See Student Work/Progress Throughout the Assignment

This was a little trick I learned completely by accident, and it may be the best part of Google Classroom. Even though the thumbnail view is presently unavailable, you still will not ever have a student who does not get some marks for their work.

My teaching assignment meant that each September I had approximately 220 new grade seven students in my physical classroom.  My first assignment for them was a word-processed assignment through which I could get to know the kids, and gauge their technical skills for word processing and navigating our online system. Unfailingly, every fall, around the end of October, I’d be running around my school trying to find about 40 students who had not “submitted” the assignment to me (or “shared” to me back when I just used Google Drive and didn’t have the Google Classroom “hub” through which to organize myself). It was a NIGHTMARE of “Oh, yeah, it’s done, I’ll get it to you tomorrow” and “I forgot” and on and on.

What I discovered was that if I provided the students a blank Google Doc. Yes, totally blank with just the title “About Me” at the top and I asked Google Classroom to “make a copy for each student”, I had THUMBNAILS!! At a glance, I could see the progress of every student in my class!! I knew which students I should be checking in with just by glancing at my screen!!! It made my teaching life so much easier – and then it made my parent-teacher interviews seamless. I’m not even joking.

Not only could I see all their work as it progressed, I could comment on it. So, the rough draft to final draft process was streamlined as well.

Finally, I could grade EVERYTHING. Even if a student had not clicked submit (“I was planning on doing it at home, but I forgot…”) I could grade their work. We all know that some marks are better than none. Google Classroom made sure everyone got some marks. Even the most disorganized of students got some marks because of this trick!