Aug 23 2008

10 Google Forms for the Classroom

Published by under Google Docs and tagged: , , ,

With the new school year fast approaching for us in England – and well on its way in other parts of the world – I thought I would share 10 ideas for using Forms in the classroom.

Google have brought them up front a bit as you can now create a new form from the NEW menu on your Docs home page. I have always liked the way that the data entry point (the form) and the collection location (the spreadsheet) are linked together – its a great tool and I hope to use it more throughout this year. Take a look here for a more detailed introduction and guide to using and creating a Google Form – this was written prior to Google bringing forms into the NEW menu.

I have created example forms for each of the different topics, follow the links in each of the ten sections. With help for JRochelle I have included a link so that you can get your own copy of the form – click on the appropriate link and it should open in your docs home.

1 ) Get to know your class

Use this form to gather some indication from your new class about their likes and dislikes, their favourite lessons or after school clubs they enjoy. It will help you to build your relationships with children as you quickly learn more about them. Get your own copy.

2) Emotion graph

An emotion graph is a simple line graph comparing a range of happiness to sadness against different points (time) in a story or film. This technique of graphing the emotional ups and down within a story really helps children to visualise the whole story in a different way. Use a Google Form to gather the children’s responses to different parts of any type of linear narrative, written or visual. We used it here in a film narrative literacy unit. You can read a more detailed explanation of how to generate the line graph from the form here. Get your own copy.

3) Spelling test

For your weekly spelling test use simple 1-10 or 1-20 numbered form (with a name question too of course) and ask the children to type in their answers as you read out the list of words. Once these are submitted apply formula to judge if they are correct or not and it becomes self marking. Steve Kirkpatrick had this brainwave a while back so check out his excellent post for more information about setting up the spreadsheet. Danny also added in his comment about using the font Wingdings for smiley faces which is a nice idea although this font is not available in Google Spreadsheets. Get your own copy.

4) Comprehension questions

I spent quite a bit of time last year looking for some reading comprehension resources that could be used on a class set of laptops. A Google Form could be created as a way to collate the children’s comprehension answers in one place for any given text. You could also share the answers with the class so that they can review what their peers are doing. This could be a formalised assessment of their understanding of a text or something more informal to start class discussions. Again Steve has grabbed this idea by the horns and tried it with his kids – well worth a look, especially at his reflective comments and lessons learned. Get your own copy.

5) Weekly reading record

The children in our school have a reading diary that they use to record information about times that they read during the week. They take it home as well as using it at school. A form could be created by the children as a place to enter data about their reading. I hear “I haven’t got my reading diary,” so many times during the year, this way they have no excuses and can access it from any computer. Alternatively a class form could also be setup to gather together everyone’s record. Get your own copy.

6) Maths data handling

Perhaps the easiest to pick up and run with, the idea of using a form to gather together maths data handling information. The form could be a simple way of collecting information about the class – shoe size, eye colour etc. It is obviously about what you do with the data that counts but their is no reason why children couldn’t design and implement their own forms – with the attached spreadsheet for analysis – as part of independent data investigations. Get your own copy.

7) Guided reading record

As part of the old literacy hour in England we take part in small focused group reading sessions. They are guided sessions usually 15-20 minutes long and we talk and work on a piece of text that is relevant to the work going on in that unit. Sometimes small written tasks are completed or it may just be a speaking and listening activity. It is widely practiced in English primary schools and this form could act as a class record for those sessions. Get your own copy.

8) Prior learning assessment

Use a form to assess what the children already know about any given topic that you are beginning. The form could be a formalised assessment with specific questions about the topic or it could be more general and open for the children to explain what they know. Either way such an assessment would allow you to have a better understanding of the current level of knowledge the children have about a topic. This same form could be returned to at the end of the unit of work to help review what they have learned. Get your own copy.

9) Library book review

We have a little corner of our classroom dedicated to our library. There is a broad range of fiction and non-fiction books for the children to enjoy whenever they want. This form could be a simple way of collecting the children’s thoughts about what they read. The children in the class could use it as a reference to help them choose a book to read. A simple and easy way to collate book reviews. Get your own copy.

10) Learning success

This is one of the ten ideas I would most like to explore this year as we continue to use Google Docs as part of our tech toolbox. Use a form to assess the relative success of the learning that has taken place during a single lesson or after a series of lessons on a topic. Invite the children to assess their own confidence after practice of something – such as a lesson on one of the written multiplication methods. The form would collate the views of all of the class very quickly and allow you to make a quick judgement in terms of pupil feedback, about whether to consolidate what has taken place, to start afresh or in fact to move on. We make our learning targets for the lesson so clear these days, along with work scrutiny, dialogue with the students, a generic student response form would allow you to further judge the lesson’s success.

This is very much dependant on the quick and easy availability of a computer in the classroom – this after all should be a small 2 minute task as part of a plenary. If the lesson involves the use of the computers then that is easier – but if it does not then perhaps a handful scattered at the side of the room for students to go to at the end of the task or as directed. Of course the students completing such a form as if it were second nature to them, would be what you aim for – so the laptop, form and technology disappear and you are left with a lucid evaluation from your students. Get your own copy.

I hope that you have found something to inspire you here or perhaps you can use these straight away. If you have not had time to explore Google Forms it is most definitely worth a look. If you have time drop me a note saying how you got on with your own ideas.

Image: “Just forms and colours

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “10 Google Forms for the Classroom”

  1.   Richard Smarton 23 Aug 2008 at 10:15 pm

    These are great ideas!

    I have used google forms to survey students anonymously about the class at the end of a unit, and I am going to use a form to collect data on students (e-mails etc) at the beginning of this school year…. many of your ideas are going to filter in too!


  2.   Anita Harrison 24 Aug 2008 at 3:02 am

    Your usage of Google Forms is great! I will definitely share this with my teachers! Great job!

  3.   bookjewelon 24 Aug 2008 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for the great ideas. I started fiddling with the form application and I already have a form for next year!! Great post; great ideas!

  4.   murchaon 24 Aug 2008 at 9:41 am

    Google forms are such a great tool and so easy to implement. I love all your ideas and know that students would much rather (an me too) fill in an online form than write a summary or answer tasks on paper.

  5.   Denise Olsenon 24 Aug 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I just set up a form for getting to know the kids. This is exactly what I needed. You rock!

  6.   Lauren O'Gradyon 24 Aug 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Great work again Tom
    Thanks for sharing !

  7.   Giannicolus Joneson 24 Aug 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Is there a way for Google Forms to include some identifier for the person filling out the form? Obviously, it’s good to be anonymous for a lot of reasons, but sometimes, it is helpful to know who wrote what.

  8.   tbarretton 24 Aug 2008 at 1:46 pm

    @Giannicolus – When the submit form button is clicked a time stamp is added to your entry. In order to identify the contributor you would need to add a NAME question to the form.

  9.   James Mansellon 24 Aug 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Great ideas for using forms. I had the same idea for creating book reviews myself and have set up a form for this purpose to use from September. If anyone is interested, you can take a look here:

    (scroll to the bottom of the page for the form).

  10.   mrkpon 25 Aug 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the great post once again Tom. I think that there are loads of ways that we can use Gdocs in the classroom – most of which we’ve not worked out yet!

    Just an additional thought about using forms in a reading record. The beauty of this system is that the children can also use the spreadsheet to sort the information that is contained eg by genre, rating out of ten or even by reviewer. Here’s the form I’ve created to add to the melting pot.


  11.   JRon 25 Aug 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Great post… Couple of additional suggestions for you and your readers – which you might want to expand upon in a separate post (pls ping me for more info if you want)

    1 – Once you have data coming in to a form, it’s really fun to try visualizing that data using “Gadgets”… select a range of cells in the resulting spreadsheet then choose “Insert” and “Gadget…” to see all the ways to visualize… You can create geographic ‘heatmaps’, simple charts, word-clouds, language translations, etc…

    2 – (for tbarret) in your post you can create a “get your own copy” link by using the “allow anyone to view” URL (the one with the /ccc in it) and then adding &newcopy to the end of the link. Anyone clicking on that new URL will get a completely separate copy of the spreadsheet with the associated form in their Google Docs document list.

    Thanks for the great ideas for Google Docs users!

  12.   isazenon 25 Aug 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Great ideas thanks !

    Maybe a stupid question to ask you but how do you put in line numbers in the last question of your library book review please ?

  13.   cobannonon 25 Aug 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Wonderful ideas for using GoogleDocs forms in the classroom! I will definitely show these as examples the next time I teach GoogleDocs to teachers in my district.

  14.   Joel Zehringon 25 Aug 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I was thinking of setting up a form for tallying the lunch count.

  15.   tbarretton 26 Aug 2008 at 1:15 pm

    @isazen Thanks for the question – in order to create a scale choose the “Scale (1-n)” from the Question Type menu. You can then create a scale for whatever you choose 1-5 up to 1-10. You get to add a text tip for the lowest and highest values. Hope this helps.

  16.   Marieon 27 Aug 2008 at 4:50 am

    Thanks for this, great uses and clear steps for creating forms.

  17.   isazon 28 Aug 2008 at 6:04 pm

    @tbarrett : Thanks for answering me ! Yes it helps me :)

  18.   Erica Hartmanon 31 Aug 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Tom,
    My name is Erica Hartman and I am presenting on Google Docs at the next GTA in Chicago on 9/23. I love your use of forms and was wondering if I could feature your ideas in my presentation.
    I also need a few sound bytes on why you like using Google docs in the classroom.

  19.   Samon 01 Nov 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Great article – I’ve just started using Google forms on my Google Site. Thanks so much for the great ideas!

  20.   Kevin Spenceron 09 Jun 2009 at 8:43 am

    Did you ever get this lunch count done?

  21.   Andrew Williamsonon 05 Sep 2009 at 11:23 pm


  22.   Banon 10 Nov 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Just came across this link today via twitter. Introducing google docs to group of teachers at the moment so delighted with ready made examples. Thanks a million for all your wonderful ideas and tips re integrating ICT into the classroom.

  23.   Amanda Dykeson 12 Nov 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Great ideas!!
    One more: I use them for rubrics. I make a check list and while students are presenting, etc, I can just check it off and print spreadsheet in the end!

  24.   Joel Zehringon 12 Nov 2009 at 3:26 pm

    No lunch count form. My school stopped taking count. I guess they just estimate?

    I do use some other forms on my class site:

  25.   brutalasiaon 18 Nov 2009 at 12:08 am

    [...] Barrett’s blog post is the reading for the [...]