Wednesday, March 25, 2020

An Option for Making Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments

Yesterday afternoon a friend texted me to ask if there was a way to check to see if students have looked at announcements or assignments in Google Classroom. Unfortunately, there isn't a "read receipt" type of feature built into Google Classroom. That doesn't mean all hope is lost for determining whether or not students recognize that they have assignments or announcements to read in Google Classroom. Here's what I've been doing and recommending to friends and colleagues who ask.

To make sure that my students are acknowledging that they have new assignments and announcements in Google Classroom I've been sending out group emails that simply say, "You have a new assignment, please check Google Classroom. Please let me know that you've read this email." But I don't leave it at that. Before I send out the email I make sure that I've enabled "request read receipt" in the message settings. The screenshot below shows you where that option is found. By having read receipt enabled I can see if a student has opened the email even if he or she doesn't actually reply to me.

If you don't see the Read Receipt option in your G Suite for Education account, ask your domain administrator if he or she can turn it on. Domain administrators can turn it on for all users or for individual users.

On a related note, my video on how to create contact groups in Gmail is embedded below.

Two Ways to Find Free Ebooks to Download

Every day I'm hearing from teachers who can't get back into their classrooms because their school buildings are completely closed. My own school building has very limited access and only by administrative approval right now. These kind of closures have left some teachers searching for online alternatives to the books, particularly free reading time books, that are in their inaccessible classrooms. If that describes your situation, here are a couple of good places to search for free ebooks that you and your students can download.

Google Books
Google Books can be a great place to search for free ebooks. One of the features that I like best about Google Books is the option to search within a book for keywords and passages before you download it. In addition to downloading ebooks you can embed free ebooks from Google Books into blog posts and webpages.

The Internet Archive
Before you jump to the Internet Archive I have to give my usual disclaimer about it. There is a ton of educational materials available through the Internet Archive. However, there is also material that you probably wouldn't want younger students to stumble upon. Therefore, I always recommend searching the Internet Archive yourself and then just selecting and downloading materials to share without sending your students to the site directly.

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