Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Google Classroom: Returning Optional Work

Google Classroom Return Optional Work
Google Classroom: Returning Optional Work

Google Classroom Return Optional Work

Assign Optional Challenge Work

One of the awesome things about digital is how easy it is to provide optional challenges to students. I will post to Google Classroom with the topic of “Optional” or “Challenge.” Obviously, I do not expect all students to do it.

Google Drive Challenge in Google Classroom


For students who did not complete the challenge, you can return the work to them. Even though they did not turn it in. By default, Google Classroom sorts by status. It is easy to view which students chose not to take the challenge. Check the checkbox for the status “Not done.” Click the Return button at the top.

Check the checkbox marked "not done" and click return

Returning uncompleted work removes it from the student’s “Not done” list. It allows you to acknowledge that they are exempt, excused, or not required to the assignment.

Leave a Note

From the browser version of Google Classroom, you can leave a mass note to the students who are not done. Let students know it was okay they did not do the optional challenge and that you are removing the activity from their Not done list.
Leave a mass note to those who are not done when you return.


It is likely that after receiving the notification that they did not do the optional challenge they may want to do it now. Work that has been returned has the option to be resubmitted.

Student wants to work on this assignment after I returned it.
Adam’s assignment was not done and I returned it to him. He received a notification that he did not have to do this assignment. Wanting to complete it, he left me a Private Comment letting me know he will be doing the challenge. I prompted him to resubmit once he is completed.


Students Click Blue Resubmit Button

Students click the blue “Resubmit” button to move the assignment out of the Returned list in Google Classroom, back to the Done list.
Resubmit an assignment

Done Counts of Zero

I try hard to keep my Done counts as zero. When the Done count is no longer zero, this alerts me that a student has submitted work since I last looked at it.

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