Saturday, August 13, 2016

Using Google Forms for Walkthrough Observations

As many of you know, I have a major obsession with Google Forms. Last school year in a Faculty Advisory Committee meeting, we were discussing our district’s walkthrough evaluation form, and how it did not adequately address our school’s focuses and goals. Once I realized I could customize a Google Form and use Autocrat to generate personalized walkthrough evaluations for teachers, I literally started bouncing in my chair. (One of my colleagues lovingly calls this “Tiggering” because I get bouncy when I’m excited!) I began a semester-long project creating the walkthrough Form, iterating on it, and troubleshooting technical problems.

I personally love it when my principal and assistant principals come through for walkthrough observations. These walkthroughs are informal, unannounced, are not put into our permanent records, and admin stays for about ten minutes to observe what is happening in my class. I can understand where there could be pushback from individuals about being observed. Building a culture around learning and framing observations as admin’s opportunity to learn from teachers can help introduce this to a reluctant teacher.

Often, our administrators sit down at an open student desk, interact with students, and ask students about what they are learning. In one very memorable walkthrough, my principal was sitting at a student desk, and I called on him to answer after a turn-and-talk (I call randomly using 2 sets of popsicle sticks--each seat has a group number and color, and I pull 1 color and 1 number stick.). He eagerly participated based on what he and his partner discussed!

Once admin leaves my classroom, I receive an email with their observations and suggestions. I always enjoy following up with them to discuss the lesson further or ask for specific support.

Here is the Google Form and the Autocrat template for the walkthrough. You’re welcome to make a copy of the Google Form (force copy) and Autocrat template (force copy), and customize for your own use! 


Here’s the basic workflow of the Form walkthrough setup and implementation process: 
1. Create a Google Form with the criteria you are observing. Create the Response Sheet. 
2. Create a Google Doc template for Autocrat, using << >> tags for each section header from the Sheet. 
3. Go into the Sheet and run the Autocrat Add-on. Set it to email and/or share a copy of the doc or PDF to <<teacher email>> and <<administrator email>>
4. Take your walkthrough form into teachers’ classrooms and complete it as you are observing their lessons. 
5. Once you hit submit, you and the teacher will receive an email with the observation notes! 

Here’s a video on how to use Autocrat--repurposed from our Breakout EDU Digital how-to videos. Autocrat has since updated their interface, but there is little difference on the actually set-up process. Remember, if you make any changes to the Form, change the << >> tags in your Autocrat doc template to make it easier to match up. 




If you end up using this or something similar with your teachers, I’d love to hear about it!




10 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Maria. We do something very similar minus the Autocrat feature. Teachers have QR codes posted outside their rooms that lead to a Google Form we've created for our walkthroughs. Each teacher has their own form/QR code to receive the feedback through the notifications add-on in forms.

    Maybe the Autocrat feature makes it easier?? I'm not familiar. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Love it! I will share this with my PLC.

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  3. Very cool idea. I briefly checked out the AutoCrat add-on. It takes a spreadsheet and turns it into a document?

    How often do your admins walk-through? What is the primary purpose?

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    1. Yes, it takes the spreadsheet and turns each row response into a document.
      The primary purpose of walkthroughs is informal observations & feedback, gets admin into classrooms to see what teachers are doing. They come through every few weeks on average, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less.

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  4. I love this idea and I am thinking of making my own "walk through" form observing my class. This will allow me to see information about students working on task, reading, or just general engagement. It will help inform my instruction and class management.
    Thanks for sparking an idea.

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  5. This is such a fabulous idea...love the addition of Autocrat so that teachers get quick feedback!

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  6. Another great post for introducing and explaining--thanks Mari.

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  7. I am very excited about using Google forms and Autocrat. I have been looking for a fast, efficient way to give feedback to teachers. Thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait to get into a classroom and use this.

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  8. Mari,

    Will it email the specific person that we did the walkthrough on with the new version? I can only get it to email me. I am sure I'm doing something wrong.

    Thanks!

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    1. Yes, it should. Make sure you have it set on Autocrat to email the person observed too.

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