all out on your own, so I’m here to guide you, step-by-step. And what’s awesome is that we will be using all free, simple to use tools. You do NOT need a graphic design background for this, promise.

You might be wondering what I mean by Classroom “theme.” The theme is simply the header image for your class. It appears on the Stream page.  

You can always select one of the themes Google has provided by clicking “Select theme.” We’re looking at creating a unique theme today, so we’re going to focus on uploading a photo instead. But first, we have to create this photo. And today, we are going to use one of my absolute favorite tools (and totally underrated, in my opinion): Google Drawings.

STEP 1: Create a New Drawing

Head on over to a new Google Drawing by following these steps:

  1. Go to Google Drive
  2. Click New
  3. Hover over More
  4. Click Google Drawings
  5. Title your Drawing

STEP 2: Customize your Drawing 

You want your image to be the size of the Google Classroom banner. The nice thing about Google Drawings is that you can easily change the size to whatever dimensions you’d like by following these steps:

  1. Click File
  2. Scroll down to Page Setup
  3. Change the dimensions to pixels
  4. A Google Classroom banner is 1, x pixels &#; here is a template you can use with the correct dimensions already set. If you’re interested in measuring spaces online, check out the PageRulr Chrome Extension.

Once your Drawing size is set, the world is your canvas. You can change the background color, insert text boxes, shapes, images, and so on. You can learn more about what’s possible in Google Drawings here. If you have a class logo, this would be a great place to display it. Something I loved to do as a teacher was to have the students create their own, personalized logo using Google Drawing. These logos could be used as safe profile pictures (as long as they didn’t use their picture or location) for their online accounts. One idea for a Google Classroom custom theme is to have all of the student logos on the class banner, sort of as a mosaic. Seeing their own logos displayed together in the Classroom banner can instantly give the students a feeling of ownership and unity. 

Step 3: Save your Drawing 

Once you have your Drawing complete, you’ll want to download it as an image file. In order to do this, you’ll follow these steps:

  1. Click File
  2. Hover over Download
  3. Select jpeg or png

Step 4: Add your Drawing to Google Classroom 

Then you’ll head over to Classroom to upload your image &#; be sure you’re on your Stream page. To upload the personalized image to Classroom, you’ll follow these steps:

  1. In the bottom-right corner of the banner, click Upload Photo
  2. Find the photo on your device (in Downloads)
  3. Rearrange, center, crop, or expand the image so it looks the way you’d like
  4. Click insert

And viola! You have a personalized custom theme in Google Classroom. It may seem small, but the engagement and ownership this banner can create will go a long way with your students. Something else that’s pretty cool is that you can reuse this banner in other Google tools. It’ll fit great as a page header in Google Sites and Forms, or as an image in Slides and Drawings (or any other tool, for that matter). When used across multiple online settings, you’re now creating familiarity for your students, in addition to the ownership and engagement. All with one personalized image. 

So there you have it &#; four steps that will help you create a custom theme for your class. What other ideas do you have that would help others create engaging custom themes for their class? Please share below!

More of a visual person? Click here to watch our step-by-step video on how to create a custom theme in Google Classroom.

As Director of Education Partnerships at EdTechTeam, Christina brings a passion for rethinking education to ensure experiences are learner-centered, with a focus on developing the capacity of others to lead and implement transformational work. Christina has worked in various roles in elementary, middle, and high school environments, as Associate Director of the Institute for Personalized Learning, and as a Manager of Partnerships at Discovery Education. She uses her experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, principal, and professional development specialist to understand the challenges districts face, and partners with them to create a design that works toward the district’s vision and goals. From Design Thinking to STEM to apprenticeship experiences, Christina is always looking for ways to further empower educators and engage learners in real-life experiences that impact their future.

Google, Google Classroom, Google for Education, Teacher Tips39 Comments

Sours: https://www.edtechteam.com/blog//12/how-to-create-a-custom-theme-in-google-classroom/

How to Create a Custom Google Classroom Banner (Tutorial + Template)

Let’s take a look at how to make a custom Google Classroom Banner with minimum fuss

The first thing a student sees when clicking into your specific Google Classroom is the header at the top &#; also known as the banner. Having the same pre-set Google Classroom banner can be both confusing and boring, especially if you are managing multiple classes.

It is vital for both yourself and your students to easily differentiate between your Classrooms (we also love our unique designs, just like our bulletin boards).

However, simply switching the color palette doesn’t cut it, hence the need for your own customized banners. 

But how do you get one? Where do you even begin? 

Let’s jump right into it now!

The Proper Google Classroom Banner Size

Before we can actually design our banners we need to make sure that the sizing is exact to the specification set by Google. If it is even slightly off in width or length, your finished banner will come out distorted when installed.

There’s no hard math here, just remember that a Google Classroom banner needs to be 1, x pixels in size:

1, x pixels stock Google Classroom banner size

This will always be the case no matter what program you choose to design the banner with.

For ease of planning, we will provide you with 3 different templates for you to start with once we get into designing the banner itself (Google Slides, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Canva).

Which Design Tool/Program Should I Use?

There are tons of options out there &#; most of them free. In our experience, we’ve found that the 3 most commonly used options are Google Slides, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Canva (or Pic Monkey &#; similar to Canva).

If you have a different tool that you use, it’s okay! Just remember to start a new project with the correct sizing (1, x ), and everything will be just fine.

But which one should you use? If you are looking for a recommendation, here are some things to keep in mind:

Microsoft Powerpoint &#; Using this program is a win/lose situation.

On the one hand, it is already installed on nearly every computer/laptop in the world, and does not require an internet connection of any sort to use. Ease of access is its biggest pro.

On the other hand, it is extremely outdated, and you will need to be on the net anyways in order to even get onto Google Classroom. 

Besides, who doesn’t have access to an internet connection at this point in time, anyways? (I’m 41 and absolutely remember when this was the norm, and internet connections were premium!)

Also, the design options for Powerpoint are pretty limited. If you want to stick with ClipArt only, then by all means go for it, but the free online tools have so much more available to you that it’s not really fair.

Click here to get started with a PowerPoint Template.

Google Slides &#; A step up from Powerpoint, but still slightly limited.

Using Google Slides is not any easier or harder when setting up and then exporting your finished design &#; just a few more steps.

It also functions basically the same way that Powerpoint does in terms of using the program itself.

One major step up from Powerpoint is the ability to search for images within the program. This way you can at least use more than simple ClipArt pics.

Just be careful with copyrighted images!

Yet in comparison to the library of available inserts on Canva/Pic Mokey (see below), Google Slides feels like using a station wagon to race a corvette. 

However, many people simply feel comfortable using what they know, and that is totally fine. It will definitely do the job for you.

Click here to get started with a Google Slides Template.

Canva &#; Our preferred method. Access your designs from the cloud with millions of options.

Canva (and also PicMonkey) are free-to-use online tools that boast a wide selection of design options (pictures, textures, frames, backgrounds, etc. etc.)

Before the thought of learning a new programs freezes you….DON&#;T RUN AWAY!

We promise you &#; these programs are suuuuuuper easy to use. Just give it a try!

You can create, design, export your designs easily, and all of your creations are auto-saved for later access.

We personally go with Canva, just for its specific layout (and it does have a deeper library in our opinion).

If there are any drawbacks, it would be that there are premium options that are only available for a paid price. 

We use Canva Pro, but mainly because we have a YouTube channel and our blog to run, both which require lots and lots of graphic design. 

Nevertheless, if you want our personal recommendation, use Canva and rejoice in your newfound awesomeness!

Click here to get started with a Canva Template.

Setting Up Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

Although the process is pretty much the same, there are a few variations based on which program you use. Feel free to skip to the section/program that applies to you!

Microsoft Powerpoint

Create Your Project &#; If you already downloaded one of our templates, go ahead and open it up. Be sure to save a separate copy so you can edit without messing up your original blank template.

If you are starting from scratch, open up PowerPoint and start a new Presentation. 

Click on the design button underneath the uppermost ribbon.

Over on the far right-hand side, click on the drop down arrow next to “Slide Size”

Here is the customization box that will pop up:

From the drop down menu, choose “Custom”

Here’s the annoying part of Powerpoint &#; you can’t “choose” pixels. Instead, you have to type in the number and the abbreviated unit (px) and THEN hit tab. YEESH! 

So&#;highlight everything in the “Width” box and type in exactly “ px”, then hit tab

You’ll see that it converts it to inches &#; inches to be exact (ugh!). That’s okay, though &#; you did it correctly. 

Now do the same thing in the “Height” tab, but type in “ px” this time. Hit tab again.

You should now see the listing of “ inches”. Yuck, but correct. 

Now just click on “OK” and you’re ready to start designing!

Google Slides

Create Your Project &#; If you already downloaded one of our templates, go ahead and open it up. Be sure to save a separate copy so you can edit without messing up your original blank template.

If you are starting from scratch, open up Slides and start a new Presentation. 

From there, change the option from “Widescreen ” to “Custom,” then click apply

Click on the drop down arrow and change it to “Pixels”

Now just put in x for the dimensions

Now just click on “Apply” and you’re ready to start designing!

Canva

Create Your Project &#; If you already downloaded one of our templates, go ahead and open it up. Be sure to save a separate copy so you can edit without messing up your original blank template.

If you are starting from scratch, log in to your Canva.com account click on “Create a Design” in the top right corner 

From there, click on “Custom Size” at the bottom-left of the box

Luckily for us, the default is pixels! Now just put in x for the dimensions and click on “Create new design”

You’re (already!) ready to start designing!

Designing Your Google Classroom Custom Banner

This is where you get to shine! Design away to your heart’s content using the program that you’ve chosen. 

There really isn’t much to teach here&#;

However, there IS one important thing to keep in mind when designing your banner:

The name of the Google Classroom (and class code + Meet/Zoom link info, if any) will be posted in the top left corner of your banner. 

This is regardless of what banner you use (custom or standard).

Here is an example stock banner:

That information will still be there when we insert our new custom banner, so we would want to keep that in mind when we are designing our finished product. 

It’s more for aesthetics than anything else, but we did want to make you aware of it…

Downloading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

Although the process is pretty much the same, there are a few variations based on which program you use. Feel free to skip to the section/program that applies to you!

Microsoft Powerpoint

Here is our finished product ready to save/download:

Click on File in the top left corner then choose “Save As.” Choosing just “Save” will not get you where you need to be!

Click on browse, choose where you want to save your design, then give it an appropriate name.

Before saving, click on the drop down menu next to “Save as Type” and choose either .JPG or .PNG (It doesn’t matter which one &#; they will both work when uploading the banner)

Finally, click on “Save” and your file will be saved to the destination path you chose.

Google Slides

Here is our finished product ready to save/download:

Click on File in the top left corner then hover over the “Download” arrow. 

Choose either .JPG or .PNG (It doesn’t matter which one &#; they will both work when uploading the banner)

Once you’ve clicked on the file type, Google will automatically download the file to your desktop 

It typically goes to your “Downloads” folder, but this is dependent on where you set your default downloads to go for your personal computer/laptop.

Canva

Here is our finished product ready to save/download:

Click on the download arrow in the top right corner. 

The file type is the first choice you will see. Pick either .JPG or .PNG (It doesn’t matter which one &#; they will both work when uploading the banner). Luckily for us, the default is already set to PNG!

Finally, click on download, and Canva will automatically download the file to your desktop 

It typically goes to your “Downloads” folder, but this is dependent on where you set your default downloads to go for your personal computer/laptop.

Uploading Your Custom Banner to Google Classroom

The last step is to take our newly-created custom banner and upload it to Google Classroom. 

Regardless of how you created your banner, this is now a universal step, and we no longer need to delve into different sections.

First, head over to Google Classroom, log into your account, then choose the class that you want to edit.

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

Locate your banner at the top center of your screen. By default you will be in the class “Stream.”

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

In the bottom right-hand corner, click on “Upload photo.” This will NOT work if you click on “Select theme.”

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

At this point, either drag and drop your downloaded banner, or click on “Select a photo from your computer” to find the file pathway.

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

Your banner will be inserted, but you must size it appropriately before finishing.

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

Simply drag the 4 corners to stretch the crop marks all the way out. It should fit perfectly since we’ve downloaded our banner to the exact sizing necessary.

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

To finish, click on “Select class theme” and you are all set!

Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

Voila! Your custom Google Classroom banner is now uploaded and ready to go!

One Final Warning &#; Dimmed Banners

Although we are unsure why this occurs (Google, we are looking at you!), any custom banner that you upload will automatically be partially dimmed.

To compare, take a look at a standard theme vs. our custom banner:

  • Uploading Your Custom Google Classroom Banner

As you can see it’s kind of a bummer, but nothing too major.

Our biggest takeaway is to use vivid, bright colors to at least partially nullify the dimming effects from uploading your custom banner.

Final Thoughts on Creating a Custom Google Classroom Banner

After you complete the process once, it then becomes infinitely easier to replicate from there.

Just be sure to save a master copy of the blank template, and from there you won’t need to start from scratch! You can simply start from the design process and go from there.

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How to Create a Custom Google Classroom Banner (Tutorial + Template)

Sours: https://www.mrcookscorner.com/custom-google-classroom-banner-tutorial/
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30 Days of Google Classroom Headers

After a week of #30daysofhompages for Canvas I realized that a lot of teachers are using another Learning Management System. I am in the process of transitioning from Google Classroom to Canvas after four years of using Classroom in my junior high school classes. I love the platform and the freedom it gives teachers to build their classroom up and its connectivity to the rest of the Google Suite is awesome. With that said, I understand completely why a lot of teachers are choosing to use Google Classroom. To do my part of help teachers globally support best practices for Google Classroom, I am taking the headers from my Canvas classrooms and repurposing them for Google Classroom. Below you will find the graphics for Google Classroom and a link to download them for your classroom. These are perfectly sized to meet the header requirements for Google Classroom. Check out how to apply a custom header (including a gif) in a Google Classroom:

Sours: https://www.teacherwinters.net/resources/days-of-google-classroom-headers

 Wow Wednesday: Canva for Google Classroom and Google Forms

This past spring and summer, I worked with teachers to make our Google Classroom Headers and Google Form Headers beautiful and the right size. We would use templates, and then we would adjust sizes on Google Drawings and Google Slides. The teachers came up with some amazing banners/headers. I am always amazed when I see a teacher's Google Classroom Header because it is way better than anything I could have created.

Just a few days ago, I was working with Mrs. Fuchs, and she told me that she has been using Canva for her Google Form Headers and Google Classroom Headers. I was amazed. This was way easier to use Canva to create this masterpiece versus me doing it by hand/from scratch. Thank you, Mrs. Fuchs.

I highly recommend using Canva for your Google Classroom Banners and Google Form Headers. 

How do you use it?

1. Log into Canva.

2. In the search bar in the top right corner, search Google Classroom Header.

3. Then you can customize it.

4. When you are finished, you can download as a PNG or JPG.

5. Finally, you will upload it to your Google Classroom or Google Form.

Examples:




Sours: https://brenhamtechdaily.blogspot.com//10/wow-wednesday-canva-for-google.html

Google classroom header canva

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How to Customize a Google Classroom Header Using Canva

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