Get inFORMed: Google Forms for Everything

I use Google Forms for everything. Literally. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. They are super easy to create and the data generated from them is easy to interpret and use. And let’s face it – we need tools that make life easier!

From the simplest of tasks, Forms are the way to go. Just today my students were working on some practice questions. To give fast feedback, I had them quickly run through a Form that took me two minutes (at most) to generate. Using a great add-on tool, Flubaroo, I could quickly grade the assignment (and by me, I mean the script did the work for me), see which questions they were struggling on (as individuals or a class as a whole), generate a grade and even send them feedback through email. The feedback was as detailed as I wanted it to be. I could choose from right/wrong answers (easily interpreted by green=good, red=not so good), add answer choices or even include explanations with the answers. For the work my students were doing, it was an easy check to see if they were getting the information and with a quick run of the report, they knew exactly which questions to go back and do corrections on. I even opened the option of filling out the Form a second time after they had done corrections. Because Forms can be exported as spreadsheets or even pdfs, I had a comparable report (how they did the first go round as compared to the second go round) in a matter of minutes.

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The same can be said for any activity in class, whether you are looking to get quick feedback as in an exit ticket or poll the class. One day students had turned in current events papers with the understanding that any of them could be called on to present. Quickly, I threw together the list of topics the papers covered. In a matter of minutes, I could see which ones the students wanted to hear more about and those topics were the ones chosen to present their papers that day.

For a classroom utilizing Google Drive, Forms are a great way to upload a sample of work. When students are filling out a Form, they can paste a link to a document/picture/video from Google Drive in a short answer box. In my results, that is an active link that I can click on and access the material without receiving a hundred emails from students (great for those without digital platforms for turning in work).

As students finish up a poetry project this week, they will be asked to evaluate the poetry of others for literary devices. Using a Form, students will easily perform a gallery walk, evaluate2-3 poems of classmates, identify various literary devices they have been required to include (allowing for students to learn about devices by knowing the definitions, using them in context and identifying them in the works of others – assessing their knowledge on multiple levels) and have digital feedback produced that I can share with the original poet.

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Google Forms are also utilized in my classroom as digital sign-ups. I have my tutoring times linked in a Form. Students are required to sign up ahead of time, let me know which session they plan to attend and what work they need to do. I use an add-on that sends me notifications so as soon as anyone signs up, it sends an email to me. It makes it nice for me to have a heads up about students coming to tutoring so I can pull the make-up work ahead of time, but it also tracks information to share with parents. I can pull the report as students arrive (a virtual sign-in, if you will) and then refer back to those results as the grading period ends. Nothing is more powerful than information you can provide to parents, and this way, I don’t have to look for a paper sign-in sheet or try to remember when or how often a student came to tutoring. Another nice feature? Students are reminded about the tutoring times you offer (and if these change on a weekly basis, your form can reflect the new times each week). It forces students to pick one of the times you have reserved instead of just popping by whenever. And if you notice that quite a few have signed up for a certain session, you can take that date/time choice out.

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I use the same concept for recommendation letter requests. I primarily teach seniors so some days I feel like I am writing more than them! I utilize a form for these requests because I want students to put in equal effort. I ask them basic questions for my own understanding, such as date needed (and the form reminds them clearly at the top that they must request a letter AT LEAST two weeks in advance), hard copy or digital format, email address (to send a copy of the letter to for their own records). I also include questions that give me additional information than what I know from class (such as what you would see on a resume). Because the results are time stamped, I then have an order in which I work through writing their letters. It also holds me accountable because I can see how long I’ve had to work on the letter!

I’ve even used Forms for our talent show try-outs. Instead of trying to decipher student handwriting on a sign-up page, they quickly scan a QR code (I use these for all my Forms) and then fill in LEGIBLE information. I’ve used the add-on Choice Eliminator for this so that when a time slot is taken, it no longer shows up as a choice for the next person who accesses the Form. The same concept could be used for parent conference sign-ups. As one of the senior class sponsors, we have started using Forms for t-shirt sales too. The flyers around school include a QR code so students scan it, fill in order information and then drop by one of our classrooms to pay. As they pay, either of us can simply highlight their name (since the form can be accessed by both of us simultaneously) so we know the order can be completed. As the deadline nears, either of us can quickly send an email to any submissions that haven’t paid to remind them to stop by or their orders will be cancelled.

I am sure these are only a few of the many ways Forms are being used. Regardless of the task you find yourself with, if you aren’t letting Google Forms do the heavy lifting for you, you are doing too much work!

 

 

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