I love my students – adore them, truly. But, somedays, I get tired of the monotony of the same questions. Seriously, if I don’t have something in place, I could answer the same questions 150 times in one day. I like a classroom that manages itself – enter QR Codes and Google Forms. Last summer, I read THIS post on Peppy Zesty Teacherista and thought, I could totally implement that in my classroom…She utilizes a digital restroom pass for her elementary students, and it works!
First, I had to decide what information I would need to digitize. Of course, this may be different for every teacher, but we live in the digital world, and I love the digital world. I tried to digitize as much of the mundane as I could. I limited mine to 6 topics (Some, of course, work better than others for me):
- Any student who is tardy to class must fill this out (with an excuse or not). Have you ever been teaching a great lesson, and a student walks in with a post-it note from their previous teacher explaining that they were making up another test? Yeah, me neither…Just kidding! But, seriously, I throw them away immediately and forget about them because I can’t stand extra papers on my desk. I set this up so that a student would not have to speak with me. If they are consistently tardy to class (excused or not), I have documentation. If they are tardy without an excuse, I would take “soft skills” points away. As I’ve mentioned before, I am able to assess soft skills in my class because it is my very first standard. One of the major purposes of my class is to prepare students for the working world.
- If I’m being honest, this particular QR code does not work for me! I think I forced a student to use it in the first couple days of school last year when I realized that filling out the form was just wasting time. This year, however, I intend to push this more because students began taking advantage of a relaxed tardy policy in class…Seriously, give them an inch…
- Missing Assignments:
- This is a form I had already been using, and it works. I believe the action of having to complete this form makes the students start thinking about it. This way, THEY know that YOU know that they’re a little behind. If a student is missing an assignment past the due date, they must complete this form. It is also an acknowledgement to them that a parent will be notified via phone or email if the assignment isn’t submitted within a day or two. I’m altering my policy just a little bit this year, and I think this form will be even more powerful.
- I really believe this form is VERY helpful in communication with parents and at parent-teacher conferences. Also, it forces me to consider who is consistently late on work and really focus on them.
- Zero Grade:
- For those who just flat refuse to turn something in, they have to complete this. It results in a phone call home.
- This form doesn’t work for me because I’m a sucker for these kids, and I hate putting a zero in a grade book. It usually ends at the “missing assignment” grade, and I beg and beg and beg until I annoy them so much they submit their assignments. I need to stop…I’m not helping them, and I know this…That’s the first step, right? Understanding…
- Request to Retest:
- This is my most-used form, and it works.
- I don’t really believe that a summative assessment should just end there. Our goal as educators should be to foster learning. I allow every single student to retest on nearly every single test (With the exception of our state testing, of course).
- My policy: I don’t care if they made a 99 or a 0, everyone can retake any test, BUT they MUST:
- Retake it on their own time – before school, after school, or during lunch
- Schedule an appointment with me on the form to retake it and have a plan of attack for studying ahead
- Come for the retake with their form of study so that I can see evidence of additional study.
- Teacher Conference:
- This form, I use for them to schedule an appt. to communicate with me about work they’re not understanding, future career plans, etc. Anything we don’t really have time for in class.
- This is another form I have rarely used because I will speak with students at anytime, so they really don’t need to plan ahead for it. I am someone who likes being available nearly all of the time. I give them my email to communicate with me and assure them that I check my email FREQUENTLY (I mean, like, very frequently…It’s kind of sad – usually, they can expect a response from me in 30 minutes or less).
- Hall Passes:
- This is exactly as it sounds. It’s for a pass out and back in. The students can use this for exiting and returning to the classroom.
- I rarely used this one because it was also fairly tedious. I will probably use it more during the school year this year, though, because it is a great visual in the classroom and helps with checks and balances.
I was going to have a behavior modification form, but I decided I really didn’t want to deal with it. High school students are usually pretty receptive to, “Hey…Stop that” as long as they know they’re in a well-respected environment.
The next step for me was to create the Google Forms. If you haven’t played with Google Forms, you should start today! I LOVE Google Forms, and I use them for just about everything now! The link is: forms.google.com
You can start your own “Blank” form (which is what I do), or you can use their templates. Since I see no reason to use templates, I always start fresh with a “Blank” Form.
Give it a title of your choosing. This is SO simple….Just click in the box, and you can type.
Next, give it a little description. I like to do a quote or explain the form. Since most forms are self-explanatory, I always like a fun quote. You could probably add a meme…Ooh…I love that idea…May be making some new changes.
Put any information you want or your question, etc.
If you want to change the format or type of questions, you can just click the little arrow at short answer, and choose what works best.
I’m all for making the answers a requirement, so you can require them by clicking the circle here.
To add other questions, images, titles, etc., you can choose any of the options on the right hand side next to the questions.
Google automatically saves everything, so it’s great! If you want to “Preview” what the students will see, click the eyeball on the top right hand corner.
Under “Settings” which is the little cog, you can change the color of the page. I make all my pages a different color as another visual for the students to know they’re on the right page.
Under “Responses”, you can view student responses Individually or as a Google Spreadsheet which is VERY helpful.
Seriously, I cannot sing the praises of Google Forms enough…
Finally, I created a QR Code for each of my Google Forms. A QR Code is essentially a barcode that students can scan from their phones or devices (that have a camera) to visit a certain website of your direction. QR Codes are GREAT if you have a device-heavy population. They can become tricky if students do not have devices, but I’m of the opinion that MOST of my students do have devices. Also, I do not SIMPLY rely on this process for the students because that just would not work – I use my judgment to ensure that students are not falling between the cracks. That being said, I have the QR codes prevalent in my classroom, but I also have links to the forms on Canvas which is the LMS we use in our county. The key to make this work is to make it readily available.
My first round of forms was a nightmare. I misunderstood the website (or, more likely, it was not clearly explained), and I lost all my QR codes within 14 days because I refused to pay for them! To save you from my headache, THIS SITE is where it’s at for free QR Codes.
I copy the url from the preview view in my Google Form into the Website URL of the QR Generator, select Static (because, really, I don’t need the fluff of a dynamic code – I’m not even REALLY sure what that means…), and I download the QR Code on the right.
Simple. Easy Peasy. Totally possible to modify to suit your classroom needs. This is only a small portion of my classroom policies and procedures, so I’ll share a little more about that in a future post. But I really believe that a classroom must have strongly enforced and practiced policies and procedures for it to run smoothly to create an optimum learning environment.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions! I’d also love to hear how this works (or not…) in other classrooms.