Students making their own gradebook in Google Sheets

In my last post I talked about the importance of grades being transparent for all stake holders involved. One idea I recommend is having students build their own gradebook in Google Sheets (or any spreadsheet program). This gives them significantly more insight in how grades actually work, behave and gives the student more ownership with their own grades.

However, not all teachers may have the experience or knowledge on how to lead their students to do this – in fact doing it step by step with a class is tough, so I went ahead and made a quick guide.

Note this guide does not cover weighted grades.

To download a PDF of this guide click HERE!

On find it online HERE!

Otherwise here it is in all its glory.

Google Sheets – Making your own gradebook

This guide will help you create your very own functional gradebook so you can keep track of your own grades and have a better understanding of how grades are calculated, figured and how impactful each grade truly is.

We will be entering in 20 separate assignments, projects and tests into this sample gradebook. Feel free to add more or less as you see fit.

Let’s begin.


Step 1 – Open up a blank Google Sheet

Go to and sign in.

Then click the New button (on the left hand side).

A drop down menu should appear and from there select Google Sheets.

Step 1 - Open up a blank Google Sheet

Step 2 – Set up the first half of your gradebook.

You want your gradebook to have two halves. The top half will have all the individual assignments. The second half will be the final calculations and final percentage (or grade if you are courageous enough).

Write this information in each corresponding cell.

  • A1 = Entry Number
  • A2 = Assignment Name – (see if you can figure out how I wrote the word Name below the word Assignment)
  • A3 = Date
  • A4 = Possible Points
  • A5 = Points Earned
Step 2 - Set up the first half of your gradebook.

Step 3 – Add the dividing line

To better separate the top half from the bottom half we will add a black dividing line.

This is very easy to do.

Click the Row Number 6 – this will highlight the whole row.

Then click the paint bucket button in the toolbar and select the color black. This will make a black line separating the two sections.

Step 3 - Add the dividing line

Step 4 – Create the Totals section

This section will tell us how many total points there are and what our final average is.

This section is very easy to set up.

Add this information in each corresponding cell.

  • A7 = Total Points Possible
  • A9 = Total Points Earned
  • A11 = Final Average

We will add equations to A8, A10 and A12 later, so leave them blank for now.

Step 4 - Create the Totals section

This is what your spreadsheet should look like now.

I have some done some formatting like centering text, adding a grey background to the cell, increasing the size of the font. Format your gradebook however you like.


Step 5 – Adding Entry Numbers

This is a simple step. We want to add entry numbers. To do this start typing in 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . 20

Again, I centered them and made them bold but you can format as you like.

Step 5 - Adding Entry Numbers

Step 6 – Adding Assignment Names, Date, Possible Points and Points Earned

Now we can start adding in assignments.

Make up the assignment name, date, possible points and points earned for your 20 assignments.

*Helpful Tip: You can automatically format the date by selecting the dates and then clicking on Format —> Numer —> More Formats —> More date and time formats*

Step 6 - Adding Assignment Names, Date, Possible Points and Points Earned

Step 7 – Total points

Now that we have a bunch of data in the top half, we can start to work on some calculations on the bottom half.

In cell A8 we need to calculate the Total Points. Here we will need to add all the cells in Row 4 – the Possible Points row

In cell A8 we will type this equation: =sum(b4:u4)

Step 7 - Total points

Step 8 – Total points earned

Now we will add up all of our total points earned.

In cell A10 type this equation: =sum(b5:u5)

Step 8 - Total points earned

Step 9 – Final average

Now that we have our total points and our total points earned – we can calculate our final average.

To find our final percentage we need to divide the total points earned into the total points possible.

In cell A10 write this equation: =A10/A8

You should see a decimal. That’s OK – we will fix that next.

Step 9 - Final average

Now I see a decimal but changing it into a percentage is very easy.


Highlight the cell with the decimal in it.

On the toolbar there is a percentage button (%). Click that


Now you have a final percentage!


Optional steps

If these 9 steps were easy – test yourself by adding this functionality to your gradebook.

  • You can use conditional formatting to highlight assignments that are 0’s
  • Create a final grade that changes based on the final average (this is completely new)
  • Create a row to show averages for each assignment
  • Create conditional formatting for each assignment to highlight low grades
  • Create a way to lookup assignments to get all their information quickly (challenging)

Good luck!


Podcastapalooza – Part 1

podcast logo

In grade 7, my students get to create podcasts! Yes! It is super fun and just awesome to see them come up with an idea, create and publish (with some assistance from me). It is a fascinating experience to watch this happen. I’m going to be writing a series of posts that will hopefully help you bring podcasting to your classroom. For the record, I think this can be done in the elementary school as well (grade 3 and up). So click on past the break to learn about why its a great unit, how I assess each one, how I host each one and what equipment I use.

What is it?
Sometimes I get excited and start talking about how much I love this unit and people feel a little sheepish because they have no idea what I’m talking about. So let’s start with what it is.


Basically it is a show that is recorded and then put online for anyone to download. It can be audio only or with video and you can basically find podcasts about any topic out there. You can find these podcasts in a lot of places like iTunes, Podomatic, Podbean, etc. Check out the IT Babble podcasts on iTunes and Podomatic (sorry for the shameless promotion).

To get an idea of what some student examples sound like, check out what my little cherubs churned out on PodOmatic or on iTunes..

Continue reading “Podcastapalooza – Part 1”

Adobe Flash CS5 – Making a quiz game

The Adobe Flash series continues. This time we are working with controlling the timeline by making a quick little quiz game. We need to utilize some Actionscript code snippets, some nesting of animations and just a basic understanding of how to set up the timeline so this works well. Here are the requirements I gave my students.

  • Must have a start screen (with animation)
  • Must have 3 multiple choice questions
  • Must have a screen for incorrect answers and for getting all the questions correct (both screens must have animation)
  • It should have a background and look pleasing to the eye

Hope this helps those Adobe Flash people out there!

Edmodo Guide Version 3.1

If you’ve been thinking about trying out Edmodo now is the time and to help you out I’ve updated and embedded my guide below. Edmodo is a great way to increase the communication in the class, help students organize and to build a stronger learning community. It’s free, powerful and if you’re on the fence I urge to try it out.

Here is another update to my guide for Edmodo. When I started this guide it was only 9 pages long and now here it is 36 pages later. This guide covers everything from signing yourself up to managing grades and everything in between. Feel free to download, print and distribute the guide however you want.

Enjoy and happy Edmodoying (that’s not a word)

Adobe Flash – Make a bouncing ball part 2

Still want a little Adobe Flash instruction? Well IT Babble is back for part two of making a ball bounce. Part one focused on simply how to make a ball bounce. Now we are going to take it to the next level and make it slightly more realistic.

This tutorial will show you how to add a ground and a shadow. If you have some problems leave a comment and we will get back to you. Be sure to stay tune for part three coming in a few more days where we add a face and animate it to add a little more spice. So watch the video and enjoy!

If you missed part 1 you can find it here.

You can find part 3 here.

Adobe Flash – Make a bouncing ball part 1

Interested in learning a little Adobe Flash? Well here is your chance to learn. This is a very simple tutorial that will show you how to create a bouncing ball in the . There will be two more parts that will guide you to make a ground, shadow and another video that will let us create a face on the ball that is animated as well! Flash can be pretty intimidating if you’ve never used it before, but have no fear we hear at IT Babble will help get the ball rolling. Get it? The tutorial is about a ball and I used the word . . . OK I’ll stop. Take a gander at the tutorial and stay tuned for the other two parts coming next week!

Find Part 2 here.

Find Part 3 here.

Interested in Edmodo?

Check out my updated guide

So this is the third version of the Edmodo guide. The first I didn’t put online. The second I put up in March of 2011 and to date has been viewed over 12,000 times. WOW! Talk about unexpected, but since it was such a hit I’ve been working on updating it and here it is. For those of you who don’t know, Edmodo is a social networking site that has been built for classroom use. It is safe, secure, parents can join, and it can drastically improve communication throughout your class. So, if you’d like to know more, then check out my guide below. Feel free to download, distribute and/or share it, and if you have any questions go right ahead and either email me or leave a comment below. ENOY!

PS. I am not the best typist 😦

You gotta sit

You gotta exercise


When we teach, we are up, moving and engaging. We are active and this is healthy for our class and ourselves. However, we all know that teaching is so much more than engaging students. We need to grade papers, do lesson plans, email, have meetings, call parents, meet with parents and much more. Of course these individual process don’t take that much time, but bundle them together and we’re talking hours. You know of what I speak. Guess what? It turns out that sitting for long periods of time is not all that healthy for you. So, if you’ve got to sit you might as well do some quick exercises while on your keister, but how? Well I’ve come across an article that will tell you how to do this very thing. Click the link below to see how to stay in shape while keeping up with your own mountain of work. It may not be as good as hitting the gym, pool or track, but it is better than nothing and if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.

How to Exercise While You Sit by Ana Forrest 

Woman and clipboard: photostock‘s portfolio is:;”

Chair attribute: Suat Eman‘s portfolio is:

Photoshopped by Patrick Cauley

How to use HootCourses in your classroom

Ok, it may seem like we are beating a dead horse here (and that would just be plain wrong) by posting all this stuff about HootCourses but we want to be thorough. Patrick posted a video showing you how the service works and how easy its. We both chimed in on the topic with our own opinions. Now, although HootCourse was not my cup of tea, I will present you with a three ways it can be used in the classroom and Patrick may add more Continue reading “How to use HootCourses in your classroom”