First, check out the initial instructions in student orientation:
There's often confusion with teachers about using Microsoft files over Google Drive. The problem is people think of Google Drive as a website. Well, it's more than that. You can have all your Google Drive contents represented as a folder on your computer. Then you can just open Word files like usual. If you're on drive.google.com, then it's more complicated. You can view Word documents but trying to edit them from the web version of Google Drive will force a conversion into Google Docs. Now you've got duplicates.
While many teachers use Google Classroom to distribute and collect documents over Google Drive, the practice has some serious drawbacks. You're forced to use a new pseudo-LMS that overlaps with many of the services we already have on campus. Moreover, you will frequently have the need to exchange other document types and facilitate other activities outside of what Classroom allows. It's best to have a more flexible setup that exposes students to collaborative file management in the cloud.
Open drive.google.com and navigate to a place where you'll house all your students' folders. Inside my department's folder is a folder for classwork, then one for each year, then each class.
Department → Classwork → Year → Class → (folder for each student)
I like to copy the username from my LMS roster, create a folder in Drive, paste the name, then add my class so the folder is titled
username-NameOfClass, then right click on the folder and select share, then paste the username again so the student comes right up, and submit.
I label this folder _shared so it stays at the top of my alphabetical sorting inside the class folder. I set the folder's shared setting so anyone at Gilmour Academy can view. I'll then post that link to my LMS. Any files I want to share with my students all year long just get dropped into this folder. They can then copy that read only file into their own folders when needed.
I frequently use this method to distribute assignment papers to students without having to make copies myself.
Google has changed this feature recently and I assume they'll change it still further. The primary attraction to a shared drive is that it has no one account owner.