Somewhat Organized Chaos

Somewhat Organized Chaos

When I tell colleagues that students in my class can re-do assignments to improve their learning I often get a strange look. The look is followed by “how can you do that without drowning in a sea of marking?”

I won’t lie – this method takes more effort.

It has really been a few years of trial and error to find a system that works for me.

I have tried various spreadsheets, but found them to be too time consuming and cumbersome.


I have also made several charts, and while I found that they worked for smaller classes, they are not really practical with larger numbers of students. Not to mention I was using a lot of paper.


I have finally settled on using FreshGrade and Google classroom so that both my students and I can see their learning progression. Fresh grade is a digital portfolio. It is both web and app based.

Most of my students submit their work to me through Google Classroom.

I give the students their overall feedback, explaining what was done well and what their next steps might be. I either copy and paste this feedback from their Google doc into their FreshGrade portfolio or write the feedback directly into the portfolio.

I keep track of student re-submissions by creating a second or sometimes third Google drop box. For example, my students submitted a short answer to a question for the short story The Veldt. I created a “Veldt Answer” drop box on Google classroom. When I finished giving their feedback, I created a second drop box titled “Veldt Answer Take two”. Because Google classroom keeps everything in a digital folder it is easy for me to see who has re-submitted their work. Depending on the number of students re-working an assignment for a third time I will either create a third drop box, or just have them re-submit to the second drop box.



When I finish evaluating student’s re-submitted work, I make an updated comment on their FreshGrade portfolio. In this way I keep a running commentary of their work and improvements. When it comes time to conference, at mid-term and final, the students and I sit down together and look at their portfolio. It is easy to see where they are doing well and where they need to next concentrate their efforts.

Here is an example from one of my grade nine students. The red arrow shows where I have updated his feedback.



This is by no means a completely smooth process. I do have to keep checklists of who handed in what so I know when to re-assess assignments. It is somewhat organized chaos, but it mostly keeps my head above water. By adopting the tools of the digital classroom, and spending some up front time and effort creating some organizing structures, you can organize your own chaos.

I’d love to hear how others organize their student submissions.

All opinions/ thoughts in this blog are 100% my own. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.

One thought on “Somewhat Organized Chaos

  1. Super cool post – really appreciate the tactical feedback. I’ve been working on a tool focused on goal-setting and reflection for students, and it handles multiple revisions really well. However, we don’t have the ability to upload student work (yet). Check it out and let me know your thoughts! It’s called Sown To Grow ( 🙂


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