Colors and Comments: Providing Feedback for Students

Just as providing feedback to companies such as Google helps them improve their products, letting students know what they are doing well and what they need to work on is imperative for helping them learn. Two simple and effective methods for delivering feedback in the Google Drive environment are:

  1. Changing colors

Green and red are well known as basic signals for Yes and No. They are easy to spot for most people. (Although I did have a student last year who was colorblind, so I had to adjust for him!) If you have simple instructions on your assignments in Google Drive, you can just color each appropriately as you review a student’s work. Then when they check on it, they can see at a glance what they did right, and what they need to fix. Here’s an example:

To change the color of text, use this icon:


For pointing out and providing more detailed or complicated information, I use the comment feature in Google Documents. I find that the easiest way to do this is to select the text I want to comment on, and use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+M.

Or try the Comments button or Comment icon .

The comment itself appears as a little side note. 

When the comment, or the highlighted selection of text that the comment belongs to is clicked, the yellow of the highlight gets brighter, and the comment pulls closer to the document and also grows a speech-bubble tail, so a student can see exactly which comments are paired to which selections.

If you use Google Classroom, you can check in on your students’ work any time, and let them know if they’re on the right track before the assignment is due. This level of access is only possible online! And it’s one of the many reasons I love EdTech.

2 thoughts on “Colors and Comments: Providing Feedback for Students”

  1. A very well written blog edition. What is great about the way you explained it is that teachers of all subjects can do this; it doesn’t have to be “writing teachers only.”
    I am with you-I love the way I can comment on online documents at “my convenience.” One thing to add is that students can reply to our comment if they don’t understand or if they just want to say “thank you.”

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