Posted in Uncategorized

All Questions Required – Google Forms Update

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 9.55.23 PMGoogle Forms Update

Google Forms has been an incredible resource for me as a teacher to collect data on student learning and growth through pre-tests, formative assessments, choose-your-own-adventures, exit slips, among others. Despite my love for this tool, one of the more frustrating aspects of Google Forms has been the continual need to click specific options I used on every question. With today’s update to Google Forms, there is one less option I have to click… “All Questions Required!”

How To Access The OptionsPreferences - Google Forms (1)

To access this new option, go to the “3 dots” in the upper right hand side of the Google Form. Then click on “Preferences,” which will present you with three different options: “Collect Email Addresses”, “Make Questions Required”, & “Default Quiz Point Value.” By check-marking those options, the subsequent forms and questions will automatically apply those desired settings.

Default Settings - Google FormsMake Questions Required

When using the “Make Questions Required” option, it will not affect any questions that were created prior to that option being check-marked. Instead, it will make any newly created questions as “Required,” hopefully saving you from one more button to click. If you create a question that is not required, such as “Any questions?”, then simply click on the required option on the specific question and it will not longer be required.


What Updates Could Still Be Helpful?

Have a design options on specific questions, in order to avoid having to make the same adjustment every time. For example, when doing multiple choice questions, one still has to click shuffle option order. Another example is when using the multiple choice grid (Matching), one must click shuffle row order and-limit to one response per column. In the blog (Link: Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom Part 2), it demonstrates why it is prudent for teachers to put the correct answer in the same option spot (AKA Data Collection), therefore necessitating the shuffle option orders.

So while Google Forms still are not perfect, updates like these demonstrate that those features could be coming soon.

Also check out:

Google Forms – Basic Design Blog

Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom (Part 2) Blog

Posted in #COL16, #GoogleEI, Uncategorized

Globally Connected Student Activities (#GlobalConnectEDU)

“Wait, a student from Japan commented on my ideas? That is awesome!”

CollaborationWith these words, my American History students were hooked on that week’s activity. We had been reading some primary documents from Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the “New World” and then analyzing it with comments on a shared Google Doc. My goal was for the students to communicate their critical thinking in a collaborative manner, using the concept of the 4 C’s found in 21st Century Learning (Article Link). Yet, as they started collaborating within the class together, I wondered if we could take it to the next level… Global Collaboration! So what I decided to do, without informing my students, was to connect this activity with another history class in Japan. Luckily, my Google Innovator Mentor, (Nathan Gildart – Google+ Link – Twitter @nathangildart), taught history in Japan so it was an easy connection. Through the Columbus activity, my students not only got a greater understanding of who Christopher Columbus was as a person (which dramatically impacted their view of the man), but also better understood how Japanese students interpreted history through their own cultural lens.

“How Do I Start Doing This In My Classroom?”

There are a various ways you could get your students collaborating with students around the world, including: Mystery Skype/Hangouts, MyMap Projects (Global ConnectEDU For Google MyMaps Ideas), Old-School Letter Writing (No tech is just as awesome sometimes), to name a few.

“How Does One Connect With Classrooms Globally”

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With my first globally connected student activity, I was blessed to have an already established connection with an international teacher. So what other ways could you connect with international teachers/classrooms? The easiest way is via social media, such as Twitter, Google+, or Facebook. Those connections can happen through Twitter hashtags, Google+ Communities, or Facebook Groups. Another way I recently learned was for U.S. schools to

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Google+ GEG’s and Communities

contact the “Office of Overseas Schools” through the U.S. Department of State (Website Link). They can get you into contact with other schools, which could provide you with other educators from around the world.

Another great set of resources for connecting with educators is through these websites: Projects By Jen, Classroom Bridges, Global Audience Project

“How Does One Design A Globally Connected Activity?”

When designing, or considering, doing a globally connected activity, it is imperative that you have an understanding of your own curriculum standards. Are there any standards that would easily translate into a global activity? With the Columbus activity mentioned above, I identified two standards that could be collaborative: Analyzing primary documents and Identifying the impact of the European Discovery in the Americas.

Then, start contacting educators from around the world to see who you can connect with on the activity (As detailed above).

Once you have started connecting with international educators, begin brainstorming ideas for the activity, most likely through a shared Google Doc and/or Google

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Nathan Gildart and I Collaborating Via Google Hangouts

Hangout/Skype. Through the brainstorming, the activity will most likely meet everyone’s curriculum needs, and also proactively help identify any possible struggles that could develop.

Tip – If this is your first time participating in a globally connected activity with your students, try focusing on questions or activities that demonstrate the cultural similarities/differences between the various classrooms.

When you are ready to take the globally connected activity to the next level for the students, then it is important for educators to create activities, as identified by Researchers Sears & Reagin (Link to 2013 article), that require relative levels of “complexity of the task” (p. 1170).  Therefore try to design questions that require “higher-order thinking, depth of knowledge (DOK)” and “substantive conversation” according to researcher Beeson et al., (Link to 2014 article, p. 125) when designing collaborative work (meaning DOK Levels 3 & 4).  According to researcher Yi-Jeng Chen, this helps students to “gradually become more collaborative” (Link to 2015 article, p. 166) which allows them to answer increasingly complex questioning.  Not only does this collaborative culture produce greater results of learning from students, it also depends their understanding of the content.

“What Technology Tools Should I Use?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 11.34.15 PMReally there are a slew of tools available, but I personally have had success using web based tools such as G Suite (formerly Google Apps). When considering ease of use, and their synchronous (real-time) nature, it is hard to beat Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, etc. Those are great, not only for the planning process, but also for students collaborative work and commenting together from around the world.

Tip: When the Doc (or whatever product you use) is ready to be used collaboratively, share it with the setting “public, anyone with the link can edit” to the other teachers.

Then consider creating videos, or organizing a Hangout/Skype with the students participating in the global activity. If time zones prevent that from effectively happening, consider using YouTube (as private videos that have links shared between classes),

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FlipGrid Example

videos in Google Drive shared with the cooperating teacher, or even better: FlipGrid (recently learned about this tool)! It allows students to do short (no more than 3 minute) videos.  The cool part is it allows students then to ask follow-up questions (via another video) to the other students!

If possible, you could also use social media (depending on grade level and school board policy), such as twitter, to expand the learning outside of the classroom.

“What Are Some Obstacles I Could Face?”

Probably the two biggest obstacles I faced in doing these globally connected activities was the time zone differences and language barriers. Most of the students involved in this collaboration from around the world lived in time zones where it was nearly impossible to work at the same time. Because of that, it was necessary for these activities to have a loose timeline for completion.  After that discovery, I planned Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 11.44.38 PMa more expansive time window for collaboration to ensure quality work could be accomplished from all involved.

To deal with the language barrier, I mostly connected with schools where the students possessed the ability to speak English.  For example, the schools in China, Australia, Japan and Turkey were all American International Schools (or the equivalent), so there were no translation issues.

If you are afraid that the activity will be a bust, whether it be because your students will not be interested or other reasons… Don’t be. Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t provide another cool avenue to help your students to learn.

“What Are Some Benefits Of A Globally Connected Activity?”

How many times in your life have you spoken to individuals from other countries?  In my school district (Ash Grove, Missouri: Small-Rural-Lower-Middle Class-98% Caucasian-95% of the population will never leave the U.S.) it provided a unique involvement that most of my students may never get the chance to experience otherwise. Not only did they learn about the curriculum content I was going to have them learn anyway, they also learned various cultural differences between the different classrooms that participated.

Had I used FlipGrid (which I did not have available at the time), my students could have also seen these students face-face (via video) to interact in a more active-personal way.


Give it a try! If you are fearful, then consider doing a collaborative activity locally, as in within your own state/province/country. Provide students the opportunity to tackle

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21st Century Learning

bigger questions through the collaborative process in order to help them develop those 21st Century Skills.  Also, have your students be reflective in their learning (true whether during a globally connected activity, or any other learning opportunity). Research has consistently demonstrated the power of reflection in helping learners master content.

Finally, plan future collaborative opportunities! As mentioned earlier, the more collaborative activities students participate in, the more effective they become at mastering complex problems!

My questions for you:

How are you going to challenge your classroom (and yourself) to learn globally in the school year?

What steps should you take today to get a globally connected activity started/designed

What other ideas/steps have you taken to do things like this in the past?


Global ConnectEDU Website

Nathan Gildart – Google+ Link – Twitter @nathangildart

4C’s of 21st Century Learning – Article Link

Projects By Jen

Classroom Bridges

Global Audience Project

“Office of Overseas” Website Link

Sears & Reagin Research – Article Link 2013

Chen Research – Article Link 2015

Beeson Research – Article Link 2014

Google DocsSheets, Slides, DrawingsHangout, YouTube



Posted in ISTE, Uncategorized

ISTE 17 Reflection

ISTE 17 Reflection

This time last year, I was leaving my first ISTE excited, overwhelmed, and afraid that I had missed some session or poster that would positively rock my world.  Today, leaving my second ISTE, I can appreciate the week knowing that the conference provided me with an incredible experience.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from #ISTE17:

Power of Poster Sessions

Kim Calderon - Poster Sessions

At ISTE, they have poster sessions that take place throughout the entire week. These posters are an incredible opportunity because (as stated by Kim Calderon) “It’s like 50 sessions in 2 hours.” If you are curious how these poster sessions work, just think high school science fair on steroids.

These educators have posters (and/or monitors) to display their ideas, projects, or research in order to inspire other educators.  Then, other educators wander throughout the the space, stopping to take pictures, scan QR codes, or talk to the presenters.  The coolest part of this is the ability to talk individually about the processes that the poster presenter went through as they implemented their ideas.  Not only does that help the inquisitive educator learn something new, it also helps provide the poster presenter with other ideas.

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Mari Rocking Her Poster Session!

Mari Venturino (@MsVenturino – ISTE Emerging Leader 2017) had this to say about doing a poster session, “I loved the opportunity to present a poster session at ISTE17. It’s a unique experience to be able to present to small groups of people, and answer individual questions about the topic. Not only did I share with attendees, but also I learned a lot of great ideas from then!”

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Connecting With Awesome Educators

Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) encouraging me to learn how to code

An incredible aspect of ISTE is the sheer number of educators that descend on a convention and share all their tips, tricks, and ideas.  This year’s ISTE had nearly 20,000 educators from 8,000 different schools from around the world.  Many of these people may have been previously connected from their Professional Learning Network (PLN), or from past conferences.  But the opportunity to meet Face-To-Face (F2F), provides another level of collaboration and sharing.  This could include the various booths where educators would congregate, such as the Google For Education Booth or the EdTechTeam Booth (two of the booths I spent quite a bit of time at this year).

Kern Kelley - Collab

For example, while hanging around the EdTechTeam booth, I started talking to Kern Kelley (@kernkelley)about a new student help desk program he helped me to establish this year.  Through our conversation, we were able to develop another level of collaboration for our students in the coming year!

Another common area where teachers would connect could simply be in the hallways, lounges, and restaurants, (or Riverwalk since we were in San Antonio) as educators strike up conversation with those with whom they came into contact.  It’s amazing the similar interests/visions/goals/expertise that others have to offer and the fact that they are so willing to be a resource for other educators.


#COL16 Innovator Academy Members at ISTE17

Impassioned Keynote

1st Day QuestionTuesday morning’s keynote can be described in one word… “Epic-Emotional-Awesomeness.” (I know, that is more than one word, but the hyphens makes it one word still, right??)  This should not be any surprise because the speaker was Jennie Magiera.  While her resume is impressive, her ability to share a story that captives and resonates moved the crowd into action.

Her keynote centered on the idea of telling the untold stories that surround us everyday.  She encouraged us to find our own identity as an educator and through that we must make sure we are working to help our students find their own identity as well.  Everyday we must seek to meet every student’s need, provide them a safe place to learn/grow, and challenge them to be the best versions of themselves.

Here is a more thoughts on the Keynote by Jennie: ISTE 17 Keynote Blog

ISTE Final Thoughts

So as we finalize our reflections of ISTE, or the past school year, we must consider the lessons we have learned.  How have we been challenged by these experiences?  What must we personally do different in order to be the best versions of ourselves?  How can we connect with other educators more consistently in order to challenge and encourage us?  And most importantly, what can we do this next year to empower students to write a new story about themselves that will be the defining moment to their future success?

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ISTE (@ISTEConnects)
Posted in Uncategorized

ISTE 17 Keynote – Jennie Magiera


Jennie Magiera Keynote

Tuesday morning’s keynote can be described in one word… “Epic-Emotional-Awesomeness.” (I know, that is more than one word, but the hyphens makes it one word still, right??) This should not be any surprise because the speaker was Jennie Magiera (@MsMagiera). While her resume is impressive, her ability to share a story that captives and resonates moved the crowd into action.

Amazing Keynote
Natalia Castillo (@NataliaCas0319)


Untold Stories

Tell the untold story of your school, educators, and most importantly the students. All of us are more than a single story, and it is our job as educators to help students to see their unlimited potential that the student (or educator for that matter) may have allowed to be stymied by their fear of their TOLD story. We must help students to see they can overcome that TOLD story in order find their UNTOLD story!

Untold Story

Opportunities For A New Identity

Jenny recounted the story of her mother’s experience as a young child (having been an immigrant from Korea), and the powerful, life-changing question her teacher asked her, “what do you want to be called this year?” As students enter our classroom each year, they carry baggage of past experiences and choices, many of those negative. Yet, we must provide (and encourage) students to understand those past decisions do not have to continue defining them.

So what if you were a failing student in the past, or a someone with a checkered past? You can choose differently today, and I’m here to be your support.

1st Day Question
Austin Houp (@coachhoup24)

Stop And Listen

When facing resistance, anger, etc. from parents, colleagues, or others it is important to find out the reasoning for their anger. As humans, we constantly find ourselves looking to get our agenda or desires advanced without regard for others. So when we face frustration from others, we generally ignore or push away those individuals in order to complete our goals. Yet, as stated by Magiera, if we would stop and LISTEN to those complaints and frustrations, we provide an outlet. Not only do we find out the true issues, we also learn more about those individuals.

Through this exercise of listening, we build bridges that can empower others to greater heights and soften their resistance to our ideas. While they (or we) may not get their way, it creates an environment of compromise and collaboration that seeks to meet everyone’s needs.

Find Out Their Anger
Austin Houp (@coachhoup24)

Be You!

Many, if not most, of us got into education due to the positive experience of a past teacher of ours. This drives us to be that same influence to our future students. While this is noble and a worthwhile ambition, it also inhibits our ability to be awesome. I could provide multiple teachers who helped define the educator I am today, however, Jennie reminded us that it is imperative that we should be the best version of ourselves. “Who Am I As An Educator?”

Do not try to be a carbon copy of your past teachers, except in terms of positively impacting students. Instead, be the Mr.-Mrs.-Ms.-Coach ________ that you are called to be.

Me Then You?
Linda Acocelli (@LAcocelli)

Who We Are

Finally Jennie acknowledged a truth that many educators live by but rarely recognize. We as professionals, have wrapped our identity into our profession. Every success and heartbreak of our students drives us to new heights, both in school and post-graduation. We can not help but talk about the things happening in our classrooms, the new ideas we are excited about trying out, and the success of our students and schools.

Who I am
Austin Houp (@coachhoup24)

Keynote Reflections

What about Jennie’s keynote spoke the most to you and your current journey?  What are you going to do differently due to this message?  How are you going to tell the untold stories before you in the coming year?

Posted in Uncategorized

Personal Ed Tech Adventure

Hanging out with Andy Love at the KC GAFE Summit

It has been a whirlwind year both personally and professionally.  It started in July of 2015 by attending a Google Apps Conference in Kansas City put on by EdTechTeam.  While at the Google Apps Conference in KC, I got the opportunity to attend a Pre-Summit Google Apps Trainer Bootcamp put on by Jay Atwood.  I was in awe at all the possibilities that Google Apps had to offer a teacher (even though I had dabbled in GAFE the previous school year, I did not realize it’s full potential till the conference).  From there, I was encouraged to get my Google Educator Certification level 1 & 2 (Which had just been released the week before).

Once I had passed those two exams, I set my eyes on the Google Certified Trainer Program (Which is about to be updated FYI).  After failing at some of the tests a couple times, and feeling the pressure of the December deadline, I was afraid my goal of getting Trainer Certified was slipping through my fingers.  With only a day to go, I passed the last exam necessary and began working on my Trainer application.  In December, much to my surprise, I received an email informing me that I had earned the Trainer Certification!

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Through this adventure, I had slowly built up my Professional Learning Network (PLN) via Twitter and was constantly amazed at the awesome stuff teachers around the world were doing in their classrooms.  I also received the opportunity to present at the Kansas City Google Apps Conference held in February of 2016 (Random Fact: presented that Saturday morning/afternoon in KC, then drove to Bolivar to coach a basketball game at 8:30 PM, then drove back that evening – Getting to the hotel at 1:30 AM – only to present that next morning.  #Exhausted).

One person whom I am constantly challenged by is Patrick Dempsey (also the best man in my wedding), who is a middle school science teacher at Webster Grove School District outside of St. Louis (He recently received the Allen Distinguished Educators Award).  One of the things that he said that really ignited many of his ideas and collaborations was the Google Innovator Academy he attended a couple years prior.  With that in mind (and so I could be as cool as “PDemps”) I decided to apply for the Google Innovator Program in Mountain View, California.

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With only a couple weeks to put my application together (as the application was due in January), I struggled to put a good application together.  Not only was it tough because of it being in the middle of the school year, it was also in the middle of Girls Basketball Season (for which I am the Head Coach), and my wife was 6+ Months pregnant with our second child.  Despite those hurdles, I still applied… and was rejected.

The rejection email was tough to take, as I really looked forward to the opportunity to collaborate with other great educators, but it was obvious that God had even better plans for me.  The rejection allowed me to refocus on what was important at the time, being a husband/father, devoted teacher, and hard-working coach.  Plus, it helped me to reevaluate my goals as a teacher and how I could best help my school district.  With the help of a couple teachers in my district, we decided to put on a tech conference (much like we had the year before) but this time offer it to other school districts as well.  I also worked with the my principal (Chris Thompson) to offer a student help desk class for the next school year (It’s goals are to make them Google Apps Experts to help other teachers, and to provide some maintenance on the chromebooks).  Ultimately I decided, as Tom Mullaney discussed in his blog “Rejected For Google Certified Innovator? Don’t Freak Out!” that I was going to impact education whether I was a Google Innovator or not.

When the new window opened for Google Innovators Applications, I decided to apply again but this time decided on a tool that I had previous experience with in the classroom but that I wished could be better (Google For Education Certified Innovator – My Application if you want to check it out).  On May 20th (While I was home sick on the last day of school), amazingly I was accepted for the Boulder, Colorado Google Innovators Academy (#COL16) for June 2016.

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After my acceptance, I received a call from my boy Patrick Dempsey and he had some words of wisdom.  He said essentially that the Academy is awesome, but it is the face to face collaboration that truly makes the program wonderful.  Fellow #COL16 Peeps, how are you going to use this academy to better your students’ lives?  How will your teaching, and the teaching around the world, make this world a better place?

So as this school year ends and the preparation for the new school year begins, I stand thankful for all those who have helped me in my career thus far.  I am blessed to work in a school district that supports me and is willing to challenge themselves in their educational approaches.  Ultimately I am thankful for a wife (Amanda Houp) who loves and supports me and is willing to join me in these adventures!

Austin, Amanda, Eli, and Ezra Houp
Posted in Uncategorized

The Year of Tech

At the end of every school year, it is natural to reflect on what transpired.  Was it what you had expected?  Pleasant and unpleasant surprises?

As a school district, we had one of the most transformational years that I have ever haAcer-Chromebook-11-C740-nontouch-zoom-big.pngd the joy to be a part of.  As detailed in August, we have been slowing transitioning to technology in the classroom, starting with iPads nearly 4 years ago.  This fall, we bought a few classroom sets of chromebooks (Acer C740 specifically) for all the buildings in our district.  We also implemented the Google Apps for Education district-wide, from the Superintendent’s office to the lunch lady.

Something that we did as a district that seemed to go over extremely well was the implementation of two different professional development days:  A summer Google Apps Conference (held and administered in house) and a Google Play Date on one of our PD days during the school year.  These two PD events not only exposed teachers to Google Apps, but gave them the resource of local teachers to be a sounding board for their tech adventures.  It was amazing to see how various staff members developed their own uses for Google Apps, including: School Calendar by the Central Office, Spreadsheets by coaches for practice plans, Google Classroom as a Learning Management System (LMS), just to name a few.Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 4.11.56 PM.png

Also as a district, we set a goal of all the staff getting Google Educator Level 1 Certified by the end of the year and ultimately about 80% of our staff got the level 1 certification (Two other staff members beside myself got level 2 certification – Kelly Blankenship and Lindsey Buckley)!  Despite some of the aforementioned successes, we did have our share of failures.  We implemented many of the tech advancements without first updating our infrastructure.  Our wifi was spotty and awful which discouraged and frustrated staff and students (That was fixed though by 2nd semester due to E-Rate Funding and wifi upgrades by the district).  Also, we didn’t have an easy way to monitor student use of the chromebooks, but once we discovered GoGuardian that problem was alleviated.


With all these successes and failures, we are now looking ahead to next year and the possibility of being in a 1:1 environment for the coming school year.  Not only that, but we are putting on a technology conference on August 3rd, 2016 TechCampAG.  This is a free tech conference for schools of all sizes or stages of tech implementation are welcomed.  Also any and all to are encouraged to attend or present.  If you are interested in presenting, feel free to fill out the following Presenter Form.

What has been your school’s adventure?  How can we work together to impact this world as fellow educators and schools?  We’d love to hear your story and ultimately let’s collaborate!

Posted in GAFE, Uncategorized

Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom (Part 2)

Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom (Part 2)

You checked out the first Google Forms Post and you created a Google Form to give to your students.  That’s awesome!  Now what…

ResponsesScreen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.52.10 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-26 at 11.02.14 AM

Once the assessment is designed to your liking, click the “Responses” tab at the top of the Google Form.  This will give you a myriad of options to collect student information.  First, create a Google Spreadsheet by clicking the “sheets” button at the top.
This will give you the option to “Create A New Sheet” or attach it as a tab into an existing spreadsheet.  If you are giving this as an assessment, then at this point you are ready to share it with your students!Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 11.11.57 AM

Tip: Technically you don’t have to create the spreadsheet before giving the test, but that is just how I normally do it.

Google Forms - Creating Spreadsheet

As students begin taking the assessment, their responses will appear on the Google Form Response page (but only after submitting the assessment).

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Example of Student Responses

 What’s great is that it gives you the overview of each question!  For Example, 37% of participants chose the wrong answer.  Questions to consider: Bad wording of question?  Insufficient teaching of the material? Etc.  You can also click on “Individual” and see the participants assessment and which answer they specifically selected.  This is less intuitive than the “Summary” tab, but still helpful none-the-less if you want to see how a specific student answered.

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FlubarooOne of the great things about using Google Forms, especially for Formative Assessments, is the ability to use Flubaroo to auto-grade the participants answers.  Realize though that Flubaroo is not a Google Forms add-on but a Google Sheets add-on.  To access Flubaroo, go to the corresponding sheet (click on the sheet button at the top of the “Responses” tab).  Once on the spreadsheet, do the following:  click “add-on,” select “Get add-ons,” search “Flubaroo,” click “+ Free” to add it to your sheet.  

Tip: After you “Get Flubaroo,” it will always be an option for your spreadsheets, even if you don’t create the spreadsheet through Google Forms.

Google Forms - Answer Key
Answer Key Gif

Now that Flubaroo is added to your spreadsheet, you have a lot of different options.  To set up the grading, you must take the assessment personally so that Flubaroo can use it as a template for grading all the student assessments.  When doing “Auto-grading”, Flubaroo then gives you various options for each question type including: “Identifies Students,” “Skip Grading,” “Normal Grading,” and “Grade By Hand.”  

Tip: For the name, use “Answer Key” to remind yourself when you go to create the template for Flubaroo.  

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Example of Student Responses
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Bottom of Flubaroo Spreadsheet

Identifies Students – Used for non-grading purposes, specifically sending the results to participants after completing the assessment.

Skip Grading – As stated, will skip grading the question and won’t be given as a option for sending results to students.  This is great for getting their perspective, or testing questions without any consequence to students.

Normal Grading – Will give you the option to provide various point levels for these questions.  This would be for the multiple choice/matching style questions that it matches to your answer key.

Grade By Hand – A great way to do short answer questions.  However, for most essay style questions, I use Google Docs and the Add-On Doctopus to grade.  I will do a blog post about that later on in the year.Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 11.13.32 AM

Personally, I love the auto-grade option, so that students can get feedback immediately on where they stand with the content.  Due to the immediate response, I do not do any short answer questions (besides Identifying Student Type) so that students can know how they did.

Google Classroom

When assigning the assessment to students, use Google Classroom!  Create an assignment on Classroom, and add the Google Form Assessment from Drive.  What’s great is that it will keep track for you of what students have taken/not taken the assessment.  The only frustration is that the grades are not carried over to Google Classroom (but should Google Classroom really be for grades or should it just be used for feedback?  Something to think about.).  Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 3.14.23 PM

Any other thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Posted in GAFE, Uncategorized

Google Forms; Basic Design (Part 1)

(Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom Part 2 Blog Link)

Google Forms – Basic Design (Part 1)


Google Forms

This year as a school we began implementing “Student Learning Objectives” as part of our curriculum.  In order to do this, we followed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of Missouri’s suggested “SLO – Progress – Tracker.”  In order for the tracker to be effective, teachers needed an easy way to collect quantifiable data on student performance and content knowledge.  For many teachers, the easiest way to do this on a consistent basis is Google Forms!  In part 1 of Google Forms, we are going to discuss some ideas of how to design your Google Forms to be effective in the classroom.


Google Forms

To access Google Forms, go to or go to your Drive Account (, click “New” – More – Google Forms.  When accessing it from, it will give you quick templates that could be useful to have assessments within minutes.  

The Basics About Google Forms


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Just like every other Google Apps product, when the Google Form is first created, they are “untitled.”  Change the title to the appropriate standard or assessment (Tip: In the title include a shorten name for Formative/Summative Assessment for organizational purposes.  For Example: “FA” for Formative Assessment.)  I have attached a Google Document that goes into more detail the specific options you can do with the form, so that I can get into designing the form. (Google Forms – Cheat Sheet)



Obviously there are a slew of ways to design your form, but the following has been wonderful for my purposes.  The first questions I always ask are First Name, Last Name, Hour, and Password.  The two names and password are setup as “short answer” and the Hour “Drop Down.”  To get the password question to work appropriately, you go to “Data Validation,” “Text,” “Contains,” enter desired password.  Tip: If “custom error text” is left then the password will be revealed to the students.  Instead, create a standard response like “Incorrect Password.”  For Example, for my American Government test on the Judicial Branch, I could use the password “Chief Justice” that students would use to access the assessment.

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Data Validation



After the sign-up page is completed, create a new “section” which are essentially pages to the form.  From this point forward, you can incorporate a variety of questions to help you assess your students content knowledge.  

Brian “Lewis” Pier suggested that in lieu of a password, create all the necessary copies of the Google Form and connect their responses to the same spreadsheet.  With the new option in Google Classroom to assign Forms to specific students, it helps prevent students from seeing the test prior to your class period.


  1. If you are a G Suite for Education (GAFE) school, then I would suggest setting up a short answer question that requires them to put in their school email account.  This will allow you to use Flubaroo to send students their results upon completion of their assessment.  (Google Forms – Using Flubaroo)
  2. When doing a “Matching Question” use “Multiple Choice Grid.”  I have found putting the question on the “row” portion and answers on the “column” portion it has been easiest for students to view.  Tip:  Put no more than 5 matching words-definitions per grid so that students can easily use the grid.

    1. Be sure and click “Require one response per row,” “Limit to one response per column” and “Shuffle Rows” to help deter cheating between students.Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 1.52.15 PM
  3. Provide yourself multiple “Sections” throughout the assessment.  It helps break-up the test for students and provides opportunities for corrections on the part of the teacher.  For example, if a student notices that something is spelled wrong (which happens) students can go to a previous section while you correct the error.  Once corrected, students return to the section and it is corrected on their form.  (I generally do no more than 7 Multiple Choice Questions per page)
  4. When making these assessments, I first create it on a Google Doc.  This is handy when going to create a form, because Google Forms will automatically detect the “Enter” was used and make that into a separate “option.”  Here is a Gif demonstrating how it works:

    Tip: There is an Add-On to do the Google Form but I generally just have two windows open side-by-side between the doc and form.
  5. On a multiple choice question, I always put the correct answer as the bottom answer.  The reason is when students complete the assessment, it makes it easy to identify how the students do collectively.  Under the “Responses” tab, the form will color code each option (Gif demonstrating how it looks).  Since nearly all my multiple choice questions are four options, then the correct answer will be green (option four is green).  Definitely handy when trying to quickly determine collective student comprehension of material.

    It is quick and easy to identify content that was not grasped by the students, which allows for re-teaching, analysis of the question/options, etc.

Any other ideas? How do you incorporate Google Forms into your classroom?  For more ideas, check out Alice Keeler’s Google Forms Section.

Also check out Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom Part 2 Blog Link

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MyMaps: Student Created Maps!

Earlier in the school year I introduced the idea of using Google MyMaps in the classroom.  Over the last week couple of weeks, I began using it in a couple of my classes.  The result of the students using MyMaps was stunning.  While these maps are imperfect (missing details periodically due to student error), they demonstrate so many possibilities for student creation.

European History – European Explorers (Freshmen through Seniors)

European History – Absolutism Research (Seniors)

World Geography – Distribution of Natural Resources (Sophomores)

World Geography – North American Research (Sophomores)

Lesson Plan Design

First, determine what your goal/objective is for the lesson.

For both World Geography and European History, it was an easy and natural fit to use MyMaps.  In European History, I have always had students do some type of presentation (Powerpoint, Keynote, Slides) to detail the trips and explorations of various explorers.  But as I prepared for that annual lesson, I decided to give MyMaps a go around in order to have a completely student created product.
For World Geography, I have always wanted them to get a greater understand of the world’s natural resources and the disparity of their use/production throughout the world.

Tip: Create a generic map for students to look at, in order to understand how they can manipulate their own maps.

Second, provide the guiding questions and objectives for students to quickly access and research. 

New this year, I have been using Google Classroom for my classes.  To get students the questions and topics, I posted an “assignment” on Google Classroom with the following:

Types of resources to use
How to cite sources
Link to MyMap (Created by me, but will explain how later)
Initial Due Date (To help critique student work)

Tip:  When creating the MyMap link as a teacher, go to  Then click share and change access to “Anyone at *School Domain* with the link” and “Can Edit.”  Next, copy the URL and post it on the Classroom Assignment.

Front Page of 

Third, students begin researching and posting their information to the linked MyMap.

I had each student (or in my case pairs) create a “layer” on their MyMap for a couple different reasons.  First, I wanted to be able to easily assess the students without having to search throughout the map for each students work.  Second, it prevented students from accidentally deleting or changing other students work.

Tip:  There is a limit to the number of layers (10 Total) you can create, so be cognizant of the amount.

Fourth, review students work and provide immediate feedback on their design and information.

Example of Student work

As students begin posting their information to the map, give them insight on how best to improve their layer.  For example, having students use different colors/symbols in order to differentiate their work from other students (Ex. Christopher Columbus being the yellow line and markers).  Some other ways to improve their map would be to include the following:  Pictures/videos on markers, journal writings or data information for each marker, proper structure/organization on the side information bar.

Tip:  Unlike the other Google Apps tools, Google MyMaps does not automatically update as students work on it.  However, if you reload the map, all the other work will be updated to your map.

Fifth, share the student work with the rest of the world!

After students have completed the assignment, change the share settings to “On – Public Web” and “Can View.”  Then copy the URL and share it out to the rest of the world!

Tip: Post it to Google+ in order to demonstrate your students work, as well as inspire other teachers to have students create their own resources!

What other ideas do you have for student created maps?  Ways to make the process even better?

A video below to explain how I use this in the classroom!