Google Forms + autoCrat = Educational Gold

 In the past few years I have been searching for ways to incorporate technology, assess more, and provide more personalized feedback for my students.  It has been quite the process, but it has helped advance my teaching in many ways.  Google Forms have allowed me to assess more.  If you are unfamiliar with Google Forms, then read two of my other blog posts about them 10 steps to creating Google Forms, and 14 Ways to use Google Forms for Health and Physical Education. Google Forms + autocrat has given me the opportunity to give more peer and teacher feedback to my students.  The use of autoCrat has automated many of the things that teachers do quite frequently, which will save you time as a teacher.  I have also started using these tools for school wide initiatives, so teachers can continue doing great things without spending too much time doing it, and you will look great for creating such an easy resource that you school benefits from!

Lets get into more details about autocrat (read through this and the rest of the post to help you understand it all, then watch the video of how to create one at the bottom of the post):

I always start with creating a “shell” Google Document that I would like send in an email (you will see many examples below).  This document will pull specific information that will be collected with a Google Form that you will create.  The “shell” document you make will mostly be made by you, but you will use <<merge tags>> that will pull information into the document from the answers you get from the Google From.  The <<Merge Tags>>  in the document will be filled in when you run the AutoCrat add-on and it will automagically create a new document that you can create and share in many different ways with whomever you would like.  Most people choose to share these new documents with someone’s email.  Alright lets get down to business.

Here are some different things that you can use it for (click on the headings to access my Google Drive files to help you begin to create your own):

Peer Feedback Form – This is a great way to keep students on task and working on a project.  It also works well for different ways to showcase student work (gallery walks, grading group work, etc).  This is a pretty simple process of using the rubric you created for the assignment, creating a google form to grade it, and then creating a document that you would like to make and share with the students.  You will see examples of these documents below.

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Teacher Feedback Form – This is almost the same document as the peer feedback form, but it is something that the teacher will use to assess a project.  When you are creating the Google Form for this, you can use text boxes for comments, or I also used canned comments using checkboxes.  I check all the things that the student did well or could use improvement on.  There is always an other box where you can type a personalized comment if you would like to do that.

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Fitness Testing Reflection – This is a set up I use for reflecting on fitness testing in physical education.  I wanted to create a way to share our student results with parents, and also give my students a chance to reflect on what happened during the year and what they could do to improve on their fitness over the summer months.  The best part of this program is that you can create a shared google document with the student and parents where they can look over the reflection and summer goals together to make sure their plan will work.  The parents can also understand more about what their children would like to focus on over the summer.  This has been a powerful reflection where the family becomes a team to help each other reach their goals.

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Badge System – This was modified from badges that Joey Feith had created, but I needed a way to share easily with students so they could insert the badges into their sportfolios (physical education portfolio).  The teacher can keep track of how the students are progressing on their badges however they would prefer to.  When a student has collected enough badges to level up, then the teacher can fill out a Google Form stating what level they passed out of and then the student will get a email with the badges they received from that level.  Once the student receives their email, they can copy and insert the badges or certificate into their sportfolio.

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Fitness Certificates – This little piece of gold started with an idea that Jo Bailey created.  Jo has a wealth of experience sending out monthly fitness challenges to her students.  Check out this resource to see all of her monthly challenges.  I decided that I wanted to have my students working on monthly challenges too.  I needed to create a new system to hand out, collect, and “reward” students for completion.  My solution was to post the fitness challenges on my website. See them here.  When the students finished a monthly fitness challenge they go back to my website and fill out a Google Form that is embedded into it.  Once they fill out the Google Form, then they automagically get a email sent to them with a certificate of the completed fitness challenge.  They can then upload this certificate into their sportfolio.  Check out the documents below to learn more about their set up.

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Positive Postcards – This gem was something that Adam Llevo started and I needed to try it for our school PBIS system.  It can be used in many different ways.  The idea is a student / parent can receive an electronic “Postcard” when their students is seen doing something great in school.  Our school will post a Google form on our staff Symbaloo (if you don’t use Symbaloo, then check it out) page.  A teacher will click on the Google Form image on the Symbaloo.  This will take them to a Google Form that I have created (seriously it takes almost no time at all to make).  The teacher fills out the Google Form, and autoCrat automagically will create a new document for that is shared with the teacher, student, parent, and administrator(s).  You will need to create the “Postcard” template in a Google Doc with the <<merge tags>> that will pull the student information in from the Google Form.  It’s that easy!  Check out the documents below to learn more about their set up.

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Dressing Out Form – This is something I use to help ensure that my physical education students are dressing out on a daily basis.  I normally don’t have any issues, but when I have recorded two or more times of students forgetting clothes, shoes, etc then I will use this form to send a quick email home to help alleviate the issue.  It has worked very well for me!

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Course Completion Certificates – This is something that can be used for class feedback, professional development completion, or continuing education units needed for license renewal.  PHYSEDagogy uses this type of a merge to give a certificate of completion of professional development hours.  The participant must fill out a feedback survey.  The survey is a Google Form asking specific questions about their thoughts about our online conference called the #PhysEdSummit.  Once the Google Form is submitted a certificate of completion is automagically sent to the participants email address that they supply on the Google From. Again you will need to create a Google Document with the <<merge tags>> that you want pulled into the certificate of completion.  Check out the documents below to learn more about their set up.

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With each of these ideas you can create many different forms and documents that can be used for different assignments.  I wanted to share these ideas so you can get and idea how to use Google Forms and autoCrat to make your life easier and to create a great learning environment for your students.  I am always interested in learning how other educators are using Google Forms and autoCrat, so please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.  Thanks and start creating your educational gold and please don’t forget to share the gems that you create!

Watch this tutorial to see how to set up your autoCrat files.

14 Comments on “Google Forms + autoCrat = Educational Gold

  1. Matt,
    Great job, like always, you are a teaching rock star! Thanks for showing all the creative examples of how we can use autoCrat. Seeing the many examples helps each of us then come up with our own ways to personalize learning and feedback. Matt it is exponential, your teaching lesson improves my teaching, thus all my students benefit. Multiply all the benefits times everyone else who implements this lesson.

    • Thank you very much! AutoCrat is not an easy add-on to use, so I hoped that giving you some concrete examples and files you can copy and make your own would help everyone get started using autoCrat! Giving more feedback, personalizing learning, & communicating with parents are a big part of our job and autoCrat simplifies all of them! Best of luck on your autoCrat adventure! Please let me know if you need anything else. I’m happy to help you through the process.

  2. Matt,

    I have been struggling coming up with ideas of ways for students to track and reflect on their fitness scores. This is the answer I have been looking for!! I am lucky enough to have 1:1 iPads for my students at my school, so I love that I’ll be able to have them just bring their iPads to class and can complete their reflection. I’ve used Google Forms/docs in the past, but your insights and ideas are going to help transform my teaching practices! THANK YOU!

    • So glad that this blog was able to help you! I appreciate you taking time to comment and provide feedback! Best of luck with the project and let me know if you need anything else. Happy teaching!

  3. Pingback: The PE Playbook – August 2015 Edition | drowningintheshallow

  4. Hey Matt! Great video and blog post! I was wondering something… My department is running Fit Tests next week and it may take a couple of periods for students to complete all 7 of our tests. Is there any way for them to work on the same form over a couple of days before submitting it? I ran a test a little while ago where I submitted a form twice (as if I had completed fit tests over two days) and two docs were created by the autocrat merge. My only solution to this is to go to paper and pencil for recording all results, then having students input everything at once. I’d like to stick to digital, if possible though. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks!

    • I specifically have them record all their results with paper and pencil and then I have them spend part of a class digitally recording them in the Google Form. I do not know of a way to do it one test at a time. DocAppender could be a possibility, but it would make a Google doc for them and then they would have to enter their results in with a Google form. Good luck and let me know if you need anything else!

      • Thanks for the super quick reply, Matt! I think I’ll go with paper and pencil, then, followed by digital entering into a form. That’s still simple and straight forward enough.

  5. My department also doing fitness testing we record in Google spread sheet..So all teachers send the spread sheet to kids and they make a copy of spread sheet with name , period and type in all fitness results.Please let me know if you need

  6. Hey mate, I loved this blog post and like you I am in love with autocrat. Still hard to believe that in my school last year of 40 teachers I was still one or only two teachers using it. Cant wait to this year, new school new bunch of teachers to influence. . AUTOCRAT bling bling bling

  7. Pingback: Physical Education Student Portfolios - ThePhysicalEducator.com

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