A Sheet(y) View, Improved

“Oh my goodness, that’s awesome!” said a fellow Building Level Team member when viewing the spreadsheet created from a Google Form. He was genuinely excited and surprised to find out that the data collected from the survey was automatically organized. Our BLT wanted to view individual responses, but since the default settings in a sheet are not ideal for that task, I made a few quick changes to improve the clarity. Knowing how you can (and that you can!) do the following in sheets will make your eyes smile.

  1. Freeze Rows or Columns
  2. Adjust column width
  3. Wrap text
  4. Show Summary of Responses/Explore (Automatically created Charts and Graphs! So magical.)

Use playlist button to switch between videos.

Google Forms Advanced Video Playlist

For my snow day, I decided to finish up my video series on Google Forms. In the advanced playlist below, you can see how to add section titles, pictures, videos, and sections (which are actually different pages). You can learn how to make respondents jump to different sections (different pages of the form) depending on their answer to a multiple choice or drop down question. Finally, and most importantly, you can learn how to add collaborators. Two heads are better than one, right?

Remember, click the jump button  to jump to different sections.

And here’s a post on how to best view your data.


Google Forms Video Series

  1. Collect data
  2. Analyze data
  3. Take action based on data

All teachers and administrators need to follow these 3 steps. Completing the first two efficiently gets us to the most important step more quickly. Google Forms allows us to create highly customized surveys, questionnaires and assessments in minutes, send them out in seconds, and analyze much of the resulting data instantly. Also, it’s free.  Learning to do all of this will take you under 12 minutes.

The video playlist below shows how to start a Google Form, what all the question types are, additional options for questions and the form itself, how to send it out, and how to find and analyze the results. If you want to skip around within the playlist, click on the 1/17 in the top left corner.

I will be making more videos about the advanced features of Google Forms, but this will get you started. Let me know if you have any questions!

Ready for the advanced options? Need to know how to view your data in a visually appealing way? Check the linked posts.



Quarter Query

As a “specials” teacher of 9 week courses, I get to have the first day 4 times a year. Today was my 2nd first day, with a whole new batch of students. What’s great about this is I have a chance to improve upon my 1st quarter units and lessons. Or completely abandon what didn’t work and isn’t worth fixing. I’m not just making these decisions alone though, because I asked my Q1 students some questions to guide my practice in Q2.

I’ve written a similar post in the past. It has the technical info on how to create a Google Form to collect students’ reflections on their learning and your teaching. I’ve learned some things since then though, and that’s why I’m writing about this again.

This year, I thought to mention to my students that it’s customary in college to take an end-of-course survey to help the teacher make the course better. (I don’t know if that’s what they actually get used for, but it’s a good story.) It makes the kids feel important and valued. All people love to be asked their opinion. I was a little nervous about my 8th graders taking the survey for a chance to be funny and ridiculous, but I was pleasantly surprised by their honest, legitimate critiques and by some of the nice things they wrote that I’m sure they’d have never said aloud to me. They will take it seriously and give you real answers, don’t worry.

It was interesting to see the answers to “What are some things have you learned in this class?” I could see trends in what stood out to them the most and what I taught them that I didn’t really mean to, but that came out naturally in the course of showing them how to use the computers efficiently.

I also loved to see their answers on their most & least favorite part of class, and the optional extended response for “Other Comments”. I had written a post called F Words just before school started, and it contained the goals I have for my class:

  1. Frequently learn useful stuff
  2. Fail forward
  3. Fun
  4. Freedom of choice, and
  5. Freedom from Fear

From the answers given on the survey, I feel like I am on the right track! Students were able to name many specific skills, tools, or processes they learned to use this quarter. A kid wrote about him learning that it is okay to fail (as long as you keep on trying). And there are 17 instances of the word “fun”. The 8th graders especially enjoyed their freedom of choice, and although no one mentioned freedom from fear, I think that’s because fear was absent. I would not know if these F’s were coming across without the survey. Are you meeting your #classroomgoals? How will you find out?

The other questions I asked were “What do I need to improve on?” and “What did I do well?” These questions help me gauge how I am coming across as a teacher. I experimented with my 8th grade class by not giving as many instructions aloud and telling my students to find out what to do by going on their Google Classroom and reading or watching video instructions there, and then I’d answer their questions or help them if they needed it. One student wrote that he wished I would have given more verbal instructions. That’s something I’ll consider for this new group. Some students mentioned they liked the video instructions I gave because they could watch and pause to do each step. So, I will definitely continue to do those.

Honestly, I don’t think once every quarter is too much for any teacher to ask these kinds of questions. Even if you are teaching a year-long course, it’s good to check in with your students. Then, you can make adjustments to make the rest of the year better. You also get the added benefit of the good-will your students will feel toward you for letting them speak their mind, well, type it. I can promise that gathering data about your students’ opinions is well worth it. And fun!

Here’s a list of my questions, in case you want to use them too. All but #7 had paragraph size, open ended response boxes.

  1. What are some things you learned in this class?
  2. Is there anything you WISH you would have learned about this year in this class?
  3. What was your favorite thing about the class?
  4. What was your least favorite part of the class?
  5. What do I need to improve on? What advice do you have for me to be a better teacher?
  6. What did I do well? Like, things I did to help you learn.
  7. How much did you enjoy this class? (Scale of 1-5)
  8. Other comments

School’s (almost) out! Reflect with Google Forms

The end of a school year is always crazy busy. Field trips, assemblies, special projects, and final exams signal this to everyone. I suggest an addition to this list: a reflective survey. Using Google Forms, I ask my students some questions that trigger them to think about what they’ve learned in my course, and provide me with data to reflect on how I did as a teacher. To me, their learning and evaluation is what matters most. And, I can use what I learn from the survey to improve my practice next year.

To start a survey, open your Google Drive. Then click New>More>Google Forms.New-More-Google Form


There are a few different types of questions you can ask. The most relevant ones are:

Text Provides small text box for answer
Paragraph Text Provides large text box for answer
Multiple Choice Allows only one selection, chosen by radio button
Checkboxes Allows multiple selections
Choose from a list Allows only one selection, chosen from a drop down menu
Scale On a scale of 1-5….It’s a Likert scale
Grid A picture is worth a 1000 words on this type! (This screenshot shows a End-Of-Year Tech survey given to teachers, not the one I made for my students.)Grid

After you make a question, decide if you want to require students to answer that question or not, click Done and then Add item to start the next question.Done, required, add


Once you write all of the questions you are seeking answers to, find the Send Form button in the top left of the page. Send form buttonOnce you click that, you will find lots of options for getting your form to your students.Send formChoose whatever is best for you. I like to post a Short URL on our Google Classroom.

One other suggestion I have is to make the survey anonymous. I tell my students that I want them to be honest with me so I can get better. Since I teach middle school, and not every kid knows what anonymous means, I am sure to make that clear. While they are typing their answers, I stand by my “desk” (a tall projector cart) so that they won’t feel like I am peeking at their answers on screen. When making a Google Form that you want to be anonymous, be sure that the option “Automatically collect…” is unchecked.


My absolute favorite feature of using Google Forms is the Summary of Responses. It takes the data in the automatically generated spreadsheet and compiles it in neat and colorful ways. For example, on a scale question: how much did you learn scale

On a Grid question: Grid results

On Multiple Choice: Multiple choice results

On Text:Text resultsNotice the scroll bar to the side.

If you are curious about the questions I asked of my students, here’s a table of the question types, and questions.

To access the beautiful charts and graphs, click on Responses, then Summary of responses. Be enthralled. Be reflective. Be better next year.Summary of responses