Google Classroom Tricks

As we’re wrapping up QuaranTeaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what worked, what didn’t and changes I’ll make next year, if we have to QuaranTeach in the fall. (Please Jesus, no, but just in case…)

And in the process, I have learned a few Google Classroom Tricks that are making this mess a little bit easier!

Plan your assessment with the preview in mind

I made a lot of Loom videos and I got creative creating  Google Docs to demonstrate my students’ comprehension and give them a bit more reading input. For example, after my Little Darlings watched a special edition of Estrella del Día starring Señor Chase, they read his biography, written in comprehensible Spanish with the task of highlighting the true statements in green and highlighting the false statements in red. Their finished product looked like this:

estrella del dia 1

Students submitted their work via Google Classroom, and the best part is, when you look at the Preview, you can see everyone’s work at once! No need to click and open each assignment! Hallelujah! And even better, you can see which kiddos submitted their work, but didn’t actually do the assignment…and the ones who finished their work but didn’t click submit! And it is super easy at a glance to see who needs some help.  This is earth shattering, People!! form 4

In another assignment, my Little Darlings watched me chat about Tacos, then for their task, they had to copy statements from the second page and page them into the first page, describing different kinds of Tacos, in simple Spanish of course! In the preview, you can’t verify their specific answers, but you can see who did it and who didn’t, and since this weirdness has caused me to do a lot of “participation grading”, it sure has made life easier for me! When you’re designing an assignment, be sure to have the student activity on the 1st page…you can’t see subsequent pages on the preview.

form 5

My colleague Amy created a cool assignment where students  read a chapter of a book, then inserted clipart into a slideshow to demonstrate their comprehension….cute and easy to assess from the preview! The possibilities are endless, I tell you!

google classroom 2

Simplifying Google Forms

I used a lot of my Interpretive Quick Quizzes during the School Closure, but I just learned you can send all the responses, from different forms, into one spreadsheet! So….ALL your Spanish 1 quizzes, for example, can all go into one “Spanish 1 Quizzes” Spreadsheet.   I seriously wish I had learned this trick 2 months ago…but I’ll definitely be using it in the fall, whether we do in person instruction or online instruction! 

Here’s how you do it:

Create your Google Form or make a copy and edit one of mine.  Then when you open up your form, click the tiny little “create spreadsheet” icon.

Form 1

For the first quiz, click “Create new spreadsheet” and name it something generic like “Spanish 1 Quizzes” or whatever your heart desires. That’s where all the student responses will go.

Then, on the next quiz, click on “Select existing spreadsheet” and choose your generically named “Spanish 1 Quizzes” or whatever your heart desired.

Form 2

Then, when you open that form, you’ll see all your quiz responses are funneled into one Spreadsheet. At the bottom you’ll find different tabs. Just right click them and rename them to make sense to you, and you can have all your quizzes in one document. Big timesaver when a kiddo tells you he did a late quiz, and you have to figure out which quiz and where to find it!

Form 3

And speaking of those kiddos who do late quizzes…here’s another easy trick:

When I open the Spreadsheet to see their answers, I color everyone’s response blue (but again, follow your heart’s desires), so that any responses that come in late are really obvious because they’re black and at the bottom of the form. I know you can look at the time stamp, but it’s much faster to check for the color. (After you enter their late score, be sure to change their responses to Blue, so you know they’ve been accounted for)

form 6

Late Work Heartache

I was really please with my QuarenTeaching Plan, and giving them various activities every week to demonstrate their understanding and give them more reading input, and it was all fine and good until the end of the semester when the tidal wave of late work arrived. I saw this meme on Facebook and it’s hitting a little too close to home:

Between the textivates and the google docs and the google forms and the Flipgrid videos and the Google Classroom Questions…it has been a nightmare to track down late work. I’m like the teacher in the picture above, but rather than just staring peacefully into the storm, I am running for my life. Melanie Hennings posted a fantastic idea on one of the CI Facebook groups that I am doing next year, whether we are teaching in person or teaching from home:

All late work submitted as screenshots and emailed to teacher.

So whether it’s a Google Form, or a textivate or Edpuzzle score, they need to email me a screenshot. And taking a page from Meredith White’s play book,  I am going to give them them the exact words to say in their email to streamline the process on my end.

Late work_ (1)

And, to make my life even easier, all  assignments in the grade book will be numbered. It will look like this:

    • #1 Soy Yo Textivate
    • #2 Sr. Chase True-False Biography
    • #3 Listening Quiz: La quarentina
    • #4 Reading Quiz: Los perros de la Sra. Chase

The same numbers will be listed in Google Classroom with the posted assignments. I can’t even tell you how many emails I have fielded from students who see a missing assignment in the grade book, but can’t find it in Google Classroom. Again…another thing I wish I had figured out 2 months ago…but I think it will be helpful next year!

Edit: I just learned you can turn on notifications on google forms, so when a new form is submitted, (AKA a little darling turned in her homework late!) you can get an email! This is a game changer, folks!

Hang in there!

Oh guys, this has been so, so, so hard! So hard, in fact, it’s been well over a month since I’ve written here. I apologize…it’s just really hard to find the motivation to sit down and pound out some coherent thoughts on my little blogcito after staring at my computer all day.  I hope that you’re hanging in there and that your QuarenTeaching wraps up soon!

And if you’re so ready for a break, I hear you! Me too….take the summer off to care for you and your loved ones!

But  if your summer plans vanished into thin air and you’re looking for some cheap Professional Development to feed your brain, I’m involved in a few projects and I’d love to invite you along for the fun:

  • The Hawaiian Association of Language Teachers is hosting an online conference June 22-26, featuring Laurie Clarcq, Jason Fritze, Diane Neubauer, Bryce Hedstrom and yours truly! Register here!
  • The Foreign Language Association of North Dakota is also hosting an online conference July 27-August 1 unpacking “The WHY of ADI (Acquisition Driven Instruction)” and I’m excited to share there too! Registration and details to come!
  • And finally…August 1, maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll be giving a 1 day CI workshop in Reno in collaboration with the Professional Language Association of Nevada. The details are shaky since we’re still in lock down here in the Silver State…but hey, here’s to hoping our lives are normalish in August! I promise to share that info when we know…

air hugs


  1. Hi Annemarie, do you have any ideas for having students submit quick comprehension quizzes online after they watch a video of me telling a story in Spanish? My thought was to have them just number 1, 2, 3 in a Google Doc, type their answers, and submit it to me. I am wondering now if that will be a headache to grade (although the answers will be really easy). Any thoughts? Thank you!


  2. A thought on numbering assignments: I have a system I’ve used for years that has been super helpful to keep track of type of task and quarter. Students write the number on their paper and I use it in the title in the grading program.

    HP1.2 Fulanito y el taco—home practice first quarter, 2nd assignment
    LQ2.1 Las Fallas —first Listening Quiz of 2nd quarter

    You get the idea: type of task, quarter, # of task, title. Some other categories:
    RQ reading quiz
    TW timed writing
    SP speaking task


    • Ohhh!! Look at you! Smart!! I need a system to make it easy to communicate with students and parents about our assignments


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