As I’ve talked to people about Google stuff, one of the Google apps that I don’t hear much about is Google Forms. Most teachers are good with Docs and Slides, but few touch Forms and subsequently Sheets. Google Sheets can be used for more than just crunching numbers, especially for education. This year, I’ve learned a lot of different ways to use Google Forms and Sheets to save myself time and trouble. Here are a few ways you can use Forms to help you out.
Google Forms is an easy way to give students formative quizzes. Since there are a variety of question options (multiple choice, checkbox, short answer, long answer, scale), you can assess almost anything here. Plus, there are ways to get it to do all, or most, of the grading for you. You can easily put the data in a Google Sheet for easy access and sorting. Plus, there is now a locked quiz mode that prevents students from viewing or opening new tabs, which makes it at least a little more difficult for them to cheat.
Forms has helped me get a lot more organized with administrative kinds of tasks. To give you an example, if I ever had to check books out to students, I would usually write their name on a sticky note with the book number. I’m sure you can guess what happened with that. Now, I just have a simple Form where I type in the student’s name, book title, and book number. It takes a few seconds, and then I have a Sheet to keep it all together. I can easily sort and find student names when they return books.
Surveys and Feedback
At the end of the first semester, I used a series of questions on Google Forms to get feedback from my students about the things we did throughout the semester. I could get feedback about assignments, apps we used, what was working and what wasn’t. After they filled it out, I made some graphs and charts from the information in Sheets to see what I had done that had been most effective and troubleshoot anything that wasn’t effective. I’ve also used it for surveys when I gave my classes options of what they wanted to read in class.
This is something that takes virtually no effort from you. If you’re doing a series of assignments or activities that you want to track the progress of, they can input their data and you can look at it. I’ve used it to track my students weekly page count goals. Every Friday, they just type in how many pages they read that week. I can see if they’ve met their weekly goals, but I can also use the line graph function in Sheets to look at how they are progressing. You can do the same for a series of quizzes. If you’re using an assessment to group students, sorting the sheet by scores makes it easy to group.
This has been, by far, my favorite thing I’ve discovered this year. Making parent contacts has always been a weakness of mine. When I get a list of parents that I have to contact for grades or tardies or whatever, it feels like it takes forever to do, and it takes me away from grading or planning or whatever else I feel like I need to do. My solution: I created a Google Form for the different types of contacts I need to make. Then I used a mail merge add-on for Sheets and created a template email. It takes a little time to get set up, but once I have it set up, it’s just a simple matter of plugging in the information to the Google Form and submitting. Once I submit it, the mail merge takes care of creating the email and sending it. A lot of mail merges even track if the email gets opened for you. It sure beats a ton of copying and pasting and seeing if you changed all the correct information.
There are several other ways that you can use Forms and Sheets to save yourself time in the classroom. The best part is that once you get these set up, you don’t have to create them again.
Got other uses for Forms? Leave a comment and let me know.