During the past few years, I have found a wide variety of ways to utilize Google forms that have made my job easier and more organized, and in many cases, more fun for me and my students.
As one of the larger high schools in the small state of Vermont, our choral program has more than 100 students in four different ensembles. We use Google forms to collect all sorts of information from students, parents, teachers and others. The forms are used as a formative assessment tool, as a way to gather feedback and to quickly develop lists that can then be used to create seating charts, concert programs and communication tools.
At the beginning of every semester, our students receive a link to a choir survey, which requests information such as name, grade, preferred pronoun, height, T-shirt size, homeroom teacher’s name, phone number, email address, preferred method of contact, accessibility to Internet at home and at school, interest in trips and extracurricular activities.
This information is then used to create email lists, folder lists, seating charts, uniform purchases, program rosters and more. Through the use of Google forms, we collect information for the theater program, including T-shirt orders, program bios and parent messages, audition sign-ups and costume sizing. The possibilities are endless.
Within Google forms you can easily create themes, color palettes and ways to make things more visually appealing and establish branding for each ensemble or activity for which you are gathering information.
One of the greatest features of Google forms is that as you receive responses, all of the information is gathered and returned in a variety of formats including colorful pie charts, graphs and lists that make viewing the data not only easy, but visually appealing to share with students, administrators, school board members and parents. You also have the option of viewing the data in a spreadsheet format. From the spreadsheet, you can then manipulate the data in whatever ways you need. (Sort by voice part, height, last name, grade, years in choir, etc.)
With Google forms, you also can create online quizzes and have the option of immediate grading, which will, in turn, provide immediate feedback to the students as they take the quiz. These forms can be used as exit tickets, and other types of formative assessment.
After each performance, part of our student self-assessment includes completing a Google form in which students indicate their favorite pieces, their least favorite pieces, how prepared they were for the performance, their behavior and the behavior of their peers, things that went well and things that can be improved upon as well as ideas for future performances. Having all of this information gathered in one location is extremely useful. As students complete the form, we view the results in class. It is very effective to see the various charts and figures, and students get very excited when they see their comments projected on the screen.
Google forms can be a great addition to your Music Teacher Toolbox. They are easy to create, and they return data and other information in a very user-friendly format that can then be manipulated in whatever ways you need. They provide another way to help with the business of being a choral director, allowing you more time to make music.
Lynn Sweet has been teaching music in Bennington, Vermont, for more than 20 years. She has taught at all levels – grades K-12 – and currently enjoys working with students in grades 9-12 Chorus, Guitar & Keyboard, Musical Theater and Drama at Mount Anthony Union High School.