Add live links to Google Classroom private comments

A quick tip for you this week! Do you use the private comments feature in Google Classroom? If not, you SHOULD! By their very nature, private comments allow for a conversation between you and the students, providing for awesome feedback opportunities! Private comments can also be used to share links to enrichment material, videos to […]

Add a “Parent Corner” to Google Classroom Assignments

Today’s tip comes from the amazing Alice Keeler… and as a parent, I think it’s a fabulous idea. Alice’s idea takes advantage of Google Classroom’s Guardian Summary emails that are auto-generated and emailed to parents. Guardian summaries are a great way to share what’s going on in your classroom without giving parents direct access into your […]

To-do is back in Google Classroom!

Guess what’s back? Back again. To-do’s back. Tell a friend. (with apologies to Eminem) One not-so-good thing about the new Google Classroom is that you can’t see if students have submitted work unless you click on the assignment on the Classwork page. One of the most requested features was that the To-Do list be brought […]

Google Classroom is getting even better!

Late this summer, Google Classroom entered a public beta phase with a bunch of new changes. Last week, these changes went live to everyone. There are some major workflow changes that will occur as part of the new Google Classroom. This tech tip (which is longer than many of the others we will do) will […]

Summer PD Roundup

Summer is almost here! It’s a great time to relax, recharge and yes, even level up your technology proficiency. While Tech Tips Tuesday is going on our annual break, we wanted to leave you with some summer professional development opportunities. Remember, all Northern Buckeye/NWOCA trainings are included with membership at no additional cost. You also have access …

Comments… comments everywhere!


One of the things we might lose when moving to digital tools is communicating with our students. Just like we can leave notes on physical assignments, we can also do this with our digital assignments in Google Classroom.

There are three basic kinds of comments you can leave students in Classroom.

Class Comments: These are comments that you add to your class stream on the “outside” of an assignment or announcement. This type of comment is visible to the entire class, and can be used to answer questions that anyone might have.

Example of Class Comment


Private comments: You can add these comments by viewing assignment results and clicking on an individual student. On the right, below the student submission there is a  comment bar. Leave comments here that only the student can see. This is useful if it has sensitive grade or feedback information. You can also add a private comment to a number of students at once when returning an assignment. Check out our previous tech tip on managing private comments.

Example of a Private Comment


Example of a comment in a doc

Comments in a Doc/Slide/Sheet/Drawing: These comments are left on the student’s file that he/she submitted to you. Highlight something you’d like to comment on, then click the black speech bubble icon. This adds a comment on specific items in student work.


Knowing how each of these comments works and when to use each kind will make giving student feedback more efficient and effective.

Power up Google Classroom with Private Comments


One of the most powerful elements of Google Classroom is the private comments feature, which works with assignments only.

Comments become conversations with students, allowing for more back and forth discussion than can happen with verbal feedback. Every student can have a voice and communicate their ideas or struggles with a task.

To use private comments, open an assignment in Classroom, and there you will find a space for private comments. Any comments left here will be seen only by you and the individual student.


One of the challenges to using private comments is knowing who the comments belong to. Here’s a workaround from Alice Keeler:

  • Students start all comments to you with your last name
  • You start all comments to students with your initials



This helps in filtering those comments in Gmail, or searching. It also lets you quickly see who responded last in the roster:


You can also use links in private comments to give students more information, share links to other assignments, etc. The trick here is to be sure and use the full URL, including the http:// or https:// part.


Using private comments allows us to have a true student-centered classroom, with an awesome method to hear from students!

Useful Google Classroom updates to start the school year!


Did you know that since Google Classroom launched three years ago, students have submitted more than 1 billion assignments? As the school year is quickly approaching, Google has announced 10 updates to Classroom and Forms designed to make teachers’ lives easier this school year.

Here are six of the updates that make us here at NWOCA most excited.

1. Single view of student work: To help teachers track individual student progress, Classroom now has a dedicated page for each student that shows all of their work in a class. More on this feature.

2. Reorder classes: Teachers (and students) can now order their classes to organize them however they want. Learn More.

3. Decimal grading: As teachers know, grading is often more complicated than a simple point value. So, educators can now use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.

4. Transfer class ownership: Things can change a lot over the summer, including who’s teaching which class. Now, admins and teachers can transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes to other teachers, without the need to recreate the class. More details.

5. New Classroom integrations: Apps that integrate with Classroom allow teachers to to easily share information between Classroom and other tools they love. Now Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and (coming soon) will officially integrate. More info.

6. Display class code: Joining Google Classroom classes is easier than ever thanks to this new update. Teachers can now display their class code in full screen so students can quickly join new classes.
Learn more about all 10 new features on Google’s blog.Hopefully, these Google Classroom and Forms updates help you teach more efficiently and effectively this school year!

Welcome Back!


Google Classroom logoIt’s hard to believe that today is August 1st already! In just a few short weeks, your students will be returning to the classroom. Today’s Tuesday Tech Tips email has to do with Google Classroom. Whether you’re a seasoned user or a teacher who is planning to use Google Classroom for the first time, we’ve got you covered.

For those new to Google Classroom, be sure and visit our NWOCA Training website. There, you will find lots of information – two pieces stand out for new Google Classroom users. First, you can watch this archived webinar (and accompanying presentation) that will provide an overview of the Google Classroom product. Then, use this handy checklist to build your skills. Each item on the checklist is linked to a very short tutorial video. The best advice we can give is just to dive right in!

For those more experienced with Google Classroom, use the checklist to see what skills you can improve on. Have you cleaned up your Classroom to get it ready for this coming school year? Want to go even further this year? Here are six tips to help you “level up” with Classroom. Check out the Classroom section on the Google Training Center for more advanced help. Finally, consider attending our #NWOCARoadShow17 in Bryan on August 9th. There will be multiple Google Classroom sessions to help you increase your knowledge of this awesome product.

If you get stuck or need help, feel free to schedule a virtual tech coaching session with us.