Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review and Discussion Activities Using Google Forms

This is the third post in a series about using Google Forms in the classroom.  If you aren't familiar with Google Forms, you may also want to read my Google Forms 101.

Today, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite ways to use Google Forms in the classroom - review and discussion activities.  One of the reasons why I love Google Forms so much is its versatility.  It can be used for nearly everything!  Show me a curriculum unit, and I'll give you at least three ways to use Google Forms to make it better.  I've got two specific examples for you today.

Science or Social Studies Chapter Review

Review time is when our discussion can be very rich, but the kids are often burnt out on the subject or think they already know it so they check out.  As a student, I always hated those end of chapter reviews they had in the textbook.  I knew it was helpful to go over before the test, but it was long and tedious and I never really got feedback on my answers.  Enter - Google Forms!
I let my students choose partners, or I assign them, and have them complete a Form together to review the important content of the chapter.  You could use the questions from the chapter review in your text, or create your own questions like I did.  I give the page numbers from the text that will help them and send them off to work together.  When all the students have completed the Form, I hide the column on the response document that contains their usernames and put the response document up on the screen.  Here are a few screenshots of a response document from one of my chapter review activities.

This isn't the whole activity, but you get the idea.  As you can see, some kids nailed it, and others need a bit more review.  So we go down the line discussing the traits the students put for each type of animal.  Was it correct?  If not, why not?  What could they have put instead?  Are there any traits we can think of that weren't listed?  It makes for great discussion.  The kids love it because their answers are on the screen.  They also love that their names aren't up there so that it isn't embarrassing if something was incorrect.  I find the kids are significantly more engaged than they would be during the review of a paper assignment or a discussion lead solely by me.

Post Chapter Novel Discussion

My students have just finished reading the short novel, The Chalk Box Kid, by Clyde Robert Bulla.  After each week's chapter reading, the students had a Google Form to fill out.  The form asked about character traits and things that happened in the story.  The questions often required the students to make inferences.  There were a few questions where the answers were there in the text for them to find, but most of the questions I asked were digging deeper into the story.  This allowed for richer discussion once we showed the responses.  I also used these as a teaching tool to get the kids to support their answers with evidence from the story.  Here are a few screenshots from these activities. 

The responses actually created some great conversation about the story.  There were also some other topics that came into the conversation, like what qualifies as a character trait.  My students LOVE this activity and they ask me all day about when we get to do the "responses thing".  I also noticed some really great and thoughtful answers I know I never would have gotten if we had just discussed these things verbally in class without Google Forms.  Another great thing is that I have these answers stored away.  I can bring them out for the students to use when I ask them to do a writing assignment comparing the main character in a new story to the one they read about previously.  This week, my students are actually using their old responses to compare and contrast the main problem in The Chalk Box Kid with the main problem of this week's book, Molly's Pilgrim.  (Special thanks to @JenRoberts1 for giving me the idea to scaffold their writing using Google Forms!  See her blog post here.)

There are so many fun ways to use Google Forms to get your kids excited about sharing - no more discussions with the same four kids raising their hands the whole time.  These types of activities give every child a voice in a safe environment.  They can build confidence and even lay the groundwork for future writing assignments. 

Consider using Google Forms for your next chapter review or novel discussion.  Go ahead, give it a try!  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Thank you for stopping by the TeachingTechNix blog.  I hope I've inspired you today.  Stop in again soon for more helpful tech tips.   

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