So everyone who is a newbie to Google Classroom has has this happen to them at one point or another. . . . .they are excited to use Classroom, they get everything set up, all the directions attached, and they are ready to go.
Then as soon as the students pull up the directions to an assignment, all of a sudden everyone is distracted. Students are commenting on your assignment in your classroom and starting a conversation about who is better Batman or Superman. Or students start giggle to each other because they all started a chat on your instructions you attached to the assignment and are carrying on their "debate" there.
How do you stop this? Well, from Google's end, you can't.; However, there are a few things you can do on your end to make sure this doesn't happen.
First and foremost, unless you are wanting students to be able to legitimately comments and post on your Classroom's steam, make sure you change your setting so "Only teacher can post or comment." How do you do this?
As you can see in the picture, I have circled where you can change the setting from the default "Students can post and comment" to "Only teacher can post or comment." Make sure to change this BEFORE you have students add into your Classroom or they will figure things out quickly and clog up your stream.
Another handy trick to getting students to not chat while viewing your instructions is to do one of two things. . . .
Option one: When you hand out your instructions click "Create a copy for each student" instead of "Student can view file." This way, each student ends up on their own copy when they open the assignment instead of all of them being on one document. They cannot start any kind of chat. However, they CAN edit the document you handed out to them. Perhaps think of this. . . . .have them start their assignment directly after your instructions on the same document. This way, they don't have to toggle back and forth between windows for the instructions. It is all right there on one document for them.
Option two: Hand out your instructions as .pdf files. This way, they will truly only be able to view the file.
Remember, you can always send feedback on Google Classroom through clicking the "?" in the lower left hand corner of Google Classroom. Let them know you don't want students to be able to chat on Docs you hand out as viewable only! Google does listen to their teachers.
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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