Monday, July 4, 2011

Starting off the school year with Google Docs

The first week of school is always exciting as I attempt to learn the names of my 100+ middle school students while attempting to teach them our team's expectations for the year. We make an effort to get to know every student and spend some time on team-building activities. In years past, each teacher also had students fill out a questionnaire in class. They were all similar so the students ended up writing the same responses four times. We would read them once then throw them in our desk where they stayed for the rest of the year. We rarely shared responses with each other.

This year, we combined our questionnaires into a single form using Google Docs. There were personal questions, academic questions, and even questions about their use of technology and social media. As soon as student were finished, we spent time together during our prep time reviewing their responses. Depending on the type of question, we could see graphic representations of the summary of their responses. For example, you can see above that Science is their overall favorite subject in school! You can view our student survey here and see the types of questions we asked. We received excellent data overall that will definitely shape our teaching this year! If you would like a copy of this form to modify and use in your classroom, email me and I'll share the document with you.

I am also relying on Google Docs more this year to communicate and collaborate with my students. I created a "plan book" document where I will be writing summaries of my lessons. It also includes the benchmark for the day and the homework.

I have also created a shared folder in Google Docs I called "Science Docs". This folder is "public on the web" so anyone can find it and view it. I provided the students the URL for this shared folder on my team's website. Within this folder, I am creating subfolders for all of my different science units such as "Properties of Matter". It is my goal to either create all documents within Google Docs itself or at least upload the files to share in these folders. This way, students will be able to view, download, and print all of my class handouts from this one location if they are out sick or lose the original copy.

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