Changes to Google Classroom, Turning a Word doc into a Google doc, fighting spam, and making online articles more readable AND interactive for class!

Whoa, what are these changes to Google Classroom? What is this tomfoolery? What is afoot?
I have a handout I’d like to use in Google Classroom, but it’s in Microsoft Word. How do I change it to a Google Doc? 
Now that I’m using all of these new Google products and trying out apps, I get so much spam and junk email. How do I get rid of it all?
  • Here is the number one thing you can do: unsubscribe from email lists immediately. Every time you start using an app or a website where you have to register using your email address, you start getting newsy email from them on a regular basis as if you are all best friends. The second that begins, I scroll to the bottom of the email and find the teeny-tiny type that says “Unsubscribe” and click it. Don’t put it off. Click it the second it arrives.
  • I recommend you do these things with your personal email, too, unless you’re super-interested in the goings on over at Lands End. Click here to read my story tragedy about getting off the Phil Collins email list.
Summer Concert Boom Marks Industry Turnaround” is a great article to read in my business class. But the suggested articles next to the story, and the comments below, are inappropriate. How can I ask them to pull up this story without traumatizing (or tantalizing) them?
  • First, instruct students to go to the Chromebook web store and get two extensions: (WARNING: You have to get these extensions, too, for this demonstration to work!)
  1. Readability
  2. Page Marker
  • Let’s say you want to read this article about scientists possibly eradicating motion sickness in your class with your students. Look how many distracting variables exist on the page when you click on it.


  • But if your students get the Readability extension, you can ask them to click on the Readability icon and then use it on the page. Suddenly, the story looks like this. Much better, right?


Now you can take it one step further. If you’d like students to annotate for every mention of, say, data referenced in an article, they can just click on the icon for Page Marker and circle as you (or they) read. It keeps them reading actively, and they can do it right on the screen. No wasted paper or extra paper for you to look at. If you really need to see it, they can screenshot it for you.