Untitled 14 (Just kidding, this post is about naming posts, documents, and assigmnents in Google Classroom)

Google Classroom automatically organizes Google Drive for you!

When you post an assignment, a sub-folder is created in your Google Classroom folder in Google Drive.

I number all my assignments using different hundreds place for each unit (eg first assignment in unit one is 101, then 102… first assignment in unit two is 201, then 202 (Thanks Alice Keeler for this tip)). I use these numbers in the title of the post in Classroom, the name of the documents, and in when I enter the assignment into our online grading system. This makes it easy for students (and me) to make the connections between the post, the docs, and the grading system.


Doing this in the title of your Google Classroom post will allow you to sort the subsequent folders alphabetically, resulting in a chronological list of your posts.





Stagnation Station

Jennifer Gonzalez’s latest blog post, “Fricken Worksheets“, is terrific.

The video that sparked the post is worth watching – the student is disruptive, but his point is valid, packets of worksheets is not a solid pedagogical choice.

There are so many “good” examples of bad practice in this post, tasks teachers think have value but need to reevaluate in terms of the learning being assessed. Tasks I know teachers are using RIGHT NOW! “Busysheets” (as Gonzalez calls them) that are low-level thinking wastes of time! Work that not only does not teach anything but is BORING! Why are you giving kids work to complete that you have no interest in seeing again?

Looking at what not to do is good. Even better? Gonzalez offers ways to use a more effective strategy!

In my district, we are in the middle of transitioning into Proficiency-Based Education (it’s a whole thing, I won’t get into it). Our professional development recently is around assessments and evaluating them for effectiveness and purpose. I feel that this self reflection is what the student is encouraging (in his own way).

So here are my questions for you:

How often do you ask of your assignments: What is my goal with this? How is it connected to one of my standards?

Create drop down menu options in Google Sheets

You can easily create a drop-down menu of options in cells in Google Sheets by using the Data Validation tool. See the instructions link to youtube video below.

I use this for tracking data on my own, or for students doing a running record of self-assessment.

Drop down menus
Use the Data Validation tool to create drop-down menus


Weekly Google Classroom Tips

Google for Education recently tweeted a link to a slideshow of weekly tips for using Google Classroom.

Now, this isn’t just a list of suggestions, they are based on what actually is happening in classrooms! This is something that you will come back to week after week!

Google Classroom Teacher tips

See the slideshow here: http://bit.ly/2nBuY6D

You can access the slideshow by clicking here

Add columns feature in Google Docs

Adding columns to a Google Doc is easy-peasy. From the “FORMAT” menu, choose “COLUMNS” and decide how many columns you’d like your document split into – the max is three regardless of page orientation.
Screenshot 2017-11-29 at 9.22.49 AM

You can also click “more options” and customize the columns further.

Screenshot 2017-11-29 at 12.12.09 PM



Digital feedback using comments and ‘paint formatting’ tool.

My students do the majority of their writing using Google Docs. This allows me to provide feedback at any time during the writing process. I use two Google Docs tools most often when giving feedback.

First is the COMMENT feature: I select the text I wish to comment upon, click the comment icon that appears (or [command+option+m]), and leave my feedback.

Second is the PAINT FORMAT feature: I use blue highlighting to indicate to the student that there is something wrong that needs fixing, whether it is spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or some other issue. This, hopefully, makes the student think critically about the writing and problem solve. Once I’ve highlighted one area, I can use the ‘paint formatting’ tool to quickly identify other areas of concern.

Watch an example of both of these tools in action:

Annotate (and share) the Internet with Diigo

The Diigo Chrome extension allows the user to highlight and add notes on the website, on a PDF of the site, or a screenshot taken from the site, all from the context menu!

The annotated website (in whatever format you’ve picked) is then sharable!

I’ve used this in my classes. I’ll highlight parts of the text I want students to pay attention to, add a note to provide context or explain an allusion.  See an example here.

Click the logo below to install the extension (it will open in a new tab).

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