Cool Tool - autoCrat
One of the great things about Google Forms is that the information submitted through the form is populated in a spreadsheet. All the data in one location, easily sortable. You can even share the spreadsheet with others so they can see and use the information.
But as great as spreadsheets are, somethings they can be a little overwhelming to view, especially if they are filled with many fields containing a lot of information. What if you wanted each form response recorded in a separate, well-organized document, a document that could automatically be created and saved in your Google Drive as well as sent to the person who submitted the form? Enter the free Google Sheets add-on autoCrat.
As I wrote in a previous post, my teachers use two Google Forms to submit their agendas for and notes from their weekly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings. With autoCrat, not only will I receive the submitted information in the forms' corresponding spreadsheets, but now both the teachers and I will receive the agendas and notes in separate, printable, easy-to-ready documents.
To see exactly how to use autoCrat and how it can take your Google Forms and Sheets to the next level, watch the tutorial below. Hope it's helpful!
While having lunch at a local eatery today, I noticed my eye doctor dining at a nearby table. As I consumed my chicken tacos, a particular thought came to mind -- our classrooms need to be more like a visit to my eye doctor’s office.
That’s right. My eye doctor.
See, my eye doctor is awesome. I don’t dread my annual eye examination. I actually look forward to the appointment. As someone who has worn glasses/contact lenses since the beginning of the fourth grade, I’ve had a lot of eye examinations in my life. But never had I looked forward to a check-up until I began seeing my current doctor. Why?
Because my doctor is encouraging. He makes me feel like I get the correct answers to his questions -- questions that don’t have right or wrong answers.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with a visit to the eye doctor, here’s how it works. You sit in the chair and look through what’s called a phoropter, a weird-looking machine containing a whole bunch of interchangeable lenses (see the image above). In order to determine your prescription, the doctor goes through a series of questions I call “Which Looks Better?” For each eye, the doctor has you look through two different lenses in the phoropter, asking you which lens gives you clearer vision. Depending on your answer, the doctor changes the lenses to try and find the perfect lens combination for you.
Here’s how the conversation sounds with my doctor:
Doctor: “OK, which do you like better? Lens 1 or 2?”
Doctor: “Good. Now if I change it to this, which is better? 1 or 2?”
Doctor: “Good. Good. How about this? 1 or 2?”
Me: “Still 2.”
Doctor: “Good! Now, if I change this here, is it clearer or just a little smaller?”
Doctor: “Good! Good! OK, great job! That’s it. Things look good.”
The doctor asks me a question, I give him an answer, and he says, “Good job!” Remember, there is no correct answer to any of these questions. I’m simply answering based on what my eyes tell me looks good. Yet the doctor praises me. And each time he does, I feel a little prouder about myself. I think, “Alright! I’m acing this test!”
And that’s just it -- it isn’t a test!!! I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, but I still receive positive feedback for my efforts. Here lies the connection to our classrooms.
How often do we praise our students for doing what they’re supposed to do? How often do we provide positive feedback for the expected, unglamorous things that go on during the school day?
Like taking out a notebook without talking. “Great job, Noah. I appreciate you getting your notebook out quietly.” Yes, Noah was supposed to do this without being disruptive, but how much more encouraged is Noah feeling after this comment?
Like turning in an assignment on time. “Thank you, Grace. Great job getting your work done.” Yes, Grace was supposed to turn it in on time, but how much more likely is she to do it again because of this praise?
Like showing up at school. “Hey, Trevor. I’m glad you’re here today.” Yes, Trevor is supposed to be at school. But how much more will he look forward to coming tomorrow because of a comment like this?
I look forward to going to my eye doctor, because he makes me want to go. He does so by being encouraging, by offering praise, even for actions that are expected. How much more would our students want to come to our classrooms if they knew they could expect this same kind of encouragement? Give it a try. It’ll make a huge difference in the lives of your students.
I love Google Forms. As an elementary school principal, I use them all the time. All. The. Time. From a parent contact log to gathering staff meeting feedback to finding out which parents are interested in joining our PTA Board, I use Google forms on a daily basis. If you're not already familiar with this powerful tool, check out this series of tutorial videos on what has become my favorite online tool.
The great thing about a Google Form is that the data gathered from the form is neatly organized in a Google Spreadsheet (A.K.A. Google Sheet) that can then be sorted and/or filtered.
Last year I created two new Google Forms my teachers could use to submit their agendas and notes from their weekly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings. My goal was to provide teachers an easy-to-use method of submitting their grade level's agenda and notes while providing me a central location for all their responses. It worked great. I had one form and corresponding spreadsheet for their PLC agendas and one form and spreadsheet for their PLC notes. Each week, I could sort the responses by grade level to see what each team was working on.
The problem came as the year progressed. With each passing week, more and more responses populated each spreadsheet. While I was able to sort the data by grade level, I still had to do a lot of scrolling due to the growing number of responses and large amount of text in some of the fields. What I needed was a way to filter the data for each grade level into a different worksheet (or tab) within the same spreadsheet. That's when I discovered EZ Query.
EZ Query is a free add-on for Google Sheets that enables you to create different worksheets (tabs) within one spreadsheet that show only the data you want. This easy-to-use add-on makes the already-amazing Google Forms/Sheets combination even better. Rather than write about how it works, allow me to show you in the short video below. Enjoy!
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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