Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

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Alice Keeler

Google Classroom: Filter Gmail for Private Comments

Google Classroom: Filter Gmail for Private Comments

filter private comment notifications

Filter Gmail for Private Comments

I get a lot of email… like a LOT of email. Some of the most important emails are the private comments from my students. I do not want to miss an opportunity to respond to their comments. Creating a filter in Gmail can help ensure I respond to Student comments quickly.


What I am looking for is something unique in Gmail that I can filter for.
added a private comment

added a private comment

The phrase that is used consistently in the email notification for a private comment is “added a private comment.”


Checkbox an email that contains “added a private comment.”


The “More” button at the top gives the option to “Filter messages like these.”
more filter messages like these


Edit the Filter

The default filter is by email address. Delete this. Instead add the phrase “added a private comment” to the Subject line filter.
delete email address add the phrase added a private comment

Click on “Create filter with this search” in the bottom right-hand corner.

Filter Options

After clicking on “Create filter with this search” the window shows all the options for what to do with the emails that fit the criteria. I recommend “Star it.” After you review a students comment you can UNstar it to let you know you’re done.
Filter options

“Apply the label” allows you to create a label (kind of like a folder, it is listed on the left-hand side.) I already had a label of “Google Classroom” so I was able to create a sub-label of “Private Comments.”
Private comments in Google Classroom

You may also want to designate it as “Never mark as important” if you are using Priority Inbox so that these messages go to the bottom of Gmail rather than being mixed in with your other emails.


Locating the private comments is as easy as clicking on the label you created on the left-hand side. This filters specifically for those emails. You can also click on “Starred” on the left hand side to find those emails as well.
Google Classroom label

Plan It

Do not let Google Classroom notifications take over your life. While messages come through 24/7, this does not mean you need to respond immediately to all of them at all hours of your life. Plan a time that you will click on the “Private Comments” label in Gmail and look for student comments.

Note that you can NOT reply to the emails. You will need to go to Google Classroom and reply in the assignment assessment screen.

Append the Search

One of my best tips is to number all of your assignments. If students are leaving you private comments on #008 first click on the “Private Comments” label. This will show that search filter at the top. Append the search with the assignment number #008 and also the filter “in:starred.” You can then UNstar all of the private comments for that assignment.
append the search

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