Recently, my district has purchased carts full of Chrome Books. Eventually, each classroom is supposed to have a Chrome Book cart so each child has one to use. As in most cases when new technology is introduced or a new program is introduced, there is little to no time to train the teachers in the use or application of these new items. So I am learning to use Google Classroom and everything else Google on the fly!
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Google can be overwhelming and to me personally, it seems unintuitive to use. And that’s coming from a techy teacher who has been using technology since the Apple IIe and dial up! The learning curve can be steep, but I found the best way to learn Google is to focus on just ONE thing and do it well before learning the other parts of Google Docs and Classroom.
|My first attempt at a Google Form was very primitive.|
So with that in mind, I’ve recently ventured into Google Forms. If you are not familiar with Google Forms, here is Google’s information page on Forms. There are many uses for Google Forms, but for the classroom, educators have been very creative and have found many ways to use Google Forms with their students. I’ve created a Pinterest board with lots of useful pins on how to use Google in the classroom. You can see the board HERE. Consider following the board as I will curate it with more pins over time!
|My New Google in the Classroom Pinterest Board|
One thing I’m that really makes me cognizant of using this technology is that my students, who are third graders, need to be able to take the SBAC assessment in April and May. As third graders, this will be the first time they are tested on a standardized test. I’ve blogged previously on what I did to prepare my students for the “big test” HERE. There’s also a POST about the SBAC test. It is very important that students get multiple and multiple opportunities to practice answering questions on a computer as opposed to just paper and pencil. With that in mind, I used Google Forms to create assignments in which my students had to answer text dependent questions.
|Improved my Google Forms with videos, images and grids!|
My first few forms included a mix of questions: multiple choice with many correct answers, multiple choice with only one right answer, short response questions, and paragraph response questions. As I got more comfortable with creating the forms, I added images, videos and grids. The grids were great to produce charts for identifying True and False statements or for matching. I added videos so that students could practice taking videos notes to answer questions (definitely saw many videos last year embedded into the SBAC).
I only had to demonstrate the use of the forms once. Students access the form by logging onto Google Classroom and joining my class. From there, they can see the assignments I have waiting for them. All they need to do is just click on the link and begin filling out the form. Now here comes the tricky part. Answering the questions is based on a reading of a text. In this case, it was the science textbook (our current unit of study is adaptations and biomes). Sometimes, just the logistics of having an open book on the desk, a Chrome Book on the desk is daunting to 8 year olds! So we had to come up with a plan. Students would share a book between them so they would have room to use the Chrome Book while also using the book as their resource. To alleviate this logistics problem, I decided to scan the book pages and included them as an image at the beginning of the form. I can’t show that here since it is a copyrighted science book.
|Scanner Pro is great for scanning into Google Forms|
How did I scan the pages? With my phone! I use an app called Scanner Pro (I have no affiliation to the developer of this app..it’s just a great app I like to mention) to take a picture of the page, then upload to my Dropbox. From there it’s just an image that can be imported to Google Forms. By including the passage in the form, students also get practice reading passages on screen as opposed to a hard copy. That’s something that has to be practiced. My next project is to learn how to have the students annotate the text on screen.
There were some things I learned after I had created some of the forms which I would like to pass on. When you are creating a form, make sure the first item you add is for them to type their name! If you didn’t know already, when students submit their form to you, their answers populate a spreadsheet in Sheets (part of Google Docs). So essentially, you have all their answers on a spreadsheet. I found it very difficult to see who answered what by just looking at each student’s email address. So remember, first item to add is a text item for their name!
|Google Forms sends all responses to a Google Sheets|
Another thing I learned about was about grading the responses. What do you do with that spreadsheet with answers? Well, like all good teachers you grade it. Yikes! That’s a lot of grading. Found out later that Google Sheets has an add-on feature called Flubaroo which will automatically grade your sheets! Here’s a LINK to show you what Flubaroo can do. There’s even a way to add rubrics so that you can score short responses and paragraphs or essays.
|Flubaroo automates grading of the Google Form.|
Finally, one of the most interesting things I learned was that students were SO MOTIVATED to work at answering these text dependent questions. The room was eerily silent as they furiously typed away at their desks while I worked with small groups for guided reading. And we all know how hard it is to keep a quiet room during guided reading instruction.
One other thing to consider when using Google anything. Your students will have to have a google account. The teacher will also need an account and need to set up Google Classroom. Fortunately, my district sets up each student with a Google account. Setting up a Google Classroom account is very simple and just requires your Google username and password.
I would be very interested in how you use Google in the classroom. Comment below and let’s start a conversation!