Faster Google Classroom Assignments with a Bookmarklet

Photo by BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash.

If you're a teacher and manage a Google Classroom, you probably have daily or weekly routines for adding assignments. If you frequently assign work to a subset of your students, like "Advanced Readers" or "Group Two", here's a free tool that can streamline your work and avoid repetitive tasks.

I wrote this tool for my wife to use during Distance Learning, and hope it will benefit other teachers too.

Browser Bookmarklets

Most browsers support "bookmarklets" as a lightweight way to script interactions with a webpage. You're probably familiar with "bookmarks" as a means to save a webpage address so you can find it later. Bookmarklets live alongside your bookmarks, but instead of navigating you to a saved address, a bookmarklet can perform actions on the current page.

A bookmarklet is like a simple kind of browser extension.

Automating Assignees

I've created a free bookmarklet to streamline two scenarios:

  • Assigning work to only a specified list of students.
  • Assigning work to all students except a specified list.

For example, assigning an advanced math homework or a differentiated language assignment.

Let's say you have a group of five students – Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma, and Daphne – that you sometimes assign work to. Your current workflow is something like:

  1. Look up which students are in the group.
  2. Open the drop-down list of assignees.
  3. Uncheck "All students".
  4. Check each of the five students.
  5. Close the assignees list.

Use the bookmarklet generator to create a bookmarklet that automates these repetitive clicks. Your new workflow is as simple as:

  1. Click the "Mystery Incorporated" bookmarklet.

If you have multiple groups, you can easily create a bookmarklet for each one.

Troubleshooting

If you see an error message when you run the bookmarklet, follow these steps:

  • Read the error message and look for troubleshooting tips. If you need to edit student names, open the bookmarklet generator and run your bookmarklet.

  • Changes to the Google Classroom interface may inadvertently break the bookmarklet. Open the bookmarklet generator and run your bookmarklet(s) to check for updates.

If all else fails, leave a comment below describing the issue and the error message you receive. I will assist as time allows.

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Drew

Hi! I'm Drew, the Wimpy Programmer. I'm a software developer and formerly a Windows server administrator. I use this blog to share my mistakes and ideas.

Comments on "Faster Google Classroom Assignments with a Bookmarklet"

Avatar for [1.411] The name "Aria" appears more than once...[1.411] The name "Aria" appears more than once...

I came across this error tonight. [1.411] The name "Aria" appears more than once. Enter a more specific name that is unique to one student.

I have a pair of students-Aria and Arianna, whose names are similar but not quite the same. I'm confident this is a fixable error. This is AN AMAZING TOOL. I am awestruck. Thank you so very much.

Avatar for DrewDrew

Thanks for your feedback! Sorry you encountered this error.

Unfortunately this is a case where the partial name matching is behaving like a bug rather than a feature. As a workaround, I suggest modifying your bookmarklet(s) to replace Aria's name with her last name or full name.

The easiest way to edit a bookmarklet (and avoid repeat data entry) is:

  1. Open the bookmarklet generator.
  2. In your browser's bookmarks, run the bookmarklet you want to edit.
  3. Click "OK" when asked to load the bookmarklet's settings.
  4. Edit the settings as needed.
  5. Click "Generate Bookmarklet".
  6. In your browser's bookmarks, right-click on the bookmarklet and delete it. Otherwise you'll have two copies.
  7. Install the newly-generated bookmarklet.

Sorry for the hassle, but this should get you back in business!