Six Ways to Use Google Forms in the ELA Classroom
I remember when online surveys became a thing. Our department had a subscription to Survey Monkey, which a few ELA classroom teachers used to create end-of-semester surveys. I remember feeling excited about this, but it was sort of like the Cinnabon shop in the mall. Sure, they’re good, but I’m not going to visit every time I go to the mall (no hard feelings toward die-hard Cinnabon fans!) just like I didn’t use online surveys frequently in the ELA classroom. It just wasn’t on the radar. Yet.
Fast forward a few years. Our school became a Google campus and things changed. It was so easy to create Google forms and share them with students. Fast forward a couple more years. What…Google Forms can now become Quizzes!? Sign me up!
I think that it is safe to say that Google Forms in the classroom are now used frequently and with purpose. I’m always interested in ways to make my life more efficient and interesting, though, so I’ve played around with Google Forms and am here to share the top six ways I use Google Forms in my ELA classroom. And I’ll also throw in a couple of my favorite Google Forms Add-ons, a.k.a. teacher Google Form hacks.
Six Ways to Use Google Forms in the ELA Classroom
1. Create a Recursive Google Form
The Gist: Create a list of skills, tasks, or texts that you want students to move through and loop the form so that students can select a task from the list, go to resources and questions you provide, and then come right back to where the started to select a different task. This is great for differentiation because you can have different students work on different tasks based on need. You can also flip the classroom by designing a “path” for students to move through in order to learn and demonstrate understanding of concepts prior to class.
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Recursive Google Form Template
I’ve recently used this in my ELA classroom to teach students how to write a close reading literary analysis paragraph.
2. Create “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories
The Gist: Students create multiple pages and use the “go to page based on answer” function in Google Forms to create story paths. Sound complicated? Don’t fret – I’ve got you covered! Here’s a helpful step-by-step tutorial that helped me get started.
3. Get to Know Your Students
The Gist: Create a survey with targeted questions to gather important information about your students. I have created this Back-to-School survey which I use at the beginning of the year to get to know my students. Through a series of open-ended questions that require some “out-of-the-box” thinking, students tell me about their interests, but I’m also gathering important information about their writing and grammar skills, creativity, and personality.
4. Gather Student Feedback to Inform Instruction
The Gist: Create a survey to ask students about their experience in the class. I give students a survey each quarter to gather feedback on texts and assessments, but also on student perceptions of the class and their environment, as well as my teaching practices. I share this data with the students, and we discuss how to continue growing together as a class.
5. Collect an Assignment
The Gist: It is easy and a huge time saver to create a simple form to collect student names and links to their online work. This is nice if you don’t have a platform like Google Classroom to collect student work in one place for assessment purposes. You might also use this for peer editing purposes by sharing the spreadsheet generated by the Google Form with students so that they can easily access and leave comments/suggestions. Our school’s writing center uses this kind of form for students to submit work for online feedback.
Change-it-up: You can also use this same premise for electronic late assessments (if you are so kind as to accept late assessments). Do you get tired of checking back to see if student x has finally submitted his assessment? You can create a Google form and give this responsibility to the student. You need three pieces of information: 1. Name 2. Name of Late Assignment 3. A link to the late assignment. You can also have students, for accountability, provide the original due date and a reason for late submission.
6. Student Reflection
The Gist: Encourage meta-cognition by having students think about their performance and skills. As students are working on an assessment, you can have them reflect on their skills and revision process. Use the same form to have students reflect at different stages of their writing process: organization, drafting, editing, and after final turn-in. It is interesting and informative to see how student responses trend over time; you can look at whole class trends or individual student trends from beginning to end of the drafting process.
Change-it-up: Have students analyze their own writing or speaking by having them explain why they made choices as an author or speaker. For example, if you are asking students to use purposeful diction to create a mood in their descriptive writing, have them choose words from their piece and explain why they used them.
Four Ways to Hack Your Google Form and Save Time
1. Google Form Shut-Down
The Gist: Use a Google Add-on called formLimiter to set parameters on how long your Google Form will accept responses or how many responses it will accept. Tick tock, kids, your quiz will only be open during class. This is also a great feature if you want to cut off homework submission after a certain date/time.
FYI: There is a newer Add-on called Form Scheduler which appears to have the same functionality as formLimiter, but with less bugs.
2. QR Code Maker
The Gist: This Google Add-on will allow you to automatically generate a QR code for your Google Form to share with students. I’m all for saving time, and this definitely saves me some clicks!
3. Form Recycler
The Gist: Have you ever wanted to just re-use questions from multiple previously-created Google Forms? This Google Add-on, formRecycler, will do the trick. Here’s a nice tutorial to get you started. The only downside seems to be that users are unable to duplicate question answer keys if recycling a Google Form Quiz question.
4. Share via Forced Copy
If you didn’t catch my previous blog tip about creating a forced copy Google Form for ELA classroom use, be sure to check it out here.