Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

Marking Using Docs…A Newbie Wades In…



I am trying to expand choice in homework. At times this is in what you do to show/demonstrate your learning. The other way is in ‘how’ you choose to complete the work. This semester I am experimenting with my Japanese 12 students. I should point out that my district requires parent permission for the required use of any cloud-based tool  such as Google Docs due to privacy concerns. Therefore I do not require my students to submit or use Docs in class.   So,  when I give them choice in how they complete they have the option to submit as

  • a handwritten piece – like traditional homework
  • a piece typed on their phones and emailed to me (I paste into Docs when I receive)
  • a piece typed in Word and emailed to me
  • a piece typed in Google docs (student’s choice to use)

As more students elect to send a document to me I’ve taken some time to think about how I will handle marking them on-line in Google docs.  At this point I am not using my graphics tablet to circle/handwrite comments so I have concentrated on the setup needed to respond online. I took time to look around to other members of my PLN to see how they might handle it and many of their ideas are reflected in my initial set-up for online marking.

Teacher Gmail Account: I have my own personal Gmail Account but as I will be opening and editing student work I did not want to use that for marking. So I created a “teacher” account for me. I choose a name that included my title and school “pinetreeleesensei” so that students could quickly realize who the email is from.

Importing into Docs to edit – Not Drive!: Oh the confusion. When I was in Google Docs I would upload a word document a student had submitted and then try to edit. But I couldn’t find any of my editing tools that I wanted and didn’t understand why. It turned out that I was in Google Drive and not Google Docs. So…I selected File-Open With Google Docs. As it does this it even says “Opening in Google Docs for editing” on the bottom right of the screen. If your uploaded document doesn’t allow any editing – you’re probably in Drive not Docs!

Colour Use/Key: I have used the ‘colour’ option to highlight common problems – Because I am just starting out I wanted to keep the editing simple. So for me that is colours that highlight common errors. Yellow for a grammar error, Red for vocabulary issue and Green for incomplete sentences.  I can see that this may get a bit out of hand and unwieldy so I will have to keep the categories to a minimum and what is covered by them pretty loose in definition. It also means a seperate document (perhaps) to explain what they are for.

Comments in the “Header” Section: After much searching around at how to comment, and what to use, I settled on the ‘header’ section. It allows me to put in comments that students can see right at the top of their document.

Did a Student send a JPeg?: I have some students with tablets who choose to handwrite their homework but then submit electronically. It is easy to  copy/paste into a word processing document in Google Docs. When this happens then I just type below the picture. In the future I can see me using my iPad to circle/comment using a annotating app like Notability before I send it back.

There are more things to consider as you move to marking on line. Laura Sexton (@sraspanglish) has gone even further – with a Google Form to use for feedback for all submissions. I’m following her lead to develop my own one but in the meantime – check out her post on this! A great way to provide more feedback.

Looking forward to more choice ….



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