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Going Deeper with Google Classroom - Part 2 of 2

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Here are five more strategies for going beyond substitution with Google Classroom. There are five more in Going Deeper with Google Classroom - Part 1 of 2.

Google Forms for Do Nows and Assessment

Teachers should do this to get an immediate, clear picture of what students know. Teachers can use Forms in Classroom by simply clicking, no copying and pasting needed. Students should always quickly receive their results with complete answer keys for full transparency via e-mail or Google Drive.  Google Forms can even be used to redirect students answering incorrectly to remediation videos or images. Thank you, Chris Aviles, for this idea! 


A hyperdoc is simply a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slides with links to different components of a lesson. Set the hyperdoc to “students can view file” in an assignment. Have them mark the assignment as done when it is complete. The links can send different students or groups on different paths. They can direct students to remediation or enrichment. They can link to Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, or Forms. They can link to videos. The possibilities are only limited by teacher creativity. A hyperdoc can be used for a single lesson or a whole unit. Here is an example:


Make a copy of this hyperdoc for yourself. 

Choosing a Theme Image

Teachers should find and use course-specific images.

Step 1:



Step 2: Upload an image with landscape orientation. The Wikimedia Commons is a great place to find them. 


This photo tells students this class is about the Civil Rights Movement. Most classes in middle and high school are broader than that. 

The good news is there is a strategy that takes advantage of the “upload a theme photo” capability and makes it easier for students to review old course material.

Make a New Google Classroom for Each Class Unit

One drawback of Google Classroom is the Twitter or Facebook-like feed in which old content gets buried. Imagine scrolling to find September course content for a June final! Instead, why not make a new Google Classroom for each unit? Thank you, Todd Nasife  for this idea! The name of each classroom and the theme image cues students about what they find in each unit. Here’s a mockup for a modern era World History class:


A Strategy for Differentiation

Google Classroom’s “Make a Copy for Each Student” option is great for teachers. It does not lend itself to differentiation. Here is a strategy that allows students to submit different templates shared with them by their teacher. This allows for differentiation within a single assignment:

Thank you for reading these suggestions. I hope they help you go further with Google Classroom. Please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom if you would like to discuss these suggestions or any of those in part one of this post.

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Tom Mullaney is a Google for Education Certified Innovator who serves as the Digital Learning Coach at Gravelly Hill Middle School in North Carolina. In 12 years of teaching in New York and Pennsylvania, Tom has taught secondary Social Studies and Special Education. He shares innovative practices with the educational technology community on his Sustainable Teaching blog, and you can follow him on Twitter, @edtechtom.

  • Guest
    Mark Matchen Monday, 30 May 2016

    Hi Tom,

    I appreciate your ideas. I have a concern about using a classroom for each unit, and I'd love to hear your thoughts, and others'.

    One use for GC is to post announcements. These can be pinned to the top. (This is functionality that could stand some improvement.) If you use multiple classrooms for the same course, you lose those posts. Similarly, if you have a conversation going on in one, it's lost when you switch to another. It would be nice if there could be a hierarchical system, but that's like asking Google to permit better sectioning in a single classroom. I certainly hope they do that.

    Anyway, thoughts?

  • Tom Mullaney @edtechtom
    Tom Mullaney @edtechtom Monday, 30 May 2016

    Mark, I disagree when you write, "you lose those posts." That's the beauty of Google Classroom, nothing is ever truly "lost." You can always instruct students to open a previous unit. Additionally, the About tab is a great place to put anything you want students to access regularly.

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Guest Sunday, 23 October 2016