This is a guest post by one of our blog writers, Sarah Joncas.
Google Forms is a fantastic tool for teachers to use. There are so many ways to use Google Forms in the classroom with students of all ages. Whether it’s an automatically graded quiz, sign-ups for a club, a self-reflection, or a survey, Google Forms is a great way to collect, organize, and manipulate data from students, colleagues, or parents.
Google Forms is very easy to use, both as a form creator and as someone filling out the form. If you’re a Google user familiar with Google Docs or Gmail, much of the interface in Google Forms will feel very familiar. If you aren’t familiar with Google Apps yet, check out some of the great Midnight Music blog posts about them:
- 10 Ways Google Slides Helps My Students Build Music Literacy
- Music Teachers: How To Set Up Your First Escape Room
- 5 of the Best Free & Paid Tools for Creating Classroom Teaching Resources
Let’s take a look at some different ways to use Google Forms in your classroom.
1. To collect registration information
Registration processes can be tricky. Whether you’re collecting sign-ups for band or names of students who will attend a field trip, Google Forms makes it easy to collect and organize registration information. My district uses Google Forms for students registering for instrument classes in the elementary schools every year.
Here’s a sample of our registration Google Form:
What’s great about using a Google Form for registration is that we can set conditions on what options are available by using sections within the Google Form. In this case, we ask for the student’s grade level on the first page. Depending on which answer is given, the person filling out the form is taken to a different set of questions. In this case, we list only the instruments available to be taken in that grade level on each page. Here’s the fourth grade page:
And here’s the fifth grade page:
We started using this option within Google Forms because of confusion in prior years of registration. Often, we’d have a student register for an instrument not available to their grade level, or have an incomplete paper form. Google Forms makes it clear what registration options are possible, and allows for all the information to be kept in one place.
A quick note about data privacy: check your school policies on student information. In my school, we can collect personal information about students, such as full names and phone numbers, only on our school-assigned Google for Education accounts. I wouldn’t be allowed to ask families to fill out the same form if I collected the information on my personal Gmail account. Make sure to follow any relevant privacy policies for your school setting.
With Google Forms, collecting registration information is easy. Additionally, organizing that information happens automatically. When looking at responses of a Google Form, click the Sheets button to automatically create a spreadsheet of the Form results.
On this spreadsheet, you can sort, edit, and use conditional formatting to analyze the information. For example, when a student’s parents change their phone number. I can go into the linked spreadsheet and type in the new number without having to re-enter all of the student’s registration information.
In my linked spreadsheet, we sort the registrations by the School column so that we can separate out registrations for each different school in the district. That way each teacher can cross-check registration forms with the school rosters, and can know who they will be teaching in a given class.
2. To check in on student wellness
I read about this idea on Twitter, and stumbled across Mari Venturino’s blog post on how she uses a Google form to check in on student’s well-being. Because Google Forms can be quick and allow Google Sheets to do the data analysis legwork, they allow teachers to obtain a pulse of their class very quickly. The Google Sheet can even be color-coded with conditional formatting so just a glance can show you what students might need support. With just three questions, the Google Form (available on Mari’s blog as a template to copy) can be a great way to build connections with students and foster their social-emotional health.
3. As an assessment
Google Forms are well-suited to assessment, whether it’s a quick exit ticket or a unit test. You can even make an automatically graded assessment using Google Forms’s Quizzes setting. Just click the Settings gear icon in the top right of the screen, and go to the Quizzes tab.
Once you toggle on ‘Make this a quiz”, various quiz options are available below. When you go back to the form, there will be a link with each question for the answer key, allowing you to select the correct answers. Even short answer questions can be automatically graded, allowing for students to type in a word or number to answer the question without the help of multiple-choice options.
I love using the Add Image function when I’m making an assessment using a Google Form. It’s great for adding a picture of a musical symbol, or even an excerpt from sheet music. Just click the add image button next to a question to put in a picture of your choice.
4. For an escape room
Escape rooms are fun, educational activities that encourage collaboration and creative thinking by students to solve content-based puzzles. Google Forms are a handy tool to collect the codes that lead to “breaking out” of an escape room, or winning the challenge.
You can read more about how to set up an escape room for your students in the Midnight Music blog post Music Teachers: How To Set Up Your First Escape Room.
5. To let students vote from anywhere
Want an easy way for students to vote for band officers, a concert song, or a reward? Set up a quick Google Form and it’s easy! I always let my fifth graders vote for their final performance song of the year from a list. I can set up a quick 1 question Google Form to make voting easy:
Once students vote, I can even share the resulting chart with students. When I go to the responses tab, I can see a pie chart of the vote results
As you can see, in this sample poll Option 1 was the most popular choice. My students love to see the actual results like this, since it shows them how the group voted rather than me just telling them which song won.
As you can see, there’s many ways to use Google Forms in your classroom. This tool can also be powered up by integrating with other Google tools, such as Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Classroom. You can even use Gmail to send out the link to a form!
Google Forms are intuitive, simple, and versatile. Best of all, Google Forms is a free tool that teachers can use from any internet-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone. Try it out today, and I’m sure Google Forms will become one of your favorite tools for the classroom!
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About the Writer
Sarah Joncas is a music teacher from Massachusetts, USA. She teaches kindergarten through fifth grade general music, fifth grade chorus, fifth grade band, and percussion ensemble. Before becoming a teacher, she worked with technology and educational software.In 2014, she was named a TI:ME Technology in Music Education Leadership Fellow, which allowed her to attend a music education conference in Texas and explore cutting edge music teaching technology. She has earned degrees in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University. You can connect with Sarah on Twitter or her blog Teaching Music Musings.
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