Teachers Pay Teachers Resources

Sep 27, 2015

Google Forms: Revolutionary Technology in the Science Classroom

There are so many kinds of technology that I use on an almost daily basis in my science class to improve life and education for my students.  Today's post is going to focus on a tool that I use almost everyday -- Google Forms.

If you have never used google forms before, here are some tutorials. They are VERY easy to use.

All you need is a google account (personal or professional, the students will never see your email address). You can go to Google Drive and create a new form, or go to forms.google.com.  You create a form just like you create any other document, and you can choose what type of questions you want (multiple choice, short answers, scale, checkboxes, include a picture or video....).  Your answers will automatically come to a Google Sheet (like excel), and you can also get a summary of responses.  This means google will aggregate the data for you, and show, immediately, for every question, the number of people who chose each multiple choice answer, or a list of the responses.  The responses will show up on real time, so you can immediately see your students' responses.


Here is an example of the summary of results that you can get immediately after students respond.


Before I get into ways that I used google forms in the classroom, a couple of other tips that I wanted to share with you.


  1. The snipping tool in windows is a great way to include any images that you want to add in.
  2. There is an add-on called flubaroo (there are lots of great tutorials online) that will automatically grade multiple choice for you.
  3. If you only want the form available at a certain time, or to end at a certain time, you can toggle on and off the 'accepting responses,' as shown below

Ok, so on to how I use google forms in the classroom.  

I had three main uses for google forms that I want to share, although there are many others.

  1. I used it for myself to track parent contacts.  I made a quick form with boxes for student name, method of contact, and what was discussed (time and date are stored automatically).  I put a bookmark to this form on my toolbar and could quickly enter any parent contact.  Then I ended up with a spreadsheet that I could sort or search of all my parent contacts.
  2. I used google forms at the end of each unit, or topic, to do a quick survey with the kids around the learning objectives.  I could immediately get a pulse on how they were feeling about the various objectives, and know where to focus my review.  I could pull the summary up on the board and work of off that to review.  I found it much more effective that asking them to ask questions, or openly self-report. We could all be on the same page.  I had them take notes as we were reviewing. 
For example...


3. I used google forms on an almost daily basis for warm ups.  We were a 1:1 chromebook school last year, so this might not be feasible otherwise, but it is certainly something to consider for those days you have device access, or even if you want students to access on any type of device.  I would usually give them a shortened link (from goo.gl) or post the link on google classroom.  Then my form would show 2 or 3 warm up or ticket out questions.  I could even include a video on picture. I could turn the form off when the time was up, and pull up the responses on the board so we could see where we are as a class, and if we are ready to move on.  

Have you used google forms in your classroom?  If so, where do you see it being most useful?  What other technology do you use? 


Sep 14, 2015

Why Should I Absolutely Use a Warm Up or Bellwork?

Sometimes you hear people saying that the purpose of warm-ups or bellwork is just to get kids settled at the start of class, and give the teacher time to get settled.  

That may be true, but I don't see that as the main purpose of a warm-up.



In my classroom, a warm up or bellwork is a key part of instruction.  I use them as daily quizzes, worth 2 points each day.  At the end of the week they get added up for a ten point quiz grade.  They are graded 2 points if correct, 1 point if tried but partially correct, and 0 points if not tried. I used to actually grade them for correctness, but I really want the students to try, even if they are unsure, and they will get 1 point for trying.  I want to use bellwork more as formative assessment than summative.

I use the same sheet each day for each student.  They know the routine to pick up their bellwork paper on the way into class.  This helps me with attendance, as well, because all students who are present on time pick up their papers.  Those papers left are absent.  When bellwork is over (first 5 minutes), collect their papers and grade them for the next day.  It sounds time consuming, but it only takes me a few minutes each day to go through and mark a 0, 1, or 2 on each student's bellwork square for that day.  It also gives me an excellent gauge on their comprehension as we progress through the unit.

You can see the bellwork sheets that I use on a weekly basis here. This really saves me time at the copier!  Instead of copying daily bellwork, I copy once a month and then put the bellwork on the board or smartboard when they come in. They just record their answers in the daily box.

Bellwork or Daily Quiz Template

I choose the questions that I use for bellwork very carefully.

At the start of the unit, I make bellwork very open-ended.  Some examples are interpreting a diagram, or making observations about a diagram.  I have also had bellwork early in the unit that focuses on a small reading passage, a connection between last unit and the new content, or even listening to a song or watching a video and stating what they think it is about.

I also like to use bellwork to build prior knowledge, if possible, or to practice basic skills, such as determining what is wrong with a graph, or to learn new vocabulary.

As the unit progresses, I ask content based questions, usually from what we just did yesterday.  This is where bellwork holds them accountable for yesterday's work, gives them a heads-up if they were absent, and gives me a quick look at understanding from yesterday.  At this stage in the unit, I usually use concept-based questions, but write them in my own words, or in more student friendly language, although I may use some diagrams from state exam questions.

As we get closer to finishing up a unit, my bellwork will mostly consist of state test questions on the topic that we are studying.  This is where they really get used to the language of the exam, and apply what they have used.

Lastly, depending on the group of students that I have, I sometimes do bellwork in a different way.  I teach in an urban district where reading levels are very low.  There have also been years where I have had a lot of ELL's.  Many times they are struggling with not only unit concepts and vocabulary, but tier 2 vocabulary, which we don't traditionally teach in science class.  I have used bellwork as a chance to teach some of these tier 2 vocabulary words, using these products in my store.  These give students pictures of a word, and ask them to infer the meaning.  We worked on 4 or 5 words a week, and then had a quiz at the end of the week.  This really helped, and made students more confident with inferring meanings of unknown words as well.

Inferring Vocabulary Cards Set 1  Inferring Vocabulary Cards Set 2  Inferring Vocabulary Cards Set 3


Sep 4, 2015

Teacher Life Hack - Easily Maintain your Sanity

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly seeking a better work-life balance.  Teaching is one of the jobs that can easily take over your life, if you allow it to do so.  There are a lot of things that I do to maintain a work-life balance.  Many of them revolve around food prep.  I previously wrote a blog post here that touches on that.  


During the school year, no matter how much prep I do, it is hard to maintain a balance during the year.  One thing I do to try to maintain some kind of balance is take my work email off of my phone!  I especially do this on the long weekends, or over a school break.


If you aren’t ready for that step, then at least turn of the ‘push’ and the notifications, so you can check it on your schedule!


Another option would be to put it under a separate email app so that you have to choose to check it, on your schedule.


When work email is on your phone, it is too easy to feel an obligation to answer emails at all or hours, or to read an email that makes you frustrated or upset when you should be getting ready for bed, or enjoying family time.



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