Stage C
Individualize Instruction with Google Classroom

In our READ 180 classrooms, it is important that we differentiate and individualize instruction for our students.  One way to do this is to use Google Classroom's new feature by assigning specific students to an assignment.

Only the students selected will see their assignments. This is great if assigning students' work in different skills, or on different levels. Google Classroom's new feature is also invaluable when students are writing essays or completing a research project where they must complete each step in the process before moving to the next.  It also helps to prevent students from skipping ahead when they are not ready.


This marking period, my students are completing a multi-paragraph literary analysis. I often have students who either take forever to complete their essay or rush through it without giving themselves time to write their best and completely blow off revision and editing. 

We began with students planning and writing their rough drafts. When a student finishes his or her rough draft is where Google Classroom's new feature shines. 

Once students have their rough draft written, I make sure they understand that their grade is based on how well they revise and edit their rough draft. I compare the typed rough draft (STEP 2) to their final draft (STEP 5). Many students do not take revision and editing seriously, and I find this method of grading essays rewards those who take their time to do the essay right and it (eventually) convinces the nonbelievers.

STEP 1: Write the Rough Draft.  

Students plan and write their rough draft on paper. After checking for completeness, I EDIT the STEP 2 Google Classroom Assignment: Type Your Rough Draft, and add ONLY those students who are ready to type.  

  • Google Classroom (GCR) assignments can be edited as many times as you need.  
  • I usually give students one WG/SG Day for each Step assignment in GCR.  This allows any students who might end up behind the opportunity to catch up.

STEP 2: Type the Rough Draft.

Once completely typed, each student and I make sure their essay is double-spaced and each paragraph is indented.  Students then go to FILE --> MAKE A COPY and change just the words "Copy of" to "Final Draft". Students turn in their rough drafts in GCR. I compare this rough draft to their Final Draft once completed and turned in. Then I open STEP 3: REVISE Your Essay in GCR - ONLY for students who are ready for STEP 3.

STEP 3: Revise.

In STEP 3, my students use the TTSReader website. This allows them to copy and past their entire essay into the reader. They select US English as the language and PLAY. The TTSReader reads students' essays to them and students stop-revise-replay, stop-revise-replay as often as needed until each is happy with his/her content.  (As my students have been using it all year, most automatically go there now and even use it in their other classes.)  In the TTSReader text box, students make revisions in sentences structure, organization, grammar, spelling, etc.  Once this is done, I open STEP 4: COLOR-CODE Your Essay in GCR - ONLY for students who are ready for STEP 4.

STEP 4: Color-code Your Essay.  

I give students a color-code format for identifying each part of their essays.  This is their last opportunity to revise their essay.  By color-coding each requirement, students find where they might be missing key information, if they have ICE'd their textual evidence, and even whether they skipped over typing all of their rough draft (Yep!  I have had students miss typing multiple sentences only to discover this when color-coding).  The color-coding step generally takes students the longest time to complete, and that's OK with me because I know they are really looking closely at what they have written. Once this is done, I open STEP 5: EDIT Your Essay in GCR - ONLY for students who are ready for STEP 5.

BONUS: When students color-code their writing, it is easier for both students and teachers to see at a glance if anything is missing.

STEP 5: Editing - The Final Step.  

In this step, students look at the mechanics and conventions of their essays and check off each category as they complete it. Once this is done, I open STEP 6: Works Cited Page in GCR - ONLY for students who are ready for STEP 6.

STEP 6: Works Cited Page.

Once students complete this final step, they share their final draft with me.  

Google Classroom's new feature in invaluable to myself as a teacher and to my students. They aren't overwhelmed with several steps all at once. Instead, as one step in the writing process is completed, I open the next part of the assignment. I also keep a chart on the board of where everyone is in the process.  

I can think of many more ways to use this feature. How about you? Have you Individualized instruction for your students using Google Classroom? In what ways have you used it? Please share!

Stage C READ 180 Educator

January 1, 2014

It has been a while since I have updated my profile, so long that I had to search to find the edit button! I continue to teach three READ 180 classes this school year, which I absolutely love, after one-year of teaching 2 READ 180/English 1 blocks and one ICS English 1. The 2013-2014 school year is my 7th year teaching READ 180/English 1, and my 20th year as a SPED teacher.  

Oakcrest High School is one of three regional high schools in southern South Jersey. At Oakcrest, I teach a combined RC English 1/READ 180 90 minute course (10 credits) to freshmen special education students whose skills range from being on grade level to 5 or 6 years behind grade level. My district mainly uses the READ 180 curriculum for SPED freshmen who are not ready for the gen ed curriculum, either because of learning or moderate behavioral disabilities. About half of my students move from the RC placement to an ICS placement for English in their sophomore year.

I have enjoyed writing the Stage C READ 180 Blog for the past two years, sharing my classroom with the READ 180 Community Members. Check out all my blogs HERE. In my blog, I try to respond to questions I see in the Community Message Boards, as well as questions from READ 180 Teachers, and things I have tried and found successful in my own READ 180 classrooms. In my blog, I also try to focus on the Common Core and Next Generation Assessment skills our students will need, sharing tips and enhancements I have made in my classes to help prepare my SPED students. Last summer, I was also invited to serve on the Scholastic READ 180 Advisory Board in NYC, and learned about some of the amazing things Scholastic is implementing to help introduce our students to the Common Core and Next Gen. Assessments, which were the topic of my December 2013 blog: Stretch 2 Supports Common Core Reading & Writing.

During the last READ 180 National Summer Institute in New Orleans during July 2012, I presented one of my class best practices to many of the READ 180 teachedrs attending the conference. You can find information and resources from that presentation in my blog HERE. The folder system outlined my "Success" Blog is easy to set up and easy for students to use and teachers to implement.

CryUnfortunately, I will be unable to attend the upcoming 2014 NSI in Florida as the new dates conflict with my annual family vacation in Duck, NC. Cry

Besides the enhanced focus on the Common Core, this year my students have been blogging about their books with two other READ 180 classes. Students have enjoyed blogging and, although we had to take a break the last few weeks, they are looking forward to picking it back up and restart their blogging this month.