Google Classroom: Indicate Templates Attached


Google Classroom is a great way to share resources, assignment directions and Google Docs templates with students. One issue with Google Classroom is that attached templates are visible in the assignment submission side of Classroom, but not on the students visible stream. When creating a description in Google Classroom for an assignment it is recommended that you also describe what resources the students will be accessing through Classroom and also to mention if there is a template provided.

Building Lesson Sets

When building a lesson set in Google Classroom you can attach a variety of file types. When the student views the assignment in their stream they will see the YouTube videos you linked, any URL links you provided and any documents that the students can view or edit.
Google Classroom Lesson Sets


Google Classroom Teacher View of a Lesson Set

Make a Copy for Each Student

When creating a lesson set and a file is set as “Make a copy for each student” this item does NOT show up in the students assignment stream. The assignment is visible but the template is not. Notice in the above screenshot that 4 items were attached in the lesson set. The below screenshot shows the student view where only 3 items are visible.
Google Classroom Tip: Indicate template attached

Open Button

In order to view the template document students must click on “OPEN.” This will show the template document already attached to the assignment ready to submit. Students can click on the file to edit the document.

Students can add additional files to the assignment submission or just submit the defaulted template document that was copied and attached for the student. Students will still need to click the “Turn In” button.

Add Template to Directions

If you are attaching a document as “Make a copy for each student” consider adding to the assignment description in Google Classroom an indicator that the students will need to click on “OPEN” to find the assignment template. Since students may not realize there is an additional file for them to view and edit a friendly heads up can help students understand what to do for their assignment.


Blah Blah assignment directions.
Notice below that there is a YouTube video for you to watch and a link to a website for you to review. You will want to click on the OPEN button to access the attached template for you to complete your assignment.

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Google Classroom: Viewing Rights

Google Classroom

One issue with using Google Docs with students is remembering to set the viewing rights on a document. How many times have you linked students to a file in Google Docs only to hear a sea of voices exclaiming “We do not have permission!”


When you create a Google document the default viewing permissions are private. You have to click on the blue share button to change the sharing permissions. Something that is easily overlooked.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom solves this problem by allowing the teacher to link to Google Docs from their school Google Drive account. The documents can be shared with students as “Students can view file.” This automatically ensures that all Google documents you share with students through Classroom will have viewing permissions.

Additionally you can set the Google documents you share with students to be “Students can edit file” or “Make a copy for each student.”
Google Classroom Document Options

No matter the sharing options you choose in Google Classroom you can be assured that the students will have access to the document so long as they are signed in with their school Google Apps account.

Student Sharing

Any documents or files that students submit through Google Classroom automatically have sharing rights with the instructor. This eliminates the issue of trying to assess student work only to discover that the student forgot to share the document with you.

For more information about Google Classroom see:

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Google Forms: Daily Sign In – Identifying Struggling Students

Each class I ask my students to fill out a Google Form to check into class. I also ask the students to provide a link to their digital portfolio where they post all of their work and I ask them for “Comments/Questions/Concerns/Compliments” so I can respond to them personally. Recently I have added a rating scale of their comfort level in the class. This has really helped me to better target the students Google Forms Comfort Levell

Pivot Table

After the students have signed in I run a pivot table in order to see how the students comfort level is in the class.

Highlight the Columns

To run a pivot table first highlight the columns on the spreadsheet of responses from the Google Form. Note you can not use the awesome box on the corner to select all. You must highlight the columns manually.

Data Menu

After highlighting the columns of data use the Data menu to choose “Pivot table report.” Pivot Table Report Google Sheets


Selecting a pivot table report generates a new tab in your spreadsheet workbook. Initially the sheet is blank. Using the “Report Editor” on the right hand side, add a field to the Columns options.
Pivot table columns

You want to summarize the comfort level data. Choose the question concerning the students comfort level in the class. Add comfort level to pivot table

This displays all of the options students selected along the top of the pivot table. I resize the column widths to be skinnier to make it easier to see all of the data at once.

Count Values

For each comfort level I want to count up how many students selected this option. In the “Report Editor” add a field to “Values.”  (Note that if you can not see the Report Editor, simply click on the pivot table cells to bring the editor back.) When counting it does not matter which field you count, but you do want to make sure there are values to count. In other words that a student did not skip the question. Since Timestamp is automatically generated for each student response I usually use the Timestamp value when I want to count responses. Count Timestamp

Count A

By default the pivot table will want to Sum, or add, the values. Click on the drop down box and choose to summarize by “CountA” instead of “Sum.” CountA

This will give you a count of how the students are feeling about the class. Count of comfort level

Targeting Students

After viewing the overall summary you may want to identify the students who are not feeling comfortable.


In the “Report Editor” click on “Add field” under “Filter.” Choose the question that addresses student comfort level. Click on the drop down option on the filter. Clear the checkboxes that are selecting all of the values and only select the the lower comfort level rankings.
Clear low rankings on the filter

This will show you the summary data for only the values you checked.

Adding Students

To see who specifically was not feeling comfortable with the class you will want to add fields to the “Rows.” Add Rows

Add the field for the students name. Uncheck the “Show totals” checkbox.
uncheck show totals

This will give you a list of the students who selected the lower comfort levels. You can add additional row data to give you more information about the student. Go back to “Add field” for “Rows” and add the students last name. Uncheck the “Show totals” checkbox. Again add another field for student email address. Also uncheck the “Show totals” checkbox. This will allow you to easily contact the students who are in need of help. Add one more field for the “Comments/Questions/Concerns/Compliments” in order to view the comment the student submitted for that class. Unchecking the “Show totals” checkbox will cause the multiple rows for the fields to line up into in a single row.
Multiple rows pivot table google sheets


I now have a list of student names, email addresses and the comments they shared with me in a single list.



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Google Slides: Viewing Speaker Notes in a Presentation

Google Slides Presenter Notes

If you are using Google Slides for your presentations you may be wondering how you can view your speaker notes during the presentation.

S key

Use the keyboard shortcut Control Enter on a PC or Command Enter on a Mac to enter presentation mode. You can also click on the “Present” button in the upper right hand corner of the Google Slides window.

While in presentation mode hit the S key to open up the speaker notes. This opens a small window that the presenter can use while presenting. This shows what was typed into the speaker notes section of Google Slides. It also displays a count up timer.
Google Slides Speaker Notes

The presentation can be controlled from the speaker notes window. The speaker notes window displays a thumbnail of the slide being presented. Below this are 2 smaller thumbnails of the previous slide or animation and the next slide or animation. Use your mouse to click on the “Next” thumbnail to advance the slides for the audience.
Click Next in Google Speaker Notes

Extended Desktop

You will not want to be mirroring your displays if the speaker notes are visible. Use extended desktop settings on your computer so that your presentation is viewable on the projector but the speaker notes are viewable on the computer you are presenting from.

Mobile Device

One of the advantages to using Google Slides is that your slides are available on any device that can access the internet. While you are presenting from your computer you can pull up your slides presentation on your phone or tablet and view the speaker notes there as well.

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4 Tips for Sorting in Google Sheets

As teachers we need to utilize data constantly. Google Forms is an excellent way to collect data from formative assessments. The purpose of formative assessment is to utilize the data to form what your next steps are. To reteach, to examine the quality of your instruction, to differentiate, to identify struggling students, etc…

Sorting the data in your spreadsheet helps you to quickly be responsive to your formative assessments. Try some of these techniques to help you sort in Google Sheets.

Sort Range

If you want to sort your data by class period, then by last name and then by first name that requires doing a multiple column sort.

If you have column headers you may want to freeze the first row. If you are using data from a Google Form the first row is already frozen for you.

To the right of column A and above row 1 is a blank box. I will call this the “awesome box.” Clicking on the awesome box will select all cells in the spreadsheet. RIGHT CLICKING on the awesome box gives you options for the entire sheet.

Choose “Sort range…” from the right click options.
Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 1.39.18 PM


Check the checkbox that says “Data has header row”
Google Sheets Sort Range Header Rows


Choose the initial column you want to sort by. Then click on “Add another sort column.”
Google Sheets sort columns

Repeat until you have selected all of the columns you want to sort by. Click the blue “Sort” button to sort the sheet.

Filter Icon

In the toolbar is an icon that looks like a funnel. Clicking this icon will turn on filter options for the entire sheet. If you want to only filter a particular range, highlight the range first. You may need to click on the “awesome box” or highlight a column before selecting the filter icon.
Google Sheets Filter Icon

In the column headers or in the upper right of your selected range, drop down arrows will appear. This is NOT the same as the drop down arrow on the column indicators. The filter arrows will appear on the actual cells.
Google Sheets Filter Icons

Clicking the drop down arrow shows a list of all of the values in the range of that column. By default all of the options are selected. To view rows that only show certain data values, click on “Clear” to uncheck all of the values.
Filter Options Google Sheets

Click on the data values that you want to filter by. You can select multiple options. You can also use the search box in the filter options to help you locate the desired data more quickly. Click the blue “OK” button.

The rows of data that do not satisfy the filter are hidden. You can go back to the filter drop down arrows to change the filtering options.

Click on the filter icon in the toolbar to toggle off the filters. This will return the spreadsheet back to showing all of the rows of data.
Google Sheets Filter Icon

Sort Sheet

Hover your mouse over the column indicators to reveal a drop down arrow.

Clicking on this drop down arrow gives you a variety of options, one of which is to “Sort sheet A-Z.” This will sort the entire sheet by that particular column.
Sort sheet

If you want to only sort a particular range on the spreadsheet and not the entire sheet, highlight the desired data. Right click and choose “Sort range.”
Sort range... Google Sheets

=SORT ( )

I usually prefer not to mess with my original data. I prefer to manipulate my Google Forms data in a separate tab. You can use the formula =sort( ) to bring data from one area of the spreadsheet to another.


In a blank cell type =sort(

Highlight or type in the range of data that you want to have sorted.

Put a comma after the range.
sort formula

Instead of saying the name of the column, you want to count how may columns you are sorting. If are possibly displaying multiple columns from your data but do not necessarily want to sort by the first column. After the comma put a 1 to sort by the first column, a 2 to sort by the 2nd column, a 3 to sort by the 3rd column, etc…

You will need another comma and to indicate “true” or “false” after the comma. True will sort the range by the indicated column from A-Z. False will sort Z-A.

If you have column headers do not include these in the sorting range. Your column headers will become sorted into the data.

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10 Ways to Use Google Classroom for Higher Ed

These are the slides I presented at Educause 2014 for using Google Classroom with Higher Ed. The first slides are a demonstration of what Google Classroom looks like, followed by the top 10 list. Additional descriptions are in the slide notes:

10 Ways to Use Google Classroom in Higher Ed

  1. Distribute Documents
  2. Shift to Utilizing Google Docs and Collaboration
  3. Share Lecture Notes and Presentation Slides
  4. Collect Data from Students
  5. No Downloading of Assignments
  6. Work with Graduate Students
  7. Create Research Groups
  8. Create Lesson Groups with Assignments
  9. Group Critique
  10. In Class Activities

What is Google Classroom?

Google Classroom is a new product that allows for a teacher to create a virtual classroom space. This is not a replacement for an LMS. While there are some features that may seem similar to what an LMS such as Blackboard can do, it does not contain the features you would expect in an LMS. Google Classroom works nicely with your existing LMS. If your university has enabled Google Classroom you can find it at

What Google Classroom does is Google Drive management. If your school has Google Apps for Education (your students have a university version of Gmail), then your students have access to Google Drive. Google Classroom makes it easier to distribute Google Docs and resources and also easier to collect documents and resources from students.

Google Classroom is not restricted to students enrolled in your class, this means you can also utilize the features to work with colleagues for non classroom activities.

Additional Blog Posts

Earlier I posted a blog post on 20 things you can do with Google Classroom and a follow up post with 15 more things you can do with Google Classroom. These 35 things are specific to teaching in a classroom and would also be applicable for the Higher Ed classroom.

Guest blogger Mary Bennett works with professors at California State University Fresno and helps them to integrate Google Classroom with Blackboard. Here is her post on 10 reasons to introduce Blackboard to Google Classroom.

Here are some blog posts and videos on getting started with Google Classroom.

Additional blog posts on Google Classroom can be found at

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Connect Your School Library to Google Scholar

find it at boise state


If your students are trying to do research to find scholarly articles Google Scholar can be very helpful. While some of the articles are freely available in HTML or PDF format, many are journal articles that the general public does not have access to.

If your school library has subscriptions to the journal it is possible to access the journal article from Google Scholar. If your library is not connected to Google Scholar, talk with the school librarian to get it set up. If you are a student at a university, most likely your library is connected to Google Scholar. K12 libraries are also able to link to Google Scholar.

Log In

You do not have to be logged in with your school email address, but you do need to be logged into your Google account. For example, I primarily utilize my personal Gmail over my university Google Apps account.


At the top of Google Scholar is a link to “More” options. Click on this and choose “Settings.”

Library Links

Click on the “Library Links” tab in the settings. By default Google Scholar searches “Open WorldCat.”
Library Links Google Scholar

Locate Your School

In the search box type in the name of your school. Select the checkbox and click on the blue save button.
Google Scholar search university library links
High School Google Scholar linking

Find It At…

After linking your library to Google Scholar you will notice on the right hand side the option to locate some articles through your school library. You will still have to sign into your school library account in order to access the articles. If you are unsure of how to sign into your school library please contact your librarian.
find it google scholar

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Google Sheets: Toggle Text Wrapping

Google sheets toggle text wrap

Unlike the old Google Sheets, the new Google Sheets does not text wrap by default. When students submit paragraph text to a Google Form, or if your spreadsheet data is long strings of text, you may want to toggle the text wrapping on and off. Toggling the text wrap allows you to view a single students full answer.

Control Option O and then W

control option o w

The keyboard shortcut for text wrapping on a Mac is to hold down the Control, Option and O key. This opens the format menu. After releasing the initial 3 keys, press the W key to choose Wrap.

It will take a little practice to get the workflow down. Click on the first cell that needs text wrapping. Hold down Control and Option and O, release and hit the W key. Read the students work and then repeat the keyboard shortcut to turn off the text wrapping. Use the down arrow to go to the next student. Repeat the text wrap keystrokes.

You can also highlight a range of cells and use the keyboard shortcut to toggle the text wrapping.


If you want to use the toolbar icon for text wrapping, it looks like 4 horizontal lines with an arrow pointing to the 4th line.
Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 12.40.47 PM

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Research Tip: Start with an Image Search

Image Search

When trying to find information on a new topic one is likely to use a search engine such as Google or Bing. The results will be a text based list of websites that probably talk about that topic. Given that you do not know anything about the topic, how do you choose which websites to look at?

Image Search

Instead of having your students searching websites, you may want to have them start with an image search. The visuals can give students an instant idea of what the topic is about. This can also guide them to keywords that they can use to aide their search for information. Students can link from the images to the websites they are from to obtain more information on the topic.


Almost all of the images in a general image search will be under copyright. Whether or not the image is expressly labeled as being under copyright, it is assumed that it is. If an image is under a Creative Commons license there should be a clear label that it is.


Even if a student cites where the image was obtained, if a picture is under copyright it can not be used without permission. There are many images available on the internet with a Creative Commons or Public Domain license. If students are going to use the images in their projects and presentations they will want to check the licensing and always provide credit.


To perform an image search on Google go to Alternatively, you can perform a regular web search and choose “Images” from the options along the top of the search results.
google image search

To perform an image search on Bing go to and choose the “Images” option above the search box.
Bing Image Search

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KeyTips: Hold Down SHIFT When Pressing Enter (Return)

Shift Enter

This keytip can be very useful in several contexts. Try holding down shift when you press the enter key (return key on the Mac) to see what happens.

Space after the Paragraph

Here in WordPress if I press the enter key there is space after the paragraph.

Notice the gap between the sentence above and this sentence.

If you want the next line to be right underneath the current line you will want to

This trick works in WordPress, Moodle and many other Web 2.0 products.

Bullet Points

When making a bullet point list you sometimes want to include a picture or additional information within the same bullet. Holding down the shift key will take you to the next line but NOT create an another bullet.

  • This is my first bullet item.
  • I pressed enter and started my second bullet item.
  • This is my third bullet item.
    I held down shift to add this sentence.
    I held down shift again to add this to the 3rd item also.
  • This time I did not hold down shift. Notice the 4th bullet point.
  • If I want to add a picture my trick is to use shift enter to ensure the picture is below the text.
    shift return
  • Place the cursor to the right of the image and press enter to obtain another bullet point.
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