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Fantastic Feedback in Google Classroom

ICE Conference

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on the topic of Orange Slice Teacher Rubric at the Indiana Connected Educators conference. It was a quick, 30-minute session but it is sometimes refreshing to present just on one focused tool and the implications for the classroom instead of multiple directions. I'm personally connected to the Orange Slice Teacher Rubric Google Docs add-on as the creator is not only a colleague of mine but is a friend. Matt Buchanan is a blessing to our school district as he has transitioned from the physics classroom to our data analyst. His experience as a mechanical engineer and as a classroom teacher gives him a unique perspective as he pursues solutions for our staff. 
Why did Matt ultimately create Orange Slice? He wanted to create an easy, effective means for feedback within a Google Doc. It is proven that readily given feedback is a powerful means to help students learn. Orange Slice is not just a rubric builder, it allows the user to give continual feedback throughout a project's lifespan. Yes, it is a Google Docs rubric, but that does not mean that what is being assessed must be in a Google Docs format. You could easily implement Orange Slice for oral presentations, video projects, portfolios, etc.

While preparing for the ICE conference, it got me thinking quite a bit about the many facets of Google Classroom and ways that teachers can effectively give feedback to students. Orange Slice is by no means exclusive to Google Classroom as teachers using any LMS (learning management system) could use it. Even teachers that are not using an LMS could setup a document so that students have access to make a copy and the students in turn could share their copy with the teacher. So if you are a teacher that is not utilizing Google Classroom, feel free to jump straight to the Orange Slice Teacher Rubric heading in this post. 

Google Classroom Feedback

Since we know that feedback is essential in the learning experience for students, I want to look at some different options that teachers have in giving feedback for students within the Google Classroom ecosystem. Let's start with Google Classroom.

Google Classroom Grade Tool

Within the Google Classroom grading tool, teachers can give comments directly into the documents, push comments to the posted assignment in Google Classroom, or even build a comment bank that will allow you to quickly access frequently used comments. Here are a few tips:

  • Want to put a comment quickly into the document? Highlight some text and try pressing ctrl+alt+m simultaneously. 
  • Number your comments in the comment bank. If you press the # and type the number associated with your comment, it will be in isolation waiting for you to use it. 
  • Carry general conversations in the Google Classroom comment space instead of using document comments.
Check out the video to see these tips in action:

Orange Slice Teacher Rubric

I started out this post talking about my Orange Slice presentation at the ICE conference. I want to bring it back to the forefront as there is a great workflow to follow in order to successfully implement Orange Slice as a means for feedback and assessment. Here are some key tips for Orange Slice Teacher Rubric:

  • Create a rubric using Orange Slice and any other indicators you would like to use before pushing the assignment out to students. 
  • While building your Orange Slice rubric, feel free to add more rows for rubric categories by right-clicking in the table. 
  • Feel free to pull other rubrics from other sources and replace the text within the table cells in the document. Orange Slice can be completely customized. 
  • If you customize your rubric, do not touch the words "Rubric Categories" in the main set of cells. Orange Slice needs this cell to stay consistent to properly operate. 
  • Completely create your rubric and grade it until after you click the finished button. Once you reach "finished," you are ready to distribute the rubric to students. 
  • If the rubric is for a written report, students can type above or below the rubric so that you can assess their work all in one document. 
To see these tips in action, please watch my video: 

Screencastify Classroom Feedback

For those of you that are not familiar, Screencastify is a "freemium" screen recorder. For free, you can record 50, 10-minute videos per month. It also features screen drawing tools so that you can draw and point out specific details. This is perfect if you have a touchscreen Chromebook or PC. What makes Screencastify the best option for a teacher is the workflow after you have recorded a video. After you create your video, you can quickly copy the link directly to the video and paste it into the document, comments, or Google Classroom comments. There is no need to dig it up in your Google Drive and set the permissions separately. The workflow is so smooth for those situations where verbal feedback is necessary, but you lack the opportunity to meet with the student in a face-to-face setting. Here are some quick tips to get you rolling:
  • Make sure you have Screencastify setup with your Google Drive account. It will automatically create a folder in Google Drive with its name. 
  • Do a quick test run with the extension to record your desktop. That way you know everything is working properly before you go through a student's work and the audio doesn't work. 
  • Try using Ctr+Alt+R to launch a quick recording. It will pop up with the option to choose what screen you want to record instead of going up to the top and clicking on the extension. You can use this keyboard combo to stop your recording as well. 
  • Ctrl+Alt+P will actually pause your recording in case you have dogs barking, kids yelling, or you require a sneeze break. You can press this keyboard combo to continue recording. 
  • After you stop your recording, a tab will open with your recording playing. Press the "copy link" button to the right of your video because it will automatically set the permissions to your video so that your students can view it. It will also copy the link so you can go straightaway to the assignment and paste in the link wherever you like. 
  • Close the tab to your recording so that you do not get bombarded with tons of tabs at the top of the screen. All videos are stored in Google Drive if you need to retrieve the link again. 
See my video on some of these tips and how to integrate Screencastify fluidly with Google Classroom:

Feedback matters

Students need effective feedback to learn and grow through the process of a project. If you question whether or not students will use your feedback, take advantage of the "process growth" feature or create a few videos in the midst of a project. Make it part of the student's grade that they utilized your feedback to make improvements to their work. If you wait till the end of the project, students are less likely to take your feedback seriously as all they want at that point is to know their grade. So jump in and try any of these means for feedback and assessment. Feel free to give me feedback as well as to what you found to be effective in the implementation of these tips. 


  1. Hi Lance! My district (Weymouth, MA) has been happily using Orange Slice for a few years! We have some additional questions. Would it be possible for you or Matt to email me Thanks!


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