Google Drawings – The Swiss Army Knife for assignments

Google Drawings is a flexible place to make assignments with embedded supports including videos. Below I share three tips that helped me convert Google Docs assignments into more interactive Google Drawings.

Tip #1: Google Drawings are not just for Google Docs

You can create stand-alone and Google classroom assignable Google Drawings by going to

But why?  Tip #2: You can add a video to a Google Drawing!

This was the game-changer for me.  Adding videos in the margin of the Google Drawing can help students access supports without leaving the activity.  Adding a video to a Google Drawing requires a simple hack where you first insert the video into a Google Slide and then copy and paste it into the Google Drawing.  This takes all of 15 seconds or a minute and a half to watch this video showing the process.

But why?  Tip #3: You can add videos, images, links, and text supports in the margins of the Google Drawing and assign it through Google Classroom.

At this point, it is easier to show you with a few examples, so keep reading for Google Drawing templates you can start using today.

Tony Vincent’s Shapegrams

The main canvas has the picture and space to recreate it

Shapegrams are an excellent resource to help you and your students learn about Google Drawings. Each one is designed with a short video lesson, tips, and a drawing activity bundled together. He also has a detailed article called “Get Creative with Google Drawings.”   

Graphic Organizers

30 free Graphic Organizers

Google Drawings is a natural place to create graphic organizers, and Eric Curts shared 30 Free Google Drawing Graphic Organizers. These pair well with an embedded Youtube video where you want students to take notes, organize their thoughts, or respond to a prompt but also have lots of other uses. Eric’s website lets you get each file using “File -> Make a copy” or SharingTree has a group to get the whole set in one click.   

Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook also shared 25 Free Google Drawing Graphic Organizers or SharingTee has the whole group as well.

How to make Grid Questions in Google Forms

Google Forms grid question type is excellent for Matching/Selection//Ranking type questions. In this article, we will show you how to use the two kinds of grid questions (Multiple choice and Checkbox) and provide a Form with examples you can start using today.  

To start, add a question to a google form using the plus button and then change the question type to Multiple choice grid.

Adding a question to a Google Form
Selecting the Multiple choice grid type

The question screen shows Rows (Options/Answer) and Columns (Topic/Question) that can be added in any amount.  The example below shows a three-row by four-column grid question.Editor 2

My favorite use of the Grid question type is for matching questions. You can use these at all levels, and it is an easy way to convert traditional worksheets into a digital version.

You can also enable the quiz setting and select answers so students can receive feedback after they submit their responses or have their score automatically added to Google Classroom. I recommend placing the answers/options in the rows and identifiers (Letters or Numbers) in the columns. This helps phone users scroll down rather than use the less convenient slider at the bottom of the question to select a choice. Below is a matching question converted to a grid multiple choice question. The link to this example Form is here.

The options I choose for most grid matching questions are require one response per row and limit to one response per column, as shown below.

Selecting options for Multiple Choice Grid type question

I also use the grid question type for selection type questions. The link to a Form with these questions is here. The next example uses a Multiple choice grid question and asks respondents to select an available time slot or indicate they are not available. The Multichoice grid only allows one response per row, and I also require a response in each row.

In the preview mode this question looks like the following:

The format can be changed so TOPIC/QUESTIONS are on the TOP/COLUMN, and OPTIONS/ANSWERS are in the SIDE/ROW.  This is the option I use since it requires less scrolling on smaller screens.  In the example below, I limit responses to one response per column using the three dots ( ⠇) menu but allow multiple responses per row.  Anytime you are allowing multiple responses per ROW, you need to use a Checkbox grid.

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And the preview for this question looks like the following.

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The last version of this question is a checkbox grid with no restriction on the number of responses in ROWS or COLUMNS.

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The last use we show in this article is RANKING questions using the grid question type.  A form with the ranking question is here.  Below the students select their favorite kind of ice cream on a 1 to 5 scale.  

And the preview for this question.

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When choosing between the MC or Checkbox grid type, this table may help.  The quick answer is to use the MC if you want only one response per row and Checkbox to allow multiple responses per row.

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*Option shown at bottom of question:

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Our goal at Sharingtree is to help you share and collaborate with educators from around the world.  If you have a matching, selection or ranking example, use our “Add a collab” feature to share it today.

Use this link for MATCHING forms

Use this link for SELECTION forms

Use this link for RANKING forms

Then just click on “Collabs” or “Add a Collab” to share your version.

Leaf Google Forms Grid Question for SELECTION

We hope you found this article useful and reach out to us with any questions using

Visual Guide – Using ‘Add a Leaf’ to share a file

The “Add a Leaf” button on the top toolbar allows you to publish content in your Google Drive or Device to SharingTree. Start by clicking the ‘Add a Leaf button and then follow the steps below. Publishing should only take a few minutes and be sure you have the right to publish the content.

Once you click ‘Add a Leaf’ you will search your Google Drive to locate the file to share.

Add a Leaf screen, Red indicates a required field

One important choice is the type of COPYRIGHT to apply to your document. See our copyright guide to help you decide. Copyrighted content can always be converted to Collaborative or Creative Commons later. You can also revise most information later by going to Leaves -> Published. The exception is you can not change Creative Commons or Collaborative content you publish to Copyrighted later. The last page you will see for ‘Add a Leaf’ is below.

View your added Leaf and Sharing on Social Media

This page lets you click the link to view your published leaf. You can also change any information or add a custom image using Leaves -> Published or selecting Manage leaf.

Thanks for learning how to use ‘Add a Leaf‘ to share content with the world directly from G Suite. Please let us know if you have any ideas to improve collaborating from G Suite using

Permissions for G Suite Add-ons

Google Drive Add-on Permissions

Add-ons from the G Suite Marketplace require different permissions based on their level of integration with Google Drive and other services. Google requires SharingTree to ask permission to see, edit, create and delete all of your Google Drive files. This permission request needs an explanation. We need to see and create files in your Google Drive, but we never use the ability to edit or delete any files. Unfortunately, Google bundles all these permissions, and so you have two options to use our service. The first is to click the “Allow” button. The second option is to use a secondary Gmail account that only connects to services like ours and then click the “Allow” button. Once the files are in your secondary account, you can easily share them with your primary.

Below we compare SharingTree’s permissions with other common Google Drive Add-ons.  We are working to reduce our permission level and will keep you updated here.


Sharingtree allows teachers to share and collaborate on G Suite lessons and activities.

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Kami allows you to take any existing document, including scanned PDFs, and write, draw, type, annotate, comment, augment, enhance, and otherwise bring it to life – all within your browser.

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formLimiter – Add in for Google Forms

formLimiter shuts off a Google Form after a max number of responses, at a date and time, or when a spreadsheet cell equals a value. makes it easy to remember all your personal and work tasks, anywhere you go.

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Zoho Creator

Create custom apps for all your business needs with very little code. Build once on web and use them across mobile platforms with targeted functionality.

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Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform for work execution, enabling teams and organizations to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work at scale, resulting in more efficient processes and better business outcomes. Smartsheet empowers better collaboration, accountability, innovation, and real-time visibility into what

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Lucid Charts

Lucidchart provides collaborative online diagramming to make it easy to draw flowcharts, org charts, wireframes, UML, mind maps and more. Work together in real time with your team and clients.

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Let us know if you have any questions at

Sharing for Teachers: When to use Google or SharingTree?

The expectations placed on teachers are increasing quickly, and I’m not sure any of us can meet them by ourselves. Eddie and I built to help teachers share, collaborate, and inspire each other. Not just the teachers you see in video meetings but also teachers from around the WORLD. In this article, we show ways to share your curriculum using Google and SharingTree and the benefits of each service.

Sharing options provided by Google and SharingTree

1. Provides a URL

This is the most basic function for both services, and they both offer similar capabilities.  

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Google Drive

To share any file or folder in your Google Drive you can follow this three-step process.

Step 1 – Right click and select ‘Share’ on file or folder

Step 2.  Select your sharing options. For public sharing choose ‘Anyone with the link’ and ‘Viewer’.

Step 3.  Copy the link and share.


Sharing a file on Sharingtree requires the following:

  1. Go to, select ‘Add a leaf’, then select the file to share in your Google Drive.  You must be signed in share.
  2. Add tags, a description and choose copyright type
  3. Copy the link for for your Leaf and share anywhere.  We call shared content Leaves.

SharingTree allows you to share ANY file in your Google Drive through our website,  Just click the  ‘Add a leaf’ button shown below.  

Using ‘Add a leaf’  to share files on SharingTree

To use ‘Add a leaf’ you must be signed in, find/select the file in your Google Drive, complete the tagging process, and then copy the URL.   See the short video below on this process.  

The last step once a leaf is published it to copy the link (from URL or share icon) and use your link as normal on FB, Twitter, email, etc.

Two ways to copy link for shared content (Leaf or Group)

2-6. These steps take some extra time for publishers but it protects your files and allows users to easily find them.  

Here our service starts to show its benefits over Google Drive. It will take about 1 minute to share your content on SharingTree since you are adding tags and a description.

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Google Drive

Google does not provide these options, with the exception that Google does generate preview images for Slides and Drawing files.


The major benefits for items 2-6 are the following:

1. No more File -> Make a copy for users accessing your shared file or trying to find copied files in your Google Drive. All shared files are added to your Google Drive when you ‘Open’ a Leaf or Group. For a Group we transfer all the files to a folder in your Google Drive so you can easily find and edit them.

2. Users can search the WEB or to find your content.  If you have ever tried to search for ‘Google Docs’ you know it is an uphill battle.  The option to share a Google file with ‘Anyone with the link’ provides limited ways for people to find your file on the web.  

3. SharingTree provides a permanent backup of all your Open/Purchased/Published files. SharingTree protects your files by making a separate copy and never sharing them from your Google drive.  

If you have ever clicked an older link and seen Google’s “Page not found” message, it just means the file is not shared anymore.  This error can happen for many reasons, but as teachers, we should not consider our district Gmail accounts as permanent.  If you ever switch jobs, then all of your files may not switch with you unless you share them using SharingTree!

Google “Page not found” error message

You can also go Account section (☰) and Get/Open any of the content you have opened, purchased, or published.  I find it faster to go to SharingTree to locate my final version of shared files than my personal Google Drive. Publishers can also revise their shared content to an updated version at any time.

Go to Account to Opened/Purchased or Published leaves and groups

Once you are in Account -> Leaves -> Purchased you can see all leaves you have opened or purchased and ‘View‘ or ‘Get the leaf‘ again.

7-8. And here is where SharingTree really differentiates itself from Google or any other lesson sharing site.  

Once you share your original content in a format that can be remixed, other users can COLLABORATE on that content and share their modified version on We have two FAQ articles titled ‘What is a Collab?’ and ‘Publishing Content: Copyrighted, Collaborative or Creative Commons?’ that discuss collabs. I’ll give a quick overview below.

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Google Drive



These services are only provided by for FREE content with a ‘remix’ license type. Remix licenses include SharingTree’s ‘Collaborative’ license (like a CC-BY-NC-SA but with redistribution through only) and Creative Commons licenses without ND (no derivatives).  

Examples of a ‘Collab’ could be a user translating the original file to a different language, adapting the content from secondary to elementary, or switching the format from Google Docs to Slides or Forms. We hope we have piqued your interest and try ‘Add a leaf’ or  ‘Add a collab’ today!

9. Allow PAID($) content sharing for copyrighted content  

This option could be a game changer if you want to share PAID content you create. You can share individual files as Leaves or collections of files as a Group. Both options allow users to pay for the content using Paypal or Venmo (mobile only) and then have the files added directly to their Google Drive. PAID content must be copyrighted and “remixing” using Collabs is not allowed.

If you have any questions about sharing or collaborating using SharingTree just let us know at

Links to related FAQ Articles

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