Hey there! Welcome to part two of my series on how to use Google Forms in the classroom. If you missed it, head to my first post that outlines 15 different ways to use Google Forms. Pssst: It reveals what I think is the best-kept secret of Google Forms and explains how to set up auto-grading quizzes, digital escape rooms, online learning stations, and MORE! After you read that, head back here for even more ideas, including how to create differentiated assignments, choose-your-own-adventure activities, and digital rubrics + automatic feedback! In total, that’s 30 unique ideas for how to use Google Forms in your classroom. I hope these ideas help you create innovative lessons, streamline your instruction, and automate more of your teacher-y tasks.
1. DIGITAL WORKSHEET ASSIGNMENTS
If you have a worksheet that you want to digitize, then try using a Google Form to efficiently collect student submissions. Sure, you could create a doc or upload a PDF, but with a form, all submissions will be organized in one spot. Remember, if you are using multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, or simple one-word answer questions, you can even set it up to auto-grade and provide instantaneous feedback to students. You can also give students additional attempts to resubmit the form until they reach mastery. Just make sure the “Limit to one response” checkbox is not checked (in settings). To review how to create a self-grading form, head back to the first post in this series!
2. DIFFERENTIATED ASSIGNMENTS
In my first post, I revealed Google Forms’ best-kept secret, Data Validation. But allow me to introduce you to a new secret, one that has even more power for learning. This game-changing feature is called “Go to section based on answer.“ You’ll find this option in the same spot as “Data validation,” but on multiple-choice questions. (Validation only works on short-answer or paragraph questions).
This little trick allows you to create what’s known as a “branching” form, one that creates an individualized experience based on students’ answers. For example, with a multiple-choice question, you can set the form up so that if a student misses the question, they are sent to a section (maybe one that contains a video or helpful information) designed to reteach the material they need to answer the original question. When the student answers the question correctly, you can set it up so that the form proceeds in a linear fashion.
Branching a form like this is a powerful way to differentiate learning, but it can get overwhelming. The more questions you add, the more complicated it becomes. I recommend starting small and using this feature in a purposeful fashion. You can’t use it for everything (there’s just not enough time), so make it count. For a thorough tutorial on setting up differentiated forms, you can check out this post from Shake Up Learning.
3. CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES
If you can handle a “branching” form, then another engaging possibility is a creative choose-your-own-adventure activity. Simply give students different options via multiple-choice questions and route to the sections based on the answers. There are countless ways to integrate a choose-your-own-adventure activity, but here are a few examples:
- Spark creative writing with choose-your-own-adventure story
- Introduce students to a historical or literary movement with a choose-your-own-adventure experience
- Teach students to formulate their own opinion with evidence through a pro-con style choose-your-own-opinion adventure
- Simulate a historical event, science experience, etc. with a choose-your-own-adventure assignment
The best part about using Google Forms, as opposed to Google Slides, is that you can easily integrate short-answer questions for students to explain their choices as they make their way through the adventure.
4. FORMATIVE CHECKPOINTS
Instead of waiting until the end of a unit to assess students, provide feedback during the unit through formative “checkpoints” via Google Forms. You can even use Autocrat to automate your feedback (more on that in idea #5). First, break down the content or skills into manageable pieces. Then, assign checks for understanding throughout the unit so you can assess how well students are learning. When you have all of this data organized in a spreadsheet, it makes it easier to adjust your instruction. Additionally, checkpoints provide a great reference to measure growth when compared to end-of-unit summative assessments.
5. RUBRICS & INDIVIDUALIZED FEEDBACK WITH AUTOCRAT
There are plenty of options for creating digital rubrics, but one of my favorites is Google Forms because of the way it collects and organizes data. You’ll never lose track of grades again! Creating a rubric in Forms is as simple as using the “multiple choice grid” option to create your rows and columns. Just number the columns and label the rows with the criteria you are assessing. You’ll also probably want to add a question for feedback. I recommend using the “Checkbox” option and entering commonly-used feedback, as well as adding an additional “Short answer” field where you can type any individualized comments. In addition to the actual rubric, you will also need to add fields for students’ names and emails. If you can, copy/paste these into drop-down menus for easy access.
Once you’ve created your rubric form, you can use it to efficiently grade student work. All student grades will exist in your lovely little spreadsheet! Beautiful, right? Except you need to send out these grades and give your students the feedback you generated at the check of a few boxes. This is where Autocrat comes in. Autocrat is a mail-merge add-on that allows you to take data from a spreadsheet and present it in a Google doc or PDF that can be emailed or shared out. In other words, Autocrat is the tool you use to send out the rubric and feedback in a student-friendly format. Without Autocrat, the rubric, scores, and feedback exist only in your Forms-generated spreadsheet. With Autocrat, you can create a Google doc rubric template that will auto-populate and be sent out to every single student in just a few clicks.
I’ll admit: Mastering Autocrat is time-consuming at first, but it’s worth the learning curve. If I gave you a step-by-step tutorial, it would take an entire blog post. I’ve had a doc titled “Autocrat blog post” in my Google Drive since 2018ish and that post hasn’t happened yet, so I’m going to link to an incredibly helpful step-by-step tutorial post from my friend and tech queen Shana at Hello, Teacher Lady: Creating a Digital Rubric with Google Forms and Autocrat.
6. WEB QUESTS
Want to take students through an interactive, inquiry-based, and technology-rich lesson? Give an old-school web quest assignment an extreme makeover with Google Forms! You can easily insert images, infographics, and even videos so that students don’t have to open too many other tabs. Adding “sections,” or different pages, can also help to add structure to the assignment. It might be more of a Form quest than a web quest, but using a Google form to structure this kind of lesson will make it a seamless, student-friendly learning experience.
7. STUDENT-CREATED RESEARCH SURVEYS
Don’t keep the power of Google forms to yourself! Share them with your students and teach them how to use forms as a tool for conducting research during their next project or research paper. Give students questions or allow them to generate their own, and model the process of creating a Google Form. Then, instruct students to send the form out to a specific number of individuals, set a deadline for responses, and then plan a day in class for students to review, analyze, and reflect upon their research.
My students love doing this during our study of the First Amendment in journalism because they get to survey their peers, teachers, family, and friends to see who knows their 5 freedoms. I ask students to compare their findings to national data generated from the State of the First Amendment report, and then we reflect as a whole class. The discussion is always much more powerful because students are more curious and engaged since they have their own personal “research” to draw from. I also have students who use Google Form surveys when I assign a “persuasive project” in American Literature. It’s not required, but many of my students conduct their own research to use as evidence in their debates or final projects.
8. SIGN-UP FORMS
Whether you want your students to sign up for project topics or writing conferences, you can use Google Forms to make a sign-up form. Multiple-choice or drop-down menus will allow your students to select topics/times from a list, but you’ll need an add-on to ensure nobody signs up for the same thing. That’s where Choice Eliminator 2 comes in. This is a Google Forms add-on that removes an answer choice after a student has selected it. You can find a tutorial for how to set this up HERE.
9. Q&A FORMS
A Google Form is the perfect solution for those intriguing questions students ask in class when you either don’t have an answer or don’t have time to answer. To encourage curiosity and inquiry, give students an outlet for these questions by publishing a link to a Google Form in an easily accessible location. If you want all students to be able to view the submitted questions, you can set the form to show the responses. You can even make researching answers to these questions a task for early finishers.
10. PARENT CONTACT FORMS
My first year of teaching, I bought a cute little notebook and labeled it “Parent Contact Log.” I think I used it once. Ha! Here’s a solution you can actually keep up with: A simple Google Form to track all of your parent contacts. Add fields for name, date time, method of communication, and highlights of the discussion, and keep the form bookmarked or easily accessible for when you need to log a parent contact. PS: Your admin will LOVE seeing everything tracked and organized in a spreadsheet.
11. READING LOGS
Say goodbye to paper-and-pencil reading logs! Streamline your reading logs and stay connected with your readers through Google Forms. Your Google Form can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The best part, as with all Google Forms, is that all student submissions will be in one spreadsheet. With the spreadsheet, you can analyze your students’ reading habits: What books are they reading? How much are they reading? What genres and authors are they reading? You can even use graphs and charts to display some of the data and show it to your students to celebrate their progress.
12. TOPIC/PROJECT PROPOSALS
Are you trying to keep track of who is doing what during a project or essay? Ask students to submit proposals via Google Forms so you have an organized record of everyone’s topics. Once submissions are in the spreadsheet, you can sort, color-code, and use conditional formatting to organize everything. This kind of master spreadsheet comes in handy when you are providing feedback, conferencing with students, or scheduling in-class presentations.
13. REAL-WORLD EXAMPLES FORM
If you’re anything like me, you’re always encouraging students to find examples of class content “in the wild.” I do this with examples of ethos, pathos, and logos in advertisements, literary devices in songs, articles in journalism, and more. Sometimes, I ask students to submit examples so I can use them for bell-ringers, exit tickets, and assignments. Instead of asking students to email me their examples (been there, tried that), I’ve found that the easiest way to collect them is through a simple Google Form. When I’m ready to use an example in class, I can easily pull it from the form spreadsheet.
14. SHOUTOUT FORM
Spread positivity, praise, and kindness by setting up a “Shoutout” form where students can celebrate a peer or teacher! Create and post a simple Google Form where students can nominate someone and explain their admirable actions. Then, periodically review the form and find a way to acknowledge the nominees. A simple shoutout in class would suffice, but you could also create certificates or give out small tokens of appreciation to the students. (Any teachers on the form would probably be thrilled with a copied/pasted email of why they were nominated.) Whatever way you structure it, it’s a small, simple way to celebrate students’ small actions or hard work that may otherwise go unnoticed during busy school days.
15. COURSE EVALUATIONS
Instead of sifting through paper evaluations, use Google Forms to organize and analyze your end-of-course evaluation data. You can use the “linear scale” or “multiple choice grid” options to give your students a chance to rate your course on a variety of elements. Pair those numerical rating options with corresponding short answer/paragraph response questions, and you’ll have a collection of meaningful quantitative and qualitative data. You can use this data to drive your instruction the following year, and you can even compare year-to-year data in Google sheets.
And that’s a wrap (until I think of 15 more ideas)! Combine this post with Part 1, and that’s 30 different ways to use Google Forms! What other uses do you have for Google Forms? I’d love to connect in the comments below!
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