At a base level Google Classroom is a box that allows you to post work for students. Classroom gives students a space to submit work. There are many things you can do with Google Classroom that is less obvious. Here are 5 hidden features of Google Classroom.
Posting Assignments to Google Classroom
As you may know, you can create a class in Google Classroom by going to classroom.google.com. From there you can create your class which will appear as a tile on the Classes home page. Clicking on the class tile you will be taken to the Google Classroom “Stream.” This is NOT where you post assignments. Consider the Stream as your social space. Engage students in informal discussions. Share class announcements. Allow students to ask questions about the assignments.
Create Assignments on the Classwork Page
Google Classroom is designed to be organized by topics on the Classwork page. Use the “Create” button on the Classwork tab to create topics. This Create button is also how you can create assignments for Google Classroom.
Tip: Go to the Classwork page. Copy the URL at the top of the classwork page and create a QR code. When telling students to go to Google Classroom, give them the link to the Classwork page so they can see the assignments organized by topic.
5 Hidden Features of Google Classroom
1. Enable Show Attachments and Details on the Stream
By default Google Classroom will show a CONDENSED posting of your assignment. The problem with this is that it is difficult for students to ask a question about the assignment. Instead, click on the settings cog in the upper right of your class. Find “Classwork on the Stream.” Change the option to “Show attachments and details.”
Besides the fact that the settings are not obvious without going to the cog, there is a hidden feature called “Class comments.” Enabling “attachments and details” reveals the option to “Add class comment” on the assignment in the Stream. This makes it easier for students to ask questions about the assignment.
2. Assignments with a DUE DATE
Google Classroom integrates with Google Calendar. Each class has a Google Calendar automatically created for it. Going straight to calendar.google.com will allow students to see all of their calendars for each of their classes.
Assignments will automatically appear on the calendar. However, they do not show up on the assigned date. Only on the due date. Make sure you include a due date to facilitate the Google Calendar integration.
3. Topic for One Student
Assignments not assigned to students are not visible to students. While that seems obvious, a topic will only appear to a student if there are assignments in the topic that are assigned to them. If you create a topic for next week and all the assignments in the topic are unpublished, the topic will be invisible. Students will not know it exists.
Create a topic for ONE student or a group of students. If all the assignments in that topic are ONLY assigned to that one student, or group of students, that topic will ONLY be visible to that student. The other students in the class will not know the topic exists. This allows you to differentiate assignments.
4. View All
On the Stream on the left hand side is a bubble to view “Upcoming assignments.” These are assignments with a due date in the next week. Part of the bubble you will see “View all.” Click on this to quickly get to the “To review” page of Google Classroom, filtered for that particular class. Quickly grade submitted assignments.
When students click on “View all” they will see a list of assignments they still need to submit.
5. Comment Bank
When students have a Google Doc added to an assignment and you click on it to review student work it opens in the feedback tool. When you leave students feedback comments you can choose from a selection of comments that you add to the “Comment bank.”
In the rail between the student document and the feedback comments is the “Comment bank” option.
Use # in the Comment Bank
Hidden in the comment bank is the ability to use a hashtag # to access the comments. First, insert a comment into the students document. Use Control Alt M to insert a comment with a keyboard shortcut. Second, put the # symbol into the comment. Then start typing a keyword from the comment you wish to leave. Suggested comments from the Comment bank will show below for you to select.
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