Today I want to show you the basic Google applications I believe every teacher should be utilizing in their classroom. Google Docs, Forms, and Slides are all too fabulous (& free) for you not to be using them. By using electronic documents through Google you can access them anywhere, save paper, and easily edit them to meet your classroom’s changing needs. Along with compiling a list of how I use Google, I’ve also included some fabulous tutorials to help get you started.
1. Google Docs – The Daily Agenda
I hate using the calendar on Canvas to post assignments for my students. Do I post the homework on the day it is assigned or the day it is due? If I post the homework on the day it is due what if the students are looking at the current day to see if they have anything to do? But if I post quizzes on the day they are going to be taken shouldn’t I post homework on the day it is due as well? And what about classwork? I’m 100% overthinking this. However, if I can’t decide how to set up and read my own class calendar how can I hold my students accountable to it? Enter- The Daily Agenda.
My first year of teaching I stole/copied this idea from another teacher on my team. All it is is a Google Doc, linked on the homepage of my class Canvas page, where I keep a running list of everything we do in class each day and where students can access the necessary resources. I add each new day at the top of the document and students then have all the information they need.
Why I love using the Daily Agenda:
- Students are able to access the agenda from school and from home so they have no excuse if they leave their agenda at school or forget to write the assignments down.
- I share the link to this document with parents so that they can follow along with what we are doing in class; this is especially helpful when you have a student falling behind or not turning in work.
- When parents have access to the document they can check it themselves to hold their student accountable.
- When I have to miss school and have a sub, or when students miss school, everything is on the Daily Agenda and students know exactly what they need to do and where to find it.
2. Google Forms – Parent Contact Information
It’s 2017, there is absolutely no reason a single teacher should be using anything other than Google Forms to collect their parent contact information (unless maybe if you’re an elementary teacher with 25 students, but still).
My first year of teaching I had 170+ students, my second year of teaching I had around 70 – there is NO WAY I would have typed in that many parent emails to make a class distribution list. Even if you don’t need a class distribution list I promise, Google Forms is the way to go. It’s secure, easy to use, the answers export into a spreadsheet, and you can 100% customize both the data you collect and how you organize the responses to fit your class needs. Also, by having parents input their information you don’t have to worry about interpreting their handwriting when it comes time to call or email home. Anytime I need to contact a parent I pull up the form and can instantly find the information I need.
Here is a link to a general Parent Contact Form I created to get you started and help you visualize what I use.
A couple of things to note:
I always make sure I have a spot to select which block the student is in so that I can later sort the responses by class & I make sure to have first name and last name as separate questions so that I can also sort the responses by last name. I also include a spot where parents can leave me comments and notes – this saves time at Open House when parents want to sit and chat but you need to greet 10 other students and their parents – you simply direct them to the Google Form and tell them you’ll read over their comments and get back to them. Also, its important to note that I allotted two spots for parent/guardian contact information but only the first parent responses are required – the second parent information can be left blank and the form can still be submitted.
Not sure how to work with Google Forms? Sandy, over at Soaring Through Second has created a fabulous and detailed tutorial on how to create your own Google Form to collect information from parents. She created it for the 2015 school year, so it looks a tad different now but it’s similar enough that you shouldn’t have any issues following along! You can access her tutorial here.
3. Google Forms – Student Behavior Log
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure I haven’t actually used this yet but I’m beyond excited to put it to work this school year. Keeping track of student behavior has been a real struggle of mine during my first two years of teaching. I know when students get in trouble and when to contact home but I wasn’t keeping enough record of what the actual improper behavior was and when it was occurring.
By turning my student behavior log into a Google form I’ll quickly be able to track what the behavior was and when it occurred. More importantly, however, I’ll be able to sort the data by student, by behavior, or by when the behavior is occurring and be able to look for patterns and problems that I need to address. Is one student in particular having trouble shouting out in class? Are multiple students having trouble staying on task, but only during group work? Also, this will easily provide detailed notes and information to present to parents should the need arise.
Kelsey, one of my favorite bloggers, has created a beautiful tutorial about creating a Google Document to streamline behavior documentation as well as creating QR codes to access the document. You can access her tutorial here.
Other possible uses for Google Forms in the classroom:
- Parent Contact Log
- Missing Homework Log
- Quizzes and Assessments
- Differentiated Instruction
- Student Surveys
Now that you’ve created these fabulous Google Forms and are ready to use them regularly you can use this quick and easy tutorial Shanna, from HelloTeacherLady, posted on Instagram to save the form to your phone’s home screen!
How do you use Google Docs and Forms in your classroom? What other applications for these programs can you think of? I’ve love to hear from you!
Ps. Have you read my last post Classroom Organization: Why you need 1,562 Copies of Your Class List?