Thursday, September 18, 2014

Google Classroom Hacks and Tips

Most of you have joined Google Classroom and have experienced it for a couple of weeks.  During its use, you may have noticed a couple of hiccups that Google has not provided a fix for.  I have found some workarounds to some of the common problems you may have encountered.

Google Classroom Hacks

  • Problem 1: There is no way to add a Co-Teacher to my class.  
Solution:  Share the "Classroom" folder housed in your Google Drive with your Co-Teacher and give her/him editing rights.  This will allow the other teacher to see all assignments and comment on them too. While this is not the perfect solution because the co-teacher cannot grade assignments, this workaround is better than adding the co-teacher as a student to your class.  Doing the latter will not allow her to see all student's assignments.

  • Problem 2:  I can't share an entire folder of resources with my students through Classroom
Solution:  Select the folder that you want to share with students and set its sharing settings to "Anyone with the link can view," grab that link and post it on your Classroom "about" page.  In that way, students will be able to access the folder all year and it will also prevent it from being lost among all your assignment postings and announcements in the stream.  You can also add individual files to the about page, if you prefer.

  • Problem 3:  Point value in assignments limits me to their pre set options and won't allow me to put my own point value.
Solution:  Click in the field where you see the total points and type in the desired number value (whole number) DO NOT hit enter, rather click AWAY from the box or hit TAB to trigger Classroom to save your custom points total for that assignment.

  • Problem 4:  I want to create Group Assignments
Solution: While it is not possible to automatically do this.  Here's  a workaround:
Create an assignment on Classroom, attach an "only view" Google Docs template which will describe your directions and desired grouping (group1: Mary, John, Brian and Megan), etc.  In this template give students directions to create a new Document to submit their work.  One of the students from each group will create the document and will share it with the rest of his/her assigned group.  ONLY the owner of the document will have the "turn in" button on the top of the document, So you will have to have the students create a copy of their finalized document and turn that in.

Group Assignment Workaround 1

Group Assignment Workaround 2

Google Classroom Tips

  • You can still use DOCTOPUS to grade assignments with a Rubric! Right from Google Classroom.  Here's a great video explaining that: 
  • If you are using Word Documents or non native Google Documents as assignments with your student, they will not have the "turn In" button.  Upload your non Google Documents to your drive and convert them to Google Docs format- This will allow your students to turn in the assignment.
  • Upcoming Assignments will only show a week in advance assignments.
If you have more tips, please share them!  Google Classroom is evolving's part of living in Beta....

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