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Google Classroom: Pull Student Paragraphs and Give Feedback

google classroom pull student responses

Google Classroom: Pull Student Paragraphs and Give Feedback

I like to joke that the “Make a copy for each student” option is really the “Make a giant pile of paperwork for yourself” option. When you ask students to use the “Create” button and create a Google Doc or you give them a template on a Google Document you then have to go in and open each student’s individual document. Especially with slow internet speeds, this can be a chore.

I am always asking, how can we give feedback FASTER? Feedback faster is more motivating.


This Add-on script allows you to grab what students wrote into a Google Doc and put all of the responses into a spreadsheet. This allows you to save time from opening each Google Doc individually. Note this only works with text documents, not Sheets or Slides.

pull the paragraph workflow

Add-ons Menu

Make a copy of the template. At the top in the Add-ons menu is “Pull the Paragraph.” Choose Start to activate the sidebar. You will need to authorize permissions. I personally coded this, I have zero access to your documents and files. It is safe to use. 
Add on menu choose pull the paragraph and start

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Student Work in Google Drive

If you are a Google Classroom user, when students submit their work to an assignment it is collected in an assignment folder in Google Drive. In other words, there is one folder that contains all the students work for that particular assignment. In Google Drive there is a “Google Classroom” folder. In that folder is a folder for each class. In that class folder is a folder for that assignment. You want to mentally identify what that folder is called.

Sidebar Menu

The sidebar menu in the spreadsheet from the template  has a button to “Choose a folder.” Get started by pushing this button.
Push this button in the sidebar to locate the folder

Locate the Folder

You are identifying the folder in your Google Drive that contains student text documents. Note this will not show you the documents as it is searching for folders only. I number my assignments in Google Classroom which makes it easy to locate folders for the assignments in Google Drive. SINGLE CLICK on the assignment folder.
single click on the folder of choice

Enter Feedback

The Add-on script creates a list of all of the student documents in the folder. Suggestion to RETURN student work in Google Classroom before running the “Pull the Paragraph” Add-on so that student names will be displayed. If students have turned in work, you become the owner and your name will be displayed instead. Returning student work fixes this issue.

enter feedback in column c

The columns to the right show what information the students typed into the Google Doc. You will probably want to make the columns wider and turn on word wrap to make the text easier to read.

Enter feedback for students into Column C. Since all students are in a single list it can be significantly faster to go through each student’s responses and leave feedback.

Send Feedback

After entering feedback into Column C you will want to send the students the feedback. In the sidebar menu click the button that says “Send feedback.” Your feedback comment is copied and pasted into the top of the students Google Doc.

Email Feedback

Optionally you can email students to let them know you left them feedback on their document. Click on “Email Feedback” in the sidebar menu to send an email. Note: If you have not returned the students work in Google Classroom the email address listed in the spreadsheet is YOUR email and the student will not receive the email, you will.

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22 thoughts on “Google Classroom: Pull Student Paragraphs and Give Feedback”

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  2. This sounds a lot like what I can do with Goobric & Doctopus, except w/o rubrics. I wonder which students would pay more attention to? I suspect they don’t look at the rubrics very often, but Goobric gives me data to measure student improvement. Thoughts?

    1. When we give feedback AFTER an assignment is due we are going to get less learning than if we give it DURING the learning process. Logistics and time make it not feasible to give the feedback before the due date sometimes. I recommend we look at our very well intentioned but time consuming practices and exchange them for things that give us more bang for the buck. How much LEARNING comes out of the time you spend on something.

      1. Makes sense. Since in my class, drafts are not one and done, it is during the process that I provide rubric feedback for students, so they can move on to the next step of that process. It’s hard to provide feedback during the process of creating a draft, since each student may decide to begin that draft at a different time, so timing when the best moment might be to pull all student paragraphs together would be challenging.

          1. Time and place… I use Goobric/Doctopus as well, but I can also see times where Pull the Paragraph would be effective, especially for quick check assignments. This looks great!

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        3. When the folder chosen was distributed by Doctopus, the Email address coming up in the Pull That Paragraph sheet is mine, the teacher, not the student’s from the roster (I guess as the docs are always still in ownership of the teacher in Doctopus, unlike Classroom)

          1. FIRST STEP … RETURN student work in Google Classroom. Sadly, Google Classroom switches ownership to the teacher when they turn it in. I don’t want to own student work and it is a negative for feedback conversations and mastery learning. I’m a rabid returner.

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        5. Does Pull the Paragraph TWO work? I copied the template, but it won’t let me select a folder. I have an assignment where I would love to leave feedback on individual paragraphs, rather than just global feedback.

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