Create a Weekly Check In for Google Classroom
In previous semesters I used a Google Form to have students check in every week. While Google Forms are the best thing since sliced bread, this semester I switched to using Google Classroom for my weekly check in. Note this is not a 5 a day or “Do Now” but rather an opportunity to connect with students.
Hear From Students
I think it is important to hear from every student so I want to give them an opportunity to ask a question, share a compliment or concern or give a suggestion. When designing lessons, the most important thing to consider is the students you have in front of your face right now. Regularly listening to students helps me to adjust my lessons for their needs rather than my habits or what I’m comfortable with.
Why Not Forms
Forms are awesome, my problem was once I have the information from the students how do I reply back? In the spreadsheet from the Form responses I would insert a feedback column and reply back to each student. I used a mail merge to email each student what they had told me along with my comments back. However, this took me quite a bit of time and the students had to wait for me to respond to everyone and create the mail merge before they got the email. Students could obviously reply to the email but they rarely did.
Switching to Google Classroom
What I gave up by moving to Google Classroom was data. On the Google Form, I asked a whole bunch of multiple choice questions and checkboxes in addition to the questions/concerns/compliments/suggestions. I had all this data but rarely used it, the heart of what I needed was an ability to connect with each student every week.
Conversations in Google Classroom
I like to say that comments in Google Classroom are not comments, they are conversations. I do NOT use the ask a question feature in Google Classroom for the weekly check in. Instead, I create a regular assignment. I ask students to click on OPEN and use the private comments to leave me a question/concern/compliment/suggestion.
Since I receive an email notification when students leave a private comment I am able tor respond super fast from my phone. I filter my Gmail to star any private comments and put a “private comment” label on the email.
Keep it Simple
This requires almost no tech ability on my part. I did not have to create and attach a Google Form. I did not have to manipulate my spreadsheet. I did not have to set up a mail merge. I SIMPLY REPLY.
Using private comments is super simple but it’s also better. Unlike an email, private comments really feel like a conversation. When students have questions we can have a back and forth until they get it. If the student provides a suggestion I can converse with the student in private comments to clarify how to improve the class.