Jun 25, 2020 - 6 min read - 411 views
Google Forms for Classroom Management and Organization
Most of the time you encounter forms they are sent in emails as a survey to gather information. The survey use of a Google form is valuable in itself, but there is so much you can do with forms that will help you in your classroom.
A google form is a lesser-known feature within google drive. Think of a google form as an easily shareable data input program. You can customize the form to suit your many different classroom needs. As you create the form you can add different sections that can be filled out and submitted. There are a variety of question options, short response, multiple-choice, checkboxes, etc. When the form is submitted, you can see data collected in a variety of ways within the form itself or export the data entries to google sheets. I prefer using google sheets to view responses because I can manipulate the tables to show me only the parts of the information I want. Here is a video that explains the basic features with more detail. It is longer than I wanted, but there is just so much I wanted to share about how to set these forms up.
Now that you understand a bit about the basic functions for Google forms. Let's look at how creating specific forms can help you streamline your classroom systems and teaching responsibilities. I have a personal classroom Ipad and an old personal laptop that I use every day in my classroom to facilitate the implementation of some of these ideas. I have them set up on a table near my entry to my room with a very long sleep timer mode set so I do not have to enter a password to access.
Google Forms for Classroom Management and Organization
Hall pass log - Keeping a physical log of student's activities is required by a lot of schools. There is always the option of a notebook or a clipboard with a printed form that needs to be filled out by the students. I did this and found that this simple task took quite a lot of time, especially the time entry part. So I turned to Google forms for a solution. Create a form where students type their name, check the location they are going to or returning from (RR, Nurse, Library, Office, etc.), and select if they are leaving or returning to class. With these 3 entry fields, I am able to see all the important information in google sheets. The best part is that when a form entry is submitted a date and time stamp automatically generates so you know EXACTLY how much time a student was out. Also, if you have a chronically wandering student you can sort the entries in google sheets by alphabetical order and see all of that student's movements in 1 location. Now there is always the chance they enter wrong name information, but the timestamps would still greatly help if that was the case.
Parent/ Guardian Contact Logs - If you are not keeping a log tracking parent contacts you are putting yourself at risk for a huge headache down the road. ESPECIALLY in the time of distance learning. I have never actually needed to drag this out to support myself in a parent altercation, but you never know when things can turn sour, so protect yourself. I trust my email to keep track of electronic communications, but any other contacts regarding behaviors, situations, and even praising phone calls get logged in my contact log google form. I actually keep this form as a toolbar favorite so I can open the form and enter the information as I am making a phone call. Questions on the form include student name, adult contacted name, method of contact, a summary of the discussion, and follow up. I particularly like that I can type out the discussion, what I said in a voicemail, or explain the phone system issues immediately. I type fast so this is quicker and more detailed than a written log. Again, the form entry is dated and timestamped automatically so there is an exact record of that. I hope you never need to pull out the data you collect using this form, but it is not worth skipping this step.
Behavior incident reports - Again, it is never ideal to have to use this form, but if there is a student exhibiting less than desirable behavior you should probably log it. Most of the time teachers are...I don't want to say forced but let's just say highly encouraged to limit referral usage. I actually understand that logic...to a certain degree. I have only had to write a referral on a student a handful of times in my 7 years... like less than 10. I feel lucky to have been able to resolve issues with students directly or have another teacher or administrator support that student when my interventions were not successful. BUT, when I did end up having to write and submit a referral or start an EBD or Behavior RTI process I had a ton of previous interventions and documented incidents to share and support my reasoning. If a student becomes a major hindrance or safety concern in your class, I have never had an administrator not support further action, especially when you can explain a detailed pattern of behavior. If you do not log a situation soon after the incident, you lose important details that make that situation seem less intense in the retelling. Unfortunately, vague or generic explanations of behaviors mean SOME administrators do not take it seriously and will not back you up with action other than a talk and a lollipop. My behavior incident report includes the students' name, time of the incident (even though there is a timestamp when you submit a form, I often am busy de-escalating a situation or getting the class back on track so I complete these as soon as I have time during planning, lunch, or after school). I also include the location of the incident and the nature of the incident including actions taken. I hope this is a form you use infrequently but log what you need to protect yourself and get your student the proper intervention or care they need.
Book and supply check out - I love having stuff for my students to use. I equally love getting those items back so others can use them in the future. Now, this does not eliminate classroom library books getting lost forever but having a log of which supplies are with which students helps me follow up and get a satisfactory rate of return. Things included in this form, student name, item name, item condition, and a statement of responsibility for that item including a promise of returning it in the same condition that the student received it. The student has to agree to the responsibility statement before they submit and can borrow my supply.
Inventory - I used to have to keep track of which students received which book so I made a form for that and passed around the iPad. This is done by our school bookkeeper at the school I am at now and is scanned and quicker, but just in case your school is not there yet you can make that process easier with a form. Also, if you want to create an inventory database of your or your department's supplies (cough cough, science lab closet chaos) just have a simple form to enter information in and then make the spreadsheet viewable to your team. The form should include things like item name, quantity, location, and description if needed.
Parent guardian Contact Information - Send your parent contact information sheet home in a welcome letter and include a QR code that leads to your form. In the age of distance learning, you could also send it linked directly in a welcome email to parents. In that form, have parents let you know what's going on with that student at home, any concerns for learning, and of course best contact information. I also like to include things like allergies and internet/computer access at home in my forms. I go back and forth between digital and paper format for this based on my student's and school demographics. Some parents have time to fill out a printed form that they physically see on the dining room table but figuring out the QR code and submitting doesn't always happen.
If you want to know more about how I use google forms for student assessment read this post.