Sunday, August 21, 2016

Google Forms in My Classroom

We’ve established that I have an obsession with Google Forms. It’s easy to connect & manage data from students, parents, etc. Last week, I posted on how to use Google Forms for teacher walkthrough observations--targeted at either administrator walkthroughs or peer walkthroughs. This week, I’m going to share how I use Google Forms in my classroom and school.

Daily Check-ins & Warm-up
This is by far the most impact I’ve had with a single Google Form. Every day, students come to my class and complete the check-in & warm-up on their iPad (make a copy). First, students answer the check-in questions on how they slept, how their breakfast/lunch was, and how their day is in general. Then, students proceed to answer the three content-based questions I have projected. The content questions are either review of what we learned the previous day(s) or prediction questions to think about prior knowledge on a topic. Sometimes I throw in fun hypothetical questions, such as “if you had one million dollars, what would you spend it on?” As a class, we discuss the content questions, but never the check-in questions.

We use the same form every day for the entire school year. I ask students to add the Form to their iPad homescreen for easy access. On my results spreadsheet, I hide the rows from the previous week to make scrolling easier.

As students come in, I am taking attendance and monitoring their check-in responses. If I use a conditional formatting gradient to turn 1’s red to 5’s green.
Screenshot of check-in questions with conditional formatting gradient applied. 

I am admittedly jealous of my elementary teacher friends who have 20-25 students in their class and can spend more targeted time with their students. We’re on a block schedule, which means I see my science students for 100 minutes on Monday & Wednesday, and 32 minutes on Friday. It’s always tough to get around to everyone to have personal conversations.

This daily Form has changed my teaching and my relationship with my students. Many have revealed personal stresses, family tragedies, or moments of joy that they may not have otherwise shared with me. With a few students with major life stressors outside of school, I strongly believe I have been able to prevent classroom behavior challenges simply by having a conversation with the student, and letting them know I’m on their side.

Formative Assessments
With our shift toward mastery/standards-based grading, formative assessment has become even more important for both myself and my students. I often use Forms as exit tickets ( > templates > exit ticket) and formative assessments. Now that Forms has an embedded quiz feature, I can quickly make formative assessments that show students their score and include feedback.

As I get deeper into the school year, I plan to include quick tasks or review activities for students to complete for questions they answer incorrectly. Unfortunately, the quiz feature does not yet allow for grading of short and long answer questions. A potential workaround in the meantime is to have a short/long answer question, then add in an extra column in the response sheet for teacher feedback. As I review each response, I can give students targeted feedback. When I’m done, I can use Autocrat to share students’ feedback.

If you teach multiple classes and you’re worried about students sharing out a quiz before they reach your class, create a password protected Form. It’s simple! Add a new section at the beginning of the quiz with a single short answer text question. Use data validation (3 dots, bottom right of question editing box) to set “text” and “contains” and type in your password--make sure you also fill in “custom error text” so the question doesn’t give the correct answer as feedback! This password can be quickly changed between classes for added security. (Here’s a screencast!)

Peer Evaluation
I’ve done Genius Hour with my AVID students for the past two years. Last spring, I had students present their projects to the class. During the transition time between presenters, all other students filled out the peer evaluation (make a copy); not only was this a good way for students to receive feedback, but also it cut down on the distractions during the transition. Using the RowCall add-on, I created a Sheet tab for each student presenter with their feedback, then printed a copy for each student. (Note: I would have done this digitally, but it was the last week of school when iPads were being collected, and not every student would have chosen to access their email on their own.)

Course Evaluation
At least every semester, and sometimes in the middle too, I give students a chance to give me anonymous feedback on our class. After students have completed the course evaluation (make a copy), I take some undistracted time to review the results and plan for changes. At the end of each semester, I also send a similar Form to parents to ask for their feedback. My students know I take their feedback seriously, and are candid in their responses.

Sheet
Last week we had our Open House (also called Back to School Night). Usually, we have parents sign in on paper, which is always difficult to make sure they get passed around. Instead, this year, I set out my six Chromebooks with a digital sign-in sheet (make a copy). It saved a lot of time and energy, and I didn’t need to worry about decoding handwriting.

Other Fun Things with Google Forms
Choose your Own Adventure: Use “go to section based on answer” to create choose your own adventure stories. (Make a copy)

Self-Correcting Study Guide: Use “go to section based on answer” within study guide questions. If students answer correctly, they are taken to the next question. If student answer incorrectly, they are taken to a section with review information, such as an image, text, or a video. Once they review, they are taken to the next question. (Make a copy


  1. Wow, I LOVE that check-in piece as a relationship-building tool with students! What an important, low-pressure way to help them know that you care and really want to know what's going on in their lives. You are one-to-one at your school, right?

    I think that, sometimes, we hear fears about how technology makes education less personal and less relational - and this is a great example of how it can actually help you collect information to strengthen personal interactions!

  2. I agree with Aubrey - love that your first question is about your students' day. What a great way to show you care! We work on a block schedule as well and I'm sure the teachers would love this idea...can't wait to share your post with them.

    I also love the idea of a Back to School digital sign in sheet - one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  3. HI Mari :) I really had no idea about the possibilities for google docs--if you are obsessed I'm clueless. This post gave me a snapshot of what is possible. I'm intrigued and inspired by your use of this technology for formative assessment. Would love to chat more about how to engagement imagination and google docs in assessment--inspired! #sunchatbloggers :)

  4. Some things that I have thought about and never taken the leap to do. I think I will add a challenge to include more google form work in my classes. Thanks!

  5. Some things that I have thought about and never taken the leap to do. I think I will add a challenge to include more google form work in my classes. Thanks!

  6. Wow, these are awesome ideas! I am going to share them with my staff at our next PD meeting. Thanks!