What We Learned: Using Google Forms for a Math Quiz

We never signed up for this, but we’re learning. Educators around the world have been thrown into something they weren’t prepared for. Yes, we use technology in the classroom, but being told you’re teaching from home, completely online, in a matter of days is slightly different. For some, the teaching is the easy part – it’s the barrage of emails, online video meetings, and following up with students that’s taking up the most time.

The educators I know are doing their best to keep the instruction moving and to keep their kids engaged. And most importantly, they’re taking risks and trying things out. Some are succeeding with new tasks the first time, others will succeed after some adjusting. At my school, we’ve been using GSuite and Google Classroom for a couple of years. We’ve had training on SeeSaw, Flipgrid, Google Forms, and a lot more. Even with all of this training, we are learning on the fly.

Recently, one of my teachers wanted to use Google Forms to give a math quiz. We worked on it together, brainstorming back and forth. It went okay.

Here’s what we learned.

BEFORE this even went out to students, we collaborated on setting up the quiz correctly. The teacher created the quiz and the answer key and sent it me to test a few things. The data validation for the answers was good, but there were a few questions where we needed to test the format of the answer. I had to Google a few things to get the validation correct, but we worked a few things out and changed the format of some questions to make it work much better.

Below are the settings that were used for the quiz. The locked mode is the way to go so students cannot open any other tabs while taking the quiz.

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After the students took the quiz, the teacher reflected on how the quiz was graded. She chose to have the grades released after manual review. (You can see this in the settings above) This worked out well in this case because the teacher realized that she needed to regrade parts of the quiz.  Questions like the ordering problems that were worth 5 points counted the entire problem incorrect even if the student had some of the numbers ordered properly.  In the future, she will change how some questions are asked so that the form grades the quiz “correctly”.  Also, with the word problems, she wanted to give students partial credit if they had part of the answer correct.

I took the quiz for practice and received an email after the grades were manually released.

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I love the message the teacher put in the email. She’s learning along with the students and letting them know is so important. After clicking “View” I was able to see the entire quiz and the correct answers. This email is great for students. Below is an example of a question that will be adjusted in the future because the teacher wants to give partial credit for the answer. If anyone knows how to do that, let me know.

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Overall, this teacher’s first attempt at using Google Forms for a math quiz was fairly successful. I was glad I could help work through it. Collaborating on these types of projects makes things so much easier. If you’re new to this, find a buddy to work with, you’ll be much happier and most likely, more successful.



5 Very Useful Chrome Extensions

If you’re a Google Chrome user, you’re well aware of the incredible benefits of extensions. These extensions are little programs that enhance the use of the Chrome browser. There are so many available from the Chrome Web Store that your head will spin, but choosing the ones that will make your life easier on a daily basis is a little more tricky. Below are 5 extensions that I use on a regular basis and I think you should too.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.21.03 AMGoogle URL Shortener – I am often copying and pasting links to share with others. In many cases, the links I’m sharing are extremely long and while pasting a long link into an email might be fine with others, I prefer to share a link that doesn’t take up two lines of the message window. That’s where Google URL Shortener comes in. Click on the extension and it will automatically create a short URL. You can copy the link easily and if you need a QR code for the URL, the extension creates one as well. (Right)

Buffer – If you share URL’s via social media, Buffer is the extension for you. While there are other extensions that can share to various social media sites, I like Buffer because you can schedule what you share. I use it almost exclusively with Twitter and instead of sharing a bunch of articles in a short period of time, I schedule the tweets so they go out every couple of hours. You can also check the results of what you’ve shared.

quickcreateGoogle Docs Quick Create – If you’re a Google Docs/Sheets/Forms/Slides user, this extension will help you create new Google Docs faster than anything else. Simply click on the extension and choose the type of Google Doc you want (right) and you’ll get be on your way. You no longer need to go to the Apps page or to docs.google.com. This extension makes creating a new Google Doc quick and easy.

TechSmith Snagit – I’m often taking screen shots and finding myself creating short screencasts. To handle these tasks, I head to the Snagit extension. You can take a screenshot of the entire screen or just a section of your choice. Use the annotation tools to add arrows or text and then download or get a link to the image. If you need to create a screencast, this is a great extension for that as well.

Tab Scissors – Do you often find yourself flipping back and forth between two tabs? Do you create two separate browser windows and resize them side by side? If so, Tab Scissors will handle this for you. When you click the extension, the tab you’re working in, and any tabs to the right will be in one window and the tabs to the left will be in another. You don’t have to do any resizing yourself, it will be done for you with this extension.

Google Drive Integration

Pics4LearningMy students have been using Google apps when they’ve come to my class in the computer lab. I love the ease of use, the fact that work is saved automatically, and that all of the student work is in one place. The idea that students can access it from whatever device they want, from wherever they want, is icing on the cake.

I discovered something this week that I don’t recall seeing and really loved.

My second graders are making an animal alphabet book using Google Slides. They are researching their facts using Pebble Go and adding their info to their slide. In addition, the kids need to add at least one photo as well. I decided to have the kids use Pics4Learning as the first option when searching for an animal image. The site has copyright free images and is very easy to use. I haven’t used the site in a while, but noticed something pretty awesome – the option to save the pictures to Google Drive – see photo on top right.  Rather than saving the image to their computer and uploading it to the slide, the kids could simply save the image straight to their Drive and then insert the image. I loved this and it was so easy for the kids.  No more downloading to the computer, remembering where it was saved, and uploading it to the document.

Unnamed image (3)Saving the images directly to Drive is such an advantage. Knowing where the images are located and having access to them from anywhere is such a plus. I’d love to see more sites offer Google Drive integration and have a Save to Drive button like Pics4Learning, but in the meantime, there is an alternative. If you add the Save to Google Drive Extension to your Chrome browser, you can right click on an image and save it directly to Google Drive. While this isn’t quite as easy as clicking on a button, especially for younger students, it will do the trick.

The more I use Google Apps with students the more I realize how awesome they are. It makes me wonder why more teachers are not using these tools with their students.