Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Understanding the Workflow Between Google Drive and Google Classroom

When making use of Google Classroom, it's important to understand how Google Classroom works with Google Drive, and the workflow that an assignment goes through.

Classroom Folder Structure In Google Drive
The first thing that is important to understand is that Google Classroom automatically generates a folder structure on Google Drive for Classroom to use. All documents used by you and your students in Google Classroom will be stored somewhere in the Classroom folder on your Drive. Do not attempt to delete or change this folder structure! Doing so can cause glitches in Classroom and Drive.

Inside the Classroom folder, a subfolder is generated for each separate classroom you create. Inside the subfolder for each Classroom, you'll find subfolders for each and every assignment you post in Google Classroom. The image below shows the structure visually. Instead of "Classroom 1" and "Assignment 1", you'll see folder names that match your Classroom and assignment names.

The Classroom folder on the teacher's Drive contains all the files of all the students. Do not share the Classroom folder with students- this will allow them to see other students' work and constitutes a breach of student privacy. The Classroom folder on the student's Drive contains only the files he or she owns and has worked on. 

Workflow of an Assignment
When you create an assignment and make a copy for every student, the copies are generated the moment you click "assign" and post the assignment to the stream. At this time, the students become the "owner" of their copy and you have viewing rights.

Once students have edited their copy of the document and clicked "turned in" ownership is transferred to the teacher, and student rights are changed to "view only". If the student unsubmits the assignment, ownership will transfer back to the student. When a teacher returns an assignment, the ownership also reverts back to the student.

If you make comments on a submitted document, the student will not be able to see the comments you've made until you return the document, or the student unsubmits the document.

Unsubmitting and Returning Work
It's important to know that students can unsubmit work at any time. Work can be unsubmitted, resubmitted, and returned to the student as many times as necessary for your purposes (for example, writing revisions). Google Classroom and the document activity stream on Drive will show you when these changes in ownership take place, allowing you to see the timeline of activity if needed.

I hope this answers any questions you may have had about the Google Classroom workflow.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Google Classroom: Make a Copy for Every Student

One of my favorite features in Google Classroom is the ability to make a copy of a document for every student automatically. It's a great feature that makes life so much easier for teachers and students. Today, I want to address some common questions I get about this feature.

How do I make a copy of a document for every student?
This short gif outlines the process:

I'm sending a Word Document, PDF or other non-Google Filetype to students. Do I need to make a copy for every student? 
No, this is only necessary if you are using Google filetypes: Sheets, Docs, Slides, Drawings. Non-Google filetypes cannot be edited on the web like Google filetypes. For non-Google filetypes, students will need to download the original to their device to edit it anyway, and reupload their copy with changes saved. So, while using this option for these documents won't hurt, it's not necessary.

It is also not necessary to  make a copy of a Form for every student, as attaching the Form to the assignment will lead them to a blank response page.

I'm editing an assignment to add a new document, but I don't have this option. Why not?
The answer is deceptively simple: this option is only available when first creating an assignment, before hitting the blue "assign" button. If you're adding a document to an assignment that's already posted to the stream, the option won't be available (and the blue button will say "save" instead of "assign"). This is because the student copies are created for all documents attached when the blue "assign" button is clicked.

If students have already been working with the documents attached to the assignment, you'll want to simply create a new assignment with the additional document. If students have not yet begun working on the documents attached to the assignment, then you can reuse the post, attach the new document and assign, then delete the original post.

If I make changes to the original, will students see those changes?
If you've already pushed the assignment out to students, then their copy was created the moment you clicked "assign". Any changes you make to the original after that will not be visible on the student copies. It's kind of like a copy machine- you make 10 copies, then you realize that you made an error and fix it. The correction is only visible in copies you make after- not in the first set of copies you made.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Managing Group Assignments in Google Classroom

Often times, teachers want to assign group work to students using Google Classroom. They want students to be able to work on the same document and turn in a single copy. Right now, there isn't a way to create sub-groups in Google Classroom like many teachers wish, but there is a way to do this without some students having "not done" assignments when it's all over.

Create your assignment document. You'll want to make a copy for each group that you intend to have. To help organize, add "group 1", "group 2" and so on to the end of the file name. Create the assignment as you usually would. Give it a title, add instructions, and attach your document for your first group. Then, click where it says all students.

You'll see a dropdown box with the name of each student in the class. Un-click the box next to "all students".

Check only the name of the students in a particular group. Make sure that instead of "make a copy for every student," you'll want to choose "students can edit". This way, all students in the group will be working on the same doc, and each student will be able to click "turn in" when the group is finished. 

Here's the rub to using this method: You'll need to repeat this process for each group you want to send a document to, each time attaching the document you created for that group. You cannot assign the same original to every group, otherwise all groups will be editing the same document!

As always, feel free to reply with any questions!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Google Classroom Parent Letter

If you're using other web 2.0 tools with your students, you've likely noticed that many of them come with an introductory letter for parents to let them know a little about the tool. One of the most common questions I get when leading trainings is whether or not Google has created an introductory letter to send to parents about Google Classroom.

The short answer is.....NO. So, I created one! This letter is pretty appropriate for teachers at about any grade level, and gives parents the basic information about Google Classroom, as well as the opportunity to provide their email address if they're interested in getting Guardian Summaries.

Since I'm an ESOL specialist and work in a district with over 25,000 ELLs, most of whom speak Spanish, I created this in both English and Spanish.

Click here or on the image below to get a copy. This is a Google Slides file, with a text box that allows you to personalize by adding in your name and email address.

I hope this is helpful for you in your classroom- please feel free to share with other teachers!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Google Forms and Google Classroom: Importing Grades from Google Forms Quizzes

Recently, Google added a new feature to make Google Classroom and Google Forms more compatible. Previously, you had to manually enter grades from Forms into Classroom. But that is no more! You can now simply import the grades directly from Forms into Classroom pretty instantaneously.

*Please note, this feature is only available for Classrooms in GSuite for Education. This option is not available for Classrooms created with personal Google acounts ( 

When you attach a Form to an assignment in Google Classroom using the Drive icon, you will see a toggle appear that says "enable grade importing". Simply turn on this toggle before clicking the blue "assign" button.

Once all your students have completed the quiz in Google Forms and checked to ensure that it is "marked as done" in Classroom, then you can click the "import grades" button on the student work page.

A pop up will appear, asking you to confirm your choice. Click "import".

And just like that, your grades will appear in Classroom. You can then return the assignment to students and add private comments if you wish.

In most cases, when the toggle is turned on, the correct settings will be applied to the form to make it compatible with grade importing. However, occasionally this doesn't happen. In that case, check the following:

  • Make sure that the Form is the only thing you have attached to the assignment. If other documents or links are attached to the assignment, the toggle will not appear.
  • Check to make sure that the quiz feature is set up properly with point values and correct responses identified
  • Check to ensure the Form is set to limit users to 1 response.
  • Check that email collection is enabled 
  • Check that you've set the form to limit to users in your own domain

Happy quizzing! If you have questions, post them below!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Google Classroom and Google Calendar

Today we're going to tackle questions about Google Classroom and Google Calendar. There's often confusion about the calendar generated by classroom works.

First, it's important to know that Google Classroom automatically creates a calendar for each classroom you create. You can view the calendar in Google Classroom or open it in Google Calendar. Both options are found on the "about" tab in Google Classroom.

What can I see when I click "Classroom Calendar"?
Here you (and students) will see a weekly view of the calendar for that Classroom. The only "events" that are visible when viewing the calendar within Classroom are assignments that are added to the stream with a due date. Nothing added to the calendar from Google Calendar will be visible when viewing the calendar in Google Classroom.

What can I see when I click "Google Calendar"?
This opens the calendar for that classroom in Google Calendar. When viewing in Google Calendar, you will be able to add additional events (not associated with assignments) such as field trips, test days, quizzes, etc. To see items that you add, students will also need to click "Google Calendar" on the about tab in Google Classroom.

Will students see my personal calendar when they click the "Google Calendar" link?
No, students will not see your calendar. They will see the class calendar and their own calendar, along with any other calendars they're subscribed to or sharing. You see your calendar when clicking this link because it is yours.

Why are classroom assignments being added to my personal calendar?
They're not actually being added to your personal calendar, they're just being added to the class calendar. If you no longer wish to see these items when viewing Google Calendar, all you need to do is hide the calendar.

To hide the Classroom calendar from your view in Google Calendar, find "my calendars" in the left sidebar. Locate the calendar in question, and click it so that the box next to it is not colored. Items on this calendar will no longer be visible when viewing your calendar. Any calendar with a colored box next to it will be visible.

I hope that this helps clear up some of your confusion around Google Calendar and Google Classroom!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Google Innovator Academy #SWE17

Since last Saturday (30 September), I have been in Stockholm, Sweden. Right now, as I write this, I sit in the London airport, on the last leg of my journey, still trying to absorb all I have done and learned over the past week. The reason for this trip is do something I've been wanting to do for a long time- attend a Google Innovator Academy. I arrived in Stockholm a little early so I could do some sightseeing before the academy.

Before the Academy
Google did an excellent job of building community among our cohort before we even arrived. You can meet all the folks in my cohort and see their projects here. We'd been chatting together for nearly a month on our cohort's Google hangout, so when everyone began to arrive Tuesday night, several of us met for dinner at a restaurant called the Hairy Pig.

The next morning, before we went to Google to begin our big adventure, most of the cohort also met at a local cafe for Fika.

I felt like I already knew many of these folks before we ever met, but the few days that we spent at the academy only strengthened those bonds. I know these folks 100% have my back with getting my project off the ground, and I have their backs too. It's unbelievable how much I miss these folks right now! #SWE17 forever!

My Cohort
We were told that our cohort is the most diverse cohort of the Google Innovator program to date. 37 of us represented 19 different countries. What an amazing, passionate, and talented group of educators!
Such an amazing group of folks!

Jazz Hands!

The Adventure Begins
Finally, around 3pm Stockholm time on Wednesday, the real adventure began when we entered the Google building for the first time.

As we arrived, they greeted us and gave us the badges we'd need to move about the building while we're here.

One of the first activities they had us do after arrival was work together to do a BreakoutEdu activity. The team I was on broke out with 1:44 seconds remaining on the clock. Whew!

Later, they split us up into smaller teams and assigned each team a coach to support us as we worked through the innovation process during the academy. We were to choose a team name, a team cheer and a team song. Our team chose the name "Frozen Hairy Pigs" because several of us went to the ice bar as well as a restaurant called Hairy Pig earlier in the week. Here's my amazing team, with our coach, Thomas.

From left to right: Laurah J., Matt, Emma, Thomas, Carsten, Stanislava, Mark

Working Hard
Throughout the week we worked hard to hone our projects, working through the design-thinking process step-by-step so that we would be ready to take the first steps to iteration when we returned.

Working with my fist-bump buddy, Nadjib
Getting feedback on our projects from our cohort colleagues
Learning the design process with my high-five buddy Isabel

Playing Hard
We also had lots of fun together with our cohort- both at Google and in the evenings. Also, Google fed us amazingly well (I think I got spoiled)!

Manuel and Mel during Partner Yoga

Innovator cupcakes!

Quin and Mark watch the magician one night during dinner

An amazing Googley breakfast!

Photobomb by Mason

An after-academy visit to the Ice Bar

My Project
My project is The #ELLEdTech project, and is all about partnering with businesses and the community to put technology in the hands of our ELLs and ESOL teachers, providing training for ESOL teachers on how to use educational technology to support language growth, and working toward changing the existing culture in schools surrounding ELLs, ESOL teachers and ESOL education. Though my project has pivoted a bit since inception, you can see my original project video below that was submitted as part of my application.

After a week of powerful learning, community building, and the most fun I've ever had during professional development, we graduated and officially became Google Innovators. 

This is going in a frame!

Celebrating after graduation!

If you've been considering applying for the Google Innovator program, I highly recommend it. I would say it was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life. As sad as I am to leave (I miss my cohort buddies already!), I can't wait to dive into my project and start working to make it a reality. I'll keep you up-to-date on my project over the next year (and beyond), so stay tuned!