Google Forms in the Classroom Part 2: Using the Data Validation Tool

How to use the data validation feature in Google Forms in your classroom as an effective teaching tool

This is the second post in a series of blog posts about using Google Forms in your classroom. Visit HERE to see the first post.

Ever since I started using Google Forms in the classroom, I keep thinking about more ways to incorporate the forms and the data into my instruction. Using the data validation tool embedded in Google Forms, I’ve discovered how to force students to submit the type of work I expect. This tool allows me to digitally demand excellence from my students.

One of the most common phrases I hear in my classes is, “Do we have to answer in complete sentences?” You would think that students know the answer for this question, especially in their English class, is yes, but that isn’t always the case. When students work in a Google Form I’ve created, I am able to set data validation to make sure that my students are not only answering in complete sentences, but that they are also restating the questions in their answers. By setting the data validation, I am making sure that students use a specific phrase in their response or that they respond with either a minimum or a maximum amount of characters.

Before you set the data validation, it is important to set each question as required. This will make it so that students cannot complete the form without answering each question.
How to use the data validation feature in Google Forms in your classroom as an effective teaching tool
Once you’ve created your paragraph question, click on the more icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and then select “data validation.” There are two types of data validation for paragraph questions: text and regular expression. The text option in data validation simply counts how many characters a student writes in his or her response. The text data validation option is best if you are requiring either a minimum or maximum amount of characters. I like to use this option when I ask students to reflect about their learning. I usually set the character count as 250 minimum characters. Students will only be able to complete the question once they have met the minimum character account.
How to use the data validation feature in Google Forms in your classroom as an effective teaching tool
Likewise, if your students tend to ramble, the text data validation tool is great because you can set a maximum character count. Setting a maximum character count will force students to keep their responses concise.

The second data validation option for paragraph questions in Google Forms is regular expression. I use the regular expression data validation option to help train my students to answer the question in a complete sentence that restates the question. Students are unable to complete the question unless if they include a specific, predetermined phrase in their response.

The first time I used this data validation with my class, it was a major flop. I made my phrase too specific. Many of my students were answering the question by restating the prompt, but they did not use my exact wording. Once I went into my Google Form and shortened the phrase, students did a lot better.

Here is how this option works. Let’s say that you are asking your students to write about their favorite character in a short story. Your question might be, “Who is your favorite character in the story and why?” You can set up this question so that students must answer, “My favorite character in the story is…” To do this, select “regular expression” and “matches.” Then type “My favorite character in the story is” in the pattern field.
How to use the data validation feature in Google Forms in your classroom as an effective teaching tool

Using the data validation tool in Google Forms is beneficial because it forces students to answer questions in the manner that you want.

How are you using Google Forms and data validation in your classroom?

Teaching Characterization in the Digital Classroom

Using digital interactive notebooks to teach characterization in the middle school and high school English classroom

One of the things I love the most about teaching literature is teaching characterization. Authors devote countless hours to creating their characters, and as readers, we grow to love them, hate them, laugh with them, and cry with them. Making connections with characters in literatures is essential, because that is how we connect universal themes and conflicts to our students’ everyday lives. Creating an environment that cultivates a relationship between our students and the characters we read about is essential in supporting a life-long love of reading in our students.

This next year my school is going 1:1. Every single student on school will be given a Chromebook to use, and teachers are encouraged to embrace digital learning. Combining my love of characterization and technology, I am very excited to have students keep a continuous digital characterization interactive notebook throughout the entire year. With every new short story, drama, and novel we read, I will have my students copy and paste their characterization graphic organizers into one Google Slide.

Using digital interactive notebooks to teach characterization in the middle school and high school English classroomAs a ninth grade English teacher, I like to emphasize how characters change and grow throughout the plot. I encourage my students to analyze characters and their actions, dialogue, and various points of view.

My hope in having students work in a continuous, growing digital characterization interactive notebook is that by the end of the year, my students can see a pattern. I want them to be able to easily recognize archetypes on their own. I want them to be able to see, understand, evaluate, and analyze similarities and differences between many of the characters we read from different genres.

To help my students in this process, I’ve created various Digital Characterization Interactive Notebooks. These notebooks will be a valuable tool in my classroom because students will be able to copy and paste different organizers into their notebooks. They will be able to track and analyze main characters as well as supporting characters. But most importantly, completing the activities and graphic organizers in these digital characterization interactive notebooks will provide my students with enough critical thinking and information to be able to successfully write character analysis essays at the end of each major reading assignment.

Available Digital Characterization Interactive Notebooks:

Lit with Lyns Giveaway

It’s time for a giveaway. To help celebrate Lit with Lyns, I’ve donated my most popular teaching resource, Annotating Text Made Easy, to her amazing Follower Appreciation Giveaway. For a chance at winning this resources, as well as many others, enter the giveaway below. There are two different ways to win. For more details, visit Lit with Lyns' blog.

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Google Forms in the Classroom Part 1

There are many advantages to using Google Forms in your classroom. It's so easy, and the possibilities are endless!

Out of all of the different resources available to teachers in the Google Apps for Education platform, Google Forms is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable resources.

Ever since I started using Google Forms in my own classroom earlier this year, I am hooked. There are so many different ways to use Google Forms in the classroom. The possibilities are endless.

What is a Google Form?
A Google Form is an app in the Google suite that allows users to quickly collect data from people. Using Google Forms is ideal for surveys, questionnaires, and pre assessments. Like Google Docs and Slides, you can easily share and collaborate on Forms.

There are many advantages to using Google Forms in your classroom. It's so easy, and the possibilities are endless!
Getting Started with Google Forms
Getting started with Google Forms is simple and easy. To create a new Google Form, go into your Google Drive and select “New” and then “Google Forms.” You may need to select the “More” option to provide you with additional resources.

One of the first things I suggest you do when creating a Google Form is to title the Form. In the upper left-hand corner, click on the text “Untitled form” and type in a new title.

Now that your form is titled, it is time to get started. If you are creating a form and you need to collect student data, I highly suggest you begin your form with a student identifier question. Select the “short answer” option and prompt students to type in their last name. I prefer to use last names because that is how my online gradebook is sorted.
There are many advantages to using Google Forms in your classroom. It's so easy, and the possibilities are endless!
VERY IMPORTANT! Be sure to slide the required button over so that students are required to enter in a response or answer for all of the questions in your form!

I like to utilize sections within my form. I think it adds more organization to the form. Furthermore, it will make is so that students must complete one portion of the form at a time before moving on to the next. To create a new section, click on the last icon on the vertical toolbar located on the right-hand side of the form. Title your new section and begin adding questions to your form.

Google forms provides users with a variety of question types: short answer, paragraphs, multiple choice, checkboxes, dropdown, linear scale, multiple choice grid, date, and time. Use the short answer option for questions that require a single word or short phrase for an answer. If your answer is a couple sentences or more, you will want to select the paragraph option. For traditional multiple choice or true and false type of questions, you can use either the multiple choice or dropdown menu option. I like to use the dropdown option if I have a question with more than four options. This reduces the amount of scrolling that students will need to do. Use the checkboxes option if you would like your students to include more than one answer. The linear scale and multiple choice grid options are ideal if you would like to have your students answer a question or provide an answer based on a scale. Finally, students can answer with a date or time.

To add a question to your Google Form, click on the plus sign icon on the vertical toolbar on the right-hand side of the form and select which type of question you would like to add. Type in your question and add your answer options. Remember to click the required button for each and every single question. This will make it impossible for students to submit their answers if they leave a question blank.

There are many advantages to using Google Forms in your classroom. It's so easy, and the possibilities are endless!
If you would like to view the Google Form as your students will see it, click on the eye icon at the top of the page. This will give you a preview of the form. If you selected the required option though, you will have to complete each section of the form before you can preview the next. It might be beneficial to make each question required AFTER you preview the final form.

How do I Share Google Forms?
There are a couple different ways to share Google Forms in your classroom: provide the form to your class through Google Classroom or another learning management system, or you can simply share a link with your students. To obtain the link for the form, click the “Send” button found in the top right-hand corner of the form. Once you do that, find the link option, click the button to shorten the link, and then copy that link to share it with your students. Once students land on the form you’ve created, they will be able to answer the questions.

Keep adding new questions and playing around with Google Forms. The more you practice with your form, the more comfortable you will become using them. How are you using Google Forms in your classroom?

This is the first blog post in an upcoming series about using Google Forms in your classroom.