You are already wondering: “What more do I need to know?” I am sure you get lots of student information or it is readily available. We use SchoolTool and can look up addresses, phone numbers, birthday, parent numbers, etc. from anywhere. I teach kindergarten, so we also have screened most students, attended some special education meetings, and (since I have live in town) run into half my class at Wegmans (so sorry if you don’t have a Wegmans to brag about).
There is so much more I need to know! I don’t know who I should call first for the little things, if I can add their name to the class contact sheet, and which kids can spend money on breakfast each day (because kindergartners don’t understand that parents pay for them to eat one bite and toss it). If you teach older students, you may want to ask some intro questions and it would be nice to have that information right at your fingertips!
History: I seriously used to type up all I knew, print it, have parents check it, and then type changes back in my document. Then I needed to save it at home and at school so I could always access it. (Before that, it was just a stack of papers to lose…)
Then I met Google (and we fell in love) and last year I tried out Google forms and it CHANGED MY LIFE! I specifically remember dancing around because I was so excited with how well it worked out.
Future (or now actually): I create a Google Form (so easy) and the same one can be used/tweaked year after year. I get the link to parents (or embed in classroom website if you are fancy) and they fill it out. I am left with a handy, dandy spreadsheet holding all my wonderful information! Available wherever I go! Technology is amazing!
So trust me on this! I will try to be brief (not my strength) and then give you an easy to follow template and tutorial to get you started in no time!
- A Google account (If you have Gmail, this is done!)- It is free and easy to set up if you do not have one yet.
That’s it. So easy and all you need! Now if you plan to have parents fill this out at a parent night or orientation (or have students fill it out), you will also need devices available for those without a smartphone. I had a stack of iPads, but Chromebooks, laptops, or classroom computers would work as well (needs an internet connection).
The parents (or students) DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, need to have Google accounts! They just need internet access. You could send the link we get (at the end) in an email and they could fill out when convenient.
How do I do it??
First- Figure out what you need to know. You probably already have a letter or form that parents fill out. Use that to start. My template will have ideas, but you want this to work for you!
Next- Watch this video, then click on this link, and hopefully it works (after 3 edits, I think I have it figured out)!
Please leave questions in the comments if something wasn’t clear!
I forgot two important things, so check this out for a little more (under 2 minutes, I swear)!
Last few tips:
- Take the link and turn it into a QR code for even easier access (plus it teaches your parents/students how to use QR codes)! Here is more information on how to do that! You know you can put that code right on your welcome letter!
- Make sure everyone has access! I mentioned it before, but doing this at an Open House or Orientation is valuable. You could a make a paper copy for anyone who needs it, or call and fill it out for them!
- Play around with the features. I learned about Google Forms, by using Google Forms! You can explore the other question types and advanced options. (I use it to collect my reading group data- GAME CHANGER. More to come on that).
- Share your ideas and uses! Don’t just keep them to yourself! Leave a comment and share for future readers (but mostly me) to enjoy!
So I think we are good now and you are off to have this life-changing experience with Google Forms! Send others my way for the template to get started easily!
STAY TUNED: Part III Why are you still writing your plans on paper??
Did you check out Part I??