Technology Pursuit

Blending Technology Into the Language Arts Classroom

My Favorite Google Hack: Make a Copy for Students

Let me show you my FAVORITE Google Classroom Hack: Make a template and make a copy for students. It’s great for multiple reasons:

  1. Easy feedback. Check into student work without waiting for them to share a document with you.
  2. Provide links to resources. Especially when it comes to longer writing assignments, I love being able to add links to resources on the first page of the assignment. They are easily accessible to every student because they’re literally ON the assignment.
  3. Provide easy access to models. You can provide a model of what you expect on the assignment, so students can easily refer to it. Longer models, such as past research papers or blog posts, can be easily linked instead.

No more asking students to share documents. No more excuses that their document is on their home computer. No more complaints that Google “lost” their document. It’s all right there in your Google Drive and easy to find.

Let’s Do This

First, start a Google doc that will be the template.

  • I start with a code for a heading. This is the first assignment of our multi-genre writing unit, so the code is MG 001, followed by a more descriptive title. Later, this makes it easier to refer to when talking to students or locating in Google Classroom.
  • Using a 1×1 table (Insert>Table), I add the objectives of the assignments.
  • Then I write all the details I want my students to have. I also include links to resources, models, or previous work that they may want to refer to when working on the assignment (such as a brainstorming document completed the day before).
  • Add in examples or models of what you expect from students.
  • Don’t forget your deadline!
  • Last, I add a line telling students to “write below.” This seems obvious, but it’s not there, several students will ask if they should do their assignment on that┬ádocument or on a new document. This small detail saved me from saying 10 times a day that they can write on that same document.

Then comes the Google Classroom magic.

  • Click on the Classwork tab, and this screen will appear
  • Click on “Add” and locate your template.
  • Now click on “Students can view file.” This will bring up a dropdown menu, where you can then click “Make a copy for each student.”
  • Finally, complete your title (in this case, I would put MG 001: Annotated Bibliography), any instructions (I usually leave this blank since the directions are already in the document) and add a due date.


That’s it. Hope this works for you! For me, it was a hack that forever changed the way I assigned work on Google docs and slides!




  1. tristan nelson jordan

    December 2, 2020 at 6:12 pm


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