It’s a Google World and I’m Just Teaching In It (Part 1)

imgresHoly Google!  Have you gotten the opportunity to start using all of the amazing Google resources in your classroom yet?  I am kicking myself for not implementing these tools in my classroom earlier, and I haven’t even been teaching for very long!  I want to take the opportunity to share a few very short and quick strategies with you that I have used in my classroom and that are very simple to implement in any classroom, and are also very quick and easy.

Trust me. I know what most of you think when you hear about a new piece of amazing technology that you can use in the classroom – a used car salesman probably comes to mind when I start talking and you immediately want to tune me out.  I also know what it is like to get information overload on new strategies and then forget about them two days later because it is impossible to use all of them in your room in the short window of time you have before you information overload again at the next inservice day.

The great thing about these Google resources is they are something that you can create in five to ten minutes and they can be used immediately in your classroom!  It is seriously a very good thing that my plan period is 1st hour because I am planning and creating Google activities the day I teach them on a weekly basis. Nothing says professional teacher quite like procrastination!

First, I want to introduce you to one of the ways that I use Google Forms in my classroom. I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference featuring Anita Archer and her presentation on explicit instruction.  One of the items she discussed was vocabulary and the importance of revisiting key vocabulary words throughout the school year.  It isn’t enough to introduce the words at the beginning of a unit and test them at the end of the unit.  If they are truly words that are essential to our content then we should be teaching and reteaching them well after they have been tested on the words, and in a variety of different ways.

This led me to vocabulary paragraphs where I require the students to use vocabulary words to describe the region of the world that we are learning about.  They are not using the definitions of the words, but are rather proving that they know how to use the words in a sentence and that they are able to make connections between the different words to form a well composed paragraph.

In an effort to be tech savvy and save the rainforests, I created a Google Form for students to complete this assignment.  A Google Form is created by the teacher here and then shared with the students and is composed of a series of information boxes that students must fill in.  (Head over here to get official Google Forms support. Get a simple tutorial here and a more detailed version here.)

I created my form and shared the link on my school website to make it as quick and easily accessible as possible.  This is an example of one vocabulary paragraph form that I have assigned to students.  Directions are at the top on the screen, then students type their first and last names, select their hour from the drop down menu, and type their paragraph in the box.  Essentially an online activity that’s easy to use and easy to assess!

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.43.21 PM

The best part about Google Forms is the way responses are recorded for teachers to use.  After a student clicks the blue Submit button at the bottom of the screen, they receive a confirmation screen letting them know that their response has been recorded.  On the teacher end of the Google Universe, a Google spreadsheet is automatically produced that includes responses from every student.  Google Sheets is essentially Google’s version of Microsoft Excel and can be accessed here.  This is an example of a Google Sheet containing responses from students on one of my vocabulary paragraph assignments.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.49.10 PM

Teachers in my building have also used Google Forms for book reports, group project sign ups, quizzes (more information to follow on this, including a built in grading tool!), and exit tickets. Be sure to check out this list of 81 ways to use Forms in your classroom.

How could you use Google Forms in your classroom?  Comment below, I’m always looking for new ideas for my classroom and I would love to borrow (let’s be honest, steal) your ideas!

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