Using Google in the Classroom: Forms for Reading Conferences

Ahh….I feel my sanity restoring. I am in my classroom and have more or less gotten it all put together (another blog post on that when I can take some pictures). I was excited to get into school because we had a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) summit on Monday. We learned a ton of stuff.

Let me back up a little bit….My school has done away with their giant hard drive. We have all gone to the cloud for storage and to get us “in the mood” to use the cloud, my county hosted a summit to teach us about all the great things Google can do for us.

Simply in GoogleDocs, there are a ton of features. Some of these include how to make a test through GoogleForms, autograding in GoogleForms using an app called Flubaroo, tips and tricks to make your documents neater and more throughout, etc. I really liked the idea of using GoogleForms. I have now made two forms which I am happy to share with you all on here!

google forms icon

The first one I made is a reading interest survey. This allows students to input their reading preferences in a simple document that auto-uploads into a spreadsheet. This is just an adaptation of a reading interest survey I found online a while back. It’s really important for me to have the interest survey information because some students are hard to pick books for. I put some “story lines” into my reading survey to help identify my students likes. There is a realistic fiction, adventure, dystopian, information, etc.  I also like to poll the students on how long they read.

The nice thing about GoogleForms is that it inputs straight into a spreadsheet. I can then organize all my student’s responses alphabetically. This makes it easy when someone is having a hard time find a book. I can just “CTRL+F” their name and pull up their survey. It helps me to see what they have read or what genres they like to read.

The second form I made it for reading conferences. Same concept, except this time the form is for my use only. I will input the student’s response as I am interviewing them. It includes a timestamp, so I can then sort the data by student last name and time/date. It make it easy to track their responses. I included a place for what unit or skill we are working on. When I reading conference, I really like to make a note of this. I will usually ask them what they are reading and then ask them a question that lets me know on the spot whether or not they are understanding the content or not.

The only downside of GoogleForms is that when students do a long response, it puts it into a spreadsheet. Everyone has typed way too much in a cell before and watched it get super long and take up your whole sheet. I found the easiest remedy for this is to “CTRL+A” the workbook and then find the text wrap button. This make it so all the text stays in the cell. The only downside of that is that depending on the length of your response, you could have miles of text. Why can’t life be easy!!



Firstie Tip!….The more tricks you can find to reduce your workload the better. Digital files are great because they are easy to search. If you are not familiar with spreadsheets, I suggest you look at some YouTube videos on how to use them. They will make everything in your life so much simpler!!



Okay about an hour until they kick me out. I guess I need to organize my desks!!


–Miss Wyoming


Random Survey for Teachers


I’m on family vacation and all the boys are out fishing, so no beach time for this girl until they get back. To be honest, I’m not huge on the beach anyway. I’d prefer to do my week at a lake or go sight see somewhere with good shopping. Anyways, wanted to do a quick update with some fun things because my planning has stalled out for to lack of an actual computer.

My move is going swimmingly. I am all settled in with minor unpacking to do. Hopefully I’ll be completely done soon!!!!!

Here is a cute random survey I found on Yahoo! for teachers:

1) What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I have a few, but my favorite is what I featured as my senior yearbook quote….”If you want to know what a man’s like, take a look at how he treats his interiors not his equals.” –Sirius Black, Goblet of Fire

2) Last movie you watched?
…….Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1.

3) What inspired you to be a teacher?
Several factors including my love of reading, my love of helping people, and a special teacher I had in 11th grade named Tracy Sonafelt who made everyone love English and feel like they had a place in the classroom.

4) Favorite holiday?

5) What are you currently reading?
The Selection by Keira Cass

6) Favorite part of being a teacher?
Watching kids get excited over books and talking to them about books we’ve both read.

7) Least favorite part of teaching?
Paper work and RTI initiatives. Anything standardized is a challenge for me because I feel  that constantly changing standardized standards to implement rigor only puts stress on the kids and further the gap between on track learners and those who are behind. More kids are being considered behind when really they are intelligent kids who test poorly. It’s tough because there has to be some standard to measure achievement but I’m just not sure if there is a true “learning friendly” way.

8) Secret other profession:
Not a secret… and makeup artist for formal events or on a set.

9) Favorite part of the school year?
Right after Christmas!

10) Tips for future teachers?
My whole blog is based around that. One thing I will say though is don’t just apply for jobs… or email to let the principal know you have applied!!!!!

That’s all for now!
-Miss Wyoming (:

Is it time to go back yet? Pre-planning my first weeks!

Hello, firsties! And other teachers, peoples, robots that are interested in what I have to say,

So….it has come to the point in the summer that I am ready to go back to school. I have been moving out of my parents house and into my new townhome. It’s been entirely too stressful. I will just say one word: Comcast. Enough said. I am so thankful that I teach swim lessons and lifeguard during the summer or I’d be spent on cash. It’s been so expensive and such a headache. It’s a really cute place though. I will post some pictures once I have it completed. I just need ROUTINE at this point. No students, maybe ever. But an expensive vending machine, free water cooler water, and the peace and quite of my classroom sound on point right now!

I have been working on planning my first few weeks of school. I can hardly remember the beginning of last year because I was SO stressed. This year I am trying to put the IMPORTANT stuff first instead of the “Just get me to November” attitude I had while I was coaching cheerleading. My general breakdown so far is looking like:

Day 1: Ice-breakers, Get-2-Know activities, Seating Chart,
Day 2: Syllabus (this is a lot as I have really “cracked” down on rules this year. I want to save it until the second day)
Day 3-5: Another G2K activitiy, a school wide assembly, a team assembly, discussion of expectations again, review “complete v. incomplete sentences”, and possibly a short writing assignment.

Some G2K’s I will use….
-Alphabet Grid–write 1 word that describes you for each letter
-G2K Class Bingo
-Design a Binder Cover (This wil happen in the Day 3-5 time. Assembly days are unpredictable with the schedule. This takes up a whole day!)

Week 2: Begin Fiction v. Non-Fiction unit. This will lead into two independent genre studies….one where we look at TEXT FEATURES (internal text structures will come later) and one where we look at genres of fiction/elements of a short story. I am going to have all the students then pick a dystopian book and we will read and discuss different features of this. I think I am going to do a whole class genre study applied to individual novels instead of a novel unit this year. In my lowest class, I am going to supplement this with giving them different short stories to read. We will probably do Realistic or Historical fiction in this class. This group is at a pretty big defecit, so I feel that focusing their reading will be more helpful. Additionally, I have found in my lowest classes the concepts in Dystopian.Science Fiction tend to be hard to grasp. Realistic and Historical are areas that are easily confused with non-fiction, so hopefully this helps them in their reading.

F V NF Unit will begin like this…
-Pre-Quiz and Discussion about Fiction v Non-Fiction
-Fiction v. Non-Fiction foldable (will upload a picture with unit. I change what I put inside per class, so I need to have one made. Some classes can have “additional identifiers” if they need a better understand or are understanding TOO well)
-Discussion of different types of materials
-Checklist….How do I know what I am reading?
-Breakout into Non-Fiction Text Features and Fiction Genres/Elements of a Short Story. The elements of a short story will happen in conjuction with the novel unit/story units.

This is all such a BRAIN DUMP! I will post lesson plans and unit samples when I get to them. Also look for my ice-breakers and “first week in review” when the time comes.



Firstie Tip:

If it’s your first time teaching….every plan you have will no go as planned.
Don’t worry about planning out every details. Make sure you have enough ice breakers and a general idea of what direction you want to go once everything is settled in.

Alright friends. That does it for this teacher tonight. I still have a unit to work on and stuff to pack for le’ townhouse.


Miss Wyoming