Sunday, May 15, 2016

Using Google Forms for Learning Routines

It seems like every year, around the last couple months before school is out, I begin to reflect on the things that worked really well. Was it the strategy? Students? Timeliness of feedback? How we used technology? These questions, among many others, guide me through the reflection and improvement process.

google forms, google sheets, google apps for education

Our successes this year have pointed to the more routine learning activities. In many cases, technology has allowed us to generate and share information in ways we could not have otherwise accomplished. In particular, using Google Forms to send and receive various types of feedback has been very effective.

Here are some of the ways I've changed classroom learning routines to integrate technology and improve access to feedback and other exchange of information. All of them use Google Forms to increase the access to information from student to teacher and vice versa.

1. Exit Tickets

I love the idea of an exit ticket. It's one of the activities that students are motivated to do because class is over when they're done. And they usually put a lot of effort into writing them because they know that I actually read them and use the results to make lesson plans.

When Google Classroom came out with the Question post at the beginning of the school year, I was excited and thought that it would be great for exit tickets. I soon realized that Forms is still the way to go because it sends the results to a sheet, which is more versatile in terms of data analysis over time.

Here's a video that shows my plan to set up sheets that automatically filter individual responses from a mother sheet.



2. Essential Questions

For each unit, I make an essential questions Google Form. The one below is for World War II. I assigned students questions and they used their notes and other resources to respond. This provided me with enough student work to show them what I expected.

essential questions, understanding by design

The image below shows how the responses are displayed in summary view. Although individual view is useful, the summary is better for displaying responses with the projector. Like I mentioned above, this is a great way to show the students the good, bad, and the ugly. If it's too ugly (or not good enough), I make time for students to work in groups to resubmit better responses. More on this in a future post.


3. Assessment Evaluation

I used to print evaluation forms for students to complete after a unit assessment. The purpose of the self-evaluation was to reflect on achievement and to write goals to carry forward. Now that I use the Google Forms for this very important activity, I don't have to remember to make copies, self-evaluations can be checked anywhere (without a stack of papers to carry), and a running record can be easily analyzed during student-led conferences.

4. Practice and Homework

We do a lot of image analysis, so the form is a great way to quickly collect all of the responses and debrief as a class. Since the questions are routine, making a new form is as simple as making a copy of a form that I designated as a template. Then, add the image(s) and customize the design. It's not hard for even the most novice user.


Homework in my history class could be anything from guided reading to interactive activities and summaries of class notes. Forms works great for receiving all of the homework responses because we often use the homework content for classroom activities, which can be projected as described above.

What's the big deal?

Forms allows students to turn in the work, whether practice or homework, without losing access to it. This also reduces wastebasket work because the students can do something with whatever the form collects. Further, I've observed students showing more effort when they know the class is relying on their contribution to complete the following stages of an activity (i.e., collecting map data for Google My Maps).