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2018

As a teacher at a one-to-one school who uses G Suite and Canvas as an Learning Management System (LMS), few things are more annoying than the "You must request permission" screen.

This happens a lot for my teachers and I. You give an assignment description on Canvas, the student creates their work in a Google Doc or Slides presentation, they turn it in on Canvas, but they only share the local version from their computer, which is really just a fancy link.

Or, the student just gives you a share link, so you can see it, but only by loading the link in a new tab and not in the Spred Grader window. Annoying!

Google Classroom gets around this issue by creating a new folder for the assignment and putting all the created Docs there. It's great because you can see the work in progress, letter-by-letter as the student works. This isn't perfect either though, because Google Classroom is very limited in functionality compared to a full-featured LMS.

Often over the last few years I have said that eventually Google will spin-off that shared folder ability from Classroom so that you can use it elsewhere. Then, a few weeks ago, I got impatient and decided to stop waiting for Google and just make it myself.

And, Class Folder Creator was created as a Google Sheets Add-On. Now, simply by creating a by period list of student names and email addresses, you can create a folder for each of your students that they will create all their work in, and you will have access to all of it.

Here's how it works

  1. Click here to install Class Folder Creator (free).
  2. Click Setup Sheet from the Class Folder Creator Menu.
  3. Put your class name and largest class size.
  4. Input the list of student names and email addresses into the associated columns.
  5. Click "Create Folders" in the Class Folder Creator Menu .
  6. Magic!

Now, each of your students had a folder shared with them on Google Drive with Their Name - Class Name - Period #. You will have a folder for each period, and within that, each of that period's student folders.

When Johnny raises his hand in class and says they need help, you can go straight to his folder and pull up the document he is working on to start providing feedback and support.

When Johnny finishes his work, you will have access to it no matter which way he turns it in.

This was a labor of love, and like all Google Add-Ons is completely free. It is my first Google Add-On, so if you have any thoughts for improvement or comments, let me know!

You can find more details about the add-on at the add-on site.

Most Canvas users are teachers or instructional leaders that share all information to their students.  Those positions in which are not in a traditional classroom can utilize the same tools Canvas has to offer by providing a one stop shop for their employees or the community group in which they wish to communicate with.  The opportunities from Canvas are endless and a great way to collaborate within the department or school.  While sharing information in one central location is important, non-instructional positions can use Canvas can also request materials and documentation within the Canvas page as well.  My goal is to communicate to my department by using Canvas and making it a remarkable way to share all the resources.  

I wish my teacher knew more about the students in my class.  

 

In the 7th grade, I knew a student named Phoenix. Even though I hadn’t spoken to him much it was pretty clear to me that he was an at-risk student. Although he would pay attention in class, work his hardest and be punctual he would rarely get above 50%. In the 2 years I knew him, his average didn’t increase and his progress was stagnant.

 

It was clear Phoenix needed help, and it was clearer that help wouldn’t arrive. Why? With a staff-student ratio of 1:30 and 10 grades each teacher we had taught 300 students. No matter how hard they tried, there clearly wasn’t enough time for every teacher to spend where it was required.

 

From what I observed, the students that got most of the instructor’s time were those who explicitly asked for it. Those who explicitly asked for it where those who were confident in themselves or their work and were doing so to attain marginal improvement. Those who weren’t good did not explicitly ask for time, and like Phoenix didn’t largely receive any.

 

Last week before the final exam, Phoenix sat next to me. And we both learned something.

 

I observed Phoenix through all of the lectures, and his face instantly gave away signs of where he was confused (the difference between diffusion/osmosis). I also observed him do his classwork, and sure enough he was stuck at the question assessing diffusion and osmosis (hint: osmosis involves a membrane). After the class, I casually asked him about the particular question and explained the answer. He did substantially well on the test that week.

 

I wish my teachers knew the students in their class, as equally as in a one-to-one setting. Everyone cannot afford personal tutors, and with so much technology at our disposal it is sad we haven't solved this problem yet. 

 

Phoenix, unlike his name, didn't rise from the ashes. He flunked, dropped out, and subsequently disappeared. 

 

I wish my teacher knew more about the students in my class. I wish my teacher knew what confused Phoenix. 

 

 

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