I read an article this morning about anti-tech celebrities. They don’t even use EMAIL. Some of them are prominent businessmen. What? How much easier is your teaching life with email? If you answer, “Not much,” then pay close attention. (PS – I know email is a beast, but I’m not talking about directives from admin, sales pitches from educational companies, meeting minutes, and other time-consuming messages. I’m talking about teacher-student communication.)
I find having a group email by period for each student can make life so much easier. I can forward messages and documents to the whole group or to individuals within seconds. So at the beginning of each year, I have everyone set up a gmail, and then I use a Google form to collect them. A few clicks later, and I have a group email address.
You can use this same concept to mass-collect student essays, rather than having each student individually share them. Time and sanity saver!!!
Here’s how it goes:
Go to your Drive. Click Create – Form. After choosing a title and theme, you will be faced with the first question. I make the first question title Last Name (separate first and last names for ease of sorting), then click the Question Type drop-down menu and choose Text (so they can type their name in the box). Remember to click the box for Required Question. Students skip boxes on accident, and you don’t want that to happen, so I ALWAYS click this box. When finished, click Add Item to make the next question.
*The pencil icon in the upper left corner allows you to edit your question at any time. The document icon allows you to copy the question. The trash can deletes the item.
The next question item I create is first name. Same process as above. (You could use the copy button and just change the word Last to First. Or just use the Add Item button.)
The next question is period number. On this one, however, choose multiple choice from the Question Type drop-down menu. This will again, make it easier to sort. The students will click the correct box, allowing you to sort by number, versus getting answers such as period 1, P.2, per. 3, etc. This is not going to allow you to sort.
(I actually typed Period on the form below, but you can just put 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. It still sorted for me with Period, though.)
The next question will be Gmail address. I use the Help Text box to remind them to type it correctly (see photo above). We know our students, right? For this one you also need to choose the Text option from the Question type drop-down menu so they can type their email in the box.
When you are finished, you have choices for the submission process.
Once the students hit submit, you can allow them to then submit another response, you can allow a link to be published that will share the results of the form with all respondents (this would be excellent if you were sharing resource links for a project), and you can allow responders to edit their responses after submission. These three choices, of course, all depend on what you are using the form for. If you don’t choose to share the responses on the form, you can still share them later.
Once you have made your submission choices, click Send Form. You will get a link to share or embed the form.
If you send the form by email, your respondents can answer straight from their inbox. I, however, always stick the link on my class website (lately in a Thinglink, which is another post entirely). That way there are no claims that they didn’t get the email. Also, if this is an email collection form, you obviously don’t have their email addresses 🙂
If you click, View Live Form at the top of the page, you will go directly to the live form your students will be using.
If you do not get a pop-up window asking you to choose a response destination, go ahead and click that button at the top of the page next to View Live Form.
You will see this:
You can choose new spreadsheet (my usual choice), or you can add a sheet to an existing spreadsheet. The blank spreadsheet will be created in your Drive. Once the students have submitted their responses, Google will populate this spreadsheet with the information from the form.
(Screenshot chopped due to confidentiality. The form actually has last name, first name, period number, and gmail address.)
*Then, if you would like it sorted by alphabetical order and by period (helpful for entering grades if using the form as a quiz), click the arrow next to B in the Last name column and click sort A-Z. Then click the arrow in the Period number column and also sort A-Z.
To get your group addresses set up in your Contacts, just highlight the email addresses for period 1 in that column and click copy. Go to your gmail contacts.
Click Contacts. Then run your mouse down until you see New Group.
Click New Group. Then, in the pop-up box, name it Period 1 (or whatever period you need).
Next click the person icon with the + sign:
Paste your list right in the box. Watch as your group populates with student email addresses.
If you wish to send an email to Period 1, go back to Mail. Click Compose. Start typing the word period and you should get a list of your period groups. Click the one you want, and that’s it.
Send a message or a attach a document! 🙂
Now, to collect essays or other assignments, yoou do the SAME thing as above. Create a form, be sure to separate last name from first name, make period # a multiple choice question, and remember to make ALL questions required. This time, instead of a Gmail Address question, create a Text question titled Persuasive Essay (or whatever it is you are collecting).
*******IMPORTANT: Make sure to type a reminder in the Help Text box to SHARE the document to anyone with the link can edit or anyone with the link can comment (whichever one you want) BEFORE they paste their link.
Then, just like when creating any form, choose new spreadsheet for responses (or add to existing spreadsheet). Click View Live Form. Embed or post the link (or email it). After students submit their links, you will have a spreadsheet populated with their assignments (like your very own “dropbox,” as Will Kimbley says).