Read all the way to the bottom for cool links and helpful teacher contacts!
Michelle Morgan opened the doors to her fourth grade classroom at Central Trail Elementary on a Thursday night with her customary warm smile and exuberant personality. A new group of fourth grade parents were arriving for open house to find that their children had hit the jackpot with Michelle. In that sense, nothing had changed. But for one little piece.
Like many teachers, Michelle had used a sign-in sheet to collect parent information in previous open houses. While she wanted to shake hands and share greetings with each and every parent, time was limited. She needed to collect this information so she could develop relationships later: by phone, by email, in person. But this year, Michelle made her life a little bit easier by forgetting the sign-in sheet and creating a Google form. Parents that visited her classroom would take a moment to complete a short form on a desktop computer. The form asked parents for their name, any email addresses and phone numbers, and something Michelle should know about their child. These last comments ranged from “She’s a SWEET girl!! Hope you enjoy her as much as we do!!” to “Just that he is so excited to have you as a teacher this year!” After they completed the form on the desktop, they enjoyed Michelle’s company as she talked to them about the upcoming year.
You might ask what was so special about completing a Google form instead of a written sign-in sheet. Well, by doing this, Michelle did not need to transcribe the information and worry about handwriting problems. She did not need to watch lines of parents waiting for the clipboard. She instantly had access to the data she needed and could organize it swiftly and effectively on a spreadsheet. Even better, parents that could not attend open house could receive the form through email to complete at home. The process was smooth, and the results were powerful.
Michelle had this to say about her first time using Google forms for open house data collection: “The process was simple, smooth and ran itself. I set it up as a station during my Open House. Parents were able to utilize this with ease at my desktop computers. I love how all of the data that was collected was organized into a spreadsheet through Google forms. I was left with very valuable information on each student that I was able to use immediately, including parents’ emails, phone numbers and notes about each child. I am so glad I tried this!”
[Showcase Update: Sarah Shanahan, preschool teacher at Stranahan, used a similar form approach through her Weebly site. She was able to gather parent information and solicit snack sign-ups. Check out links for her materials below.]
At Northview High School, teachers are using Michelle’s approach to collect student information in a similar way. On the first day of class this year, Spanish teacher John Word jumped out of the gate with Honors Spanish 3. Students gathered into corners of the room based on certain choices, like what they did over the summer or what their moods are. John talked to them exclusively in Spanish the entire time, kindly encouraging them to respond in kind. John’s ability to direct his students into comprehending Spanish and then speaking it was masterful.
At the end of the activity, John posted directions for students to grab their smartphones and complete a follow-up writing activity. Like Michelle, he used Google forms. His students read the instructions from the board in Spanish (Many students discovered that smartphone translates to teléfono inteligente.), including a shortened URL that gave them access to the form. The students quickly and easily pulled up the form and completed it, sending the results to John in an instantly organized spreadsheet, just like the parent data that Michelle pulled in. Once finished, John said adios with his signature smile and warmth.
When asked about what she felt about using a smartphone to complete the activity, one of John’s sophomores said, “I like it. It’s just so easy. I use the phone and don’t even have to think about it.” She was right. The entire class had to think carefully about the Spanish content, but they never spared a second thought about John’s use of forms. And after class, John was able to examine the writing reflections all in one spreadsheet, organized clearly and easily readable. He saved time by not shuffling papers and sifting through separate student responses.
You’ve been in the same place as Michelle’s parents or John’s students. You’ve completed a Google form in your time teaching in Sylvania Schools if you ever responded to an administrative survey or completed a computer help desk form. But how often do you use forms in your classroom? Teachers around the district are using this simple tool in a variety of ways. Not only are they collecting information like Michelle and John, but they’re also generating quick surveys in class to gather student feedback and direct the lesson agenda. They’re using forms to gather student evaluations at the end of the year. They’re using forms for project proposal submissions and group development. They’re using forms for tests and quizzes and even to schedule student makeup work. This easy-to-learn application in Google Drive is becoming more and more common in Sylvania Schools, and as Sylvania teachers continue to use it, they develop it into more creative and powerful applications.
Would you like to try this cool Google tool for yourself? It’s not too late to use it for your parents at open house! You could talk to Michelle or John or another expert in your building. You could request help from Alex Clarkson at the secondary level or Darren Estelle at the elementary level. You can also check out the links below for more information and guidance. However you proceed, good luck!
Check out these links for more information!
Want to talk to a fellow teacher? At the secondary level, seek out these Forms experts!
At Timberstone, Chris Harrington, Lauren Clark, Marilyn Waite, and Lynn Nedrow
At McCord, Dave Budas and Marilyn Waite
At Arbor Hills, Tony Cutway and Angie Robinson
At Southview, Melissa Tusing, Katy Creecy, and Shelley Bielak
At Northview, Karolynn Nowak, Kathryn Nelson, Beth Emerson, Don Wachowiak, and George France