With the beginning of the school year comes a lot of information gathering. There is a lot of information that we want from parents and other teachers as we prepare our classrooms and our brains for the year ahead. This usually means a lot of paperwork and a lot of emails.
As a teacher, I typically get parents to fill out these forms at Meet the Teacher Night or at a home visit. As a parent, I've gone to many Meet the Teacher Nights and have filled out forms for my children's teachers.
This year I am going to try something new; I'm going to use Google Forms. This isn't going to work for everything, but it will work for the information that I am collecting for my own records. Here are some ways that Google Forms could make the beginning of the school year a little easier:
To gather parent contact information.
As a parent, I have filled out multiple copies of this type of form for teachers. They want to know the best way to reach me and how I might be able to volunteer in the classroom. While, as a teacher, I haven't used this type of form I imagine organizing the information for a class of students is even more tedious than filling it out as a parent. Creating a Google Form for this can be faster for parents and help teachers organize the information more quickly, easily accessible in their Google Drive. It also cuts down on paper use.
To gather information about your students.
As teachers, we like to get as much information as we can about our incoming students. As a parent I've been asked about my thoughts on my child's strengths and weaknesses, their favorite subjects, their least favorite subjects, and what I hope for the school year for my child. Using Google Forms to gather this information allows teachers to quickly organize it in their Google Drive. It also takes out the guess work of reading unfamiliar handwriting. Using less paper is a nice benefit too.
Organizing Co-Teaching Schedules, etc
This is the time of year that we are working out schedules. Some teachers schedules include co-teaching with multiple teachers or pulling students for services. I know that the speech pathologist that I work with does her rounds walking to each teacher to find out the best times and then travels around again or sends emails to problem solve the scheduling conflicts. Creating a Google Form for gathering the initial information of best times, etc would allow therapists and teachers whose schedules are intertwined with the schedules of other teachers to get their scheduling done faster (while keeping the information organized nicely in their Google Drive).
All teachers have data collection needs. Many teachers also have other adults in their classrooms helping whether it be assistants, other teachers, student teachers, or parent volunteers. Google Forms can be used to collect data in an organized way. For example: Your student teacher is going to be assessing your students on their knowledge of shapes. Create a google form requesting information you would like for each student (don't forget the student name and the date for data collection purposes!), create a QR code labeled with the activity, and your student teacher can quickly and easily take data that is organized and ready for you in your Google Drive.
The beautiful thing about using Google Forms to help in this way is that no matter where you are, as long as you have access to the internet, you have access to this information. You're at an in-service and need to access information? You have it. You planned on going in to work on progress reports but your little one is sick? Don't worry, your data sheets are on your Google Drive. You also can't misplace it! I'm famous for wandering around the classroom with something and putting it down...and forgetting where I put it. This will definitely help me!
What are some other ways you use Google Forms to help you work smarter and not harder?
This morning I woke up with an idea: I think I can use Nearpod for morning sign in and lunch count.
This would be a great way for me to teach my students some of the basics of Nearpod and to get more comfortable with using it.
This would be a great way for me to have practice accessing my reports and using the results.
I made a beeline for my computer and started to play around. Like most things I do, I over thought it at first. Then, I realized that students are required to sign into a lesson to join it. Attendance, done! Now lunch count. My tinkering brought me to the conclusion that the 2 activities best suited for lunch count were poll and quiz. If I use quiz, then I'm counting how many people chose which answer. Poll has the information organized already meaning less work for me. Students get practice spelling and typing their name (good things to practice in elementary school!) and I will have a quick and easy way to see what my lunch count numbers will be. Win/win!
I'm excited about the possibilities! I hope that you play around a bit and give it a try too! Below is a screencast if you want to see exactly how I created it.