Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Auto sort results of a Google Form so newest responses are on top!

If you use Google forms to collect data of a long period of time you may want the newest results to post to the top of the spreadsheet. For example, I use a form as a way to track books that kids borrow, I’d rather have the newest book to be borrowed appear at the top of the list.

Here is one way you can do this.

  1. On the bottom left of the sheet click the + to create another sheet
  2. In cell A1 paste the following formula:
    1. =sort('Form Responses 1'!A:H, 1, False)
  3. You may want to double click the title of the new sheet (Which will be “Copy of Form Responses 1” and change it to something more descriptive “Sorted” is what I chose.


Remember, this new sheet, “Sorted,” is mirroring the “Form Responses” sheet, so any changes you make to the content will show up on the “Sorted” sheet.

Staying Organized using Google Apps for Ed. in the classroom

(Scroll to the bottom to skip to the video)

I was recently asked (twice in the same week) to share how I organize student work shared with me via Google Apps for Education. At nErDcamp Northern New England I attended a session on using Google Apps to give feedback to students (See the session notes here) and shared how I organize all the documents that students share with me.

-A side note: As an 8th grade teacher in Maine, each of my students has a MacBook Air to use. We are also a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) District which has allowed me to be a mostly paperless classroom.

When I began using GAFE in the classroom the document list was much easier to navigate, but when the format changed I knew that I had to as well.

I always have students make two folders – an “LA” folder and a “LA Pass in” folder, they share the “LA pass in” folder with me and put it in folder inside the LA folder. This serves a couple of purposes: 1. It provides students with some structure for their own files (I actually lead them through this process for each of their classes). 2. It provides an easy way to share and see what is shared with me – after the folder is shared with me, EVERYTHING they put in there becomes shared with me.

–Another side note: I have strict naming protocols, EVERY DOCUMENT (and folder) must follow this format: [Last name, First initial NAME OF ASSIGNMENT]. I don’t look at anything named “untitled document”.

When an assignment is ready to be passed in they fill out a form I create using GAFE. It asks for their Name (a separate question for last and first), class section, and a link to their shared document. Now, I often will include other items – a question that forces them to go through a formatting checklist, a reminder to put the assignment into their “LA Pass in” folder. I have recently began including a grid question that recreates the rubric so they can self evaluate on the assignment and I also include questions that make them reflect on the process of the assignment.

The student accounts (and so the account I use to interact with them) are managed and I am unable to share the exact forms I use with students but here is a link to a PDF of the form students used to submit the final draft of their poetry essay.

The brilliance of using a form to collect student work like this is that I then end up with a spreadsheet with a link to the assignment that I can sort by last name, class section, or by how they scored themselves.

Watch the video below to see the form, the spreadsheet it creates, and how I use it.

Set up a Digital PLN


When I mention to people that I’m on Twitter most respond “I don’t see the point” or “I don’t get it”. That is when I explain to them that I use it as a Personal Learning Network (PLN). If you set it up right, Twitter is a hotbed of links, resources, thought-provoking questions and statements, and support for educators. If you looked at the list of accounts I follow on Twitter you would see that they are all related to education and technology, this means my feed only (well 99% of the time) contains only items I have interest in (okay maybe I’m not interested in every post, but the chances are high that I will be).

Of course some of you are thinking – I can’t sign up for yet another site. The good news is that you can reap the benefits of Twitter without participating. As an educator we know that participation is a better model, it works without it but is so much better with it. By utilizing the search bar on the twitter site you can find tweets on just about any topic. Even better is to search for hashtags, that is a tag added to the tweet that provides a way to have a conversation. At the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Summit people tweeted about what was going on using the hashtag #gafesummit This means that if you go to the search bar in twitter and put in #gafesummit (include the # symbol) you will see all the tweets. If you wanted to have students tweet about a novel their reading and have other students (within or outside the school) interact you could have them add a hashtag, e.g. students reading Lord of the Flies would add the hashtag #LOTF to let everyone quickly and easily be a part of the conversation.

There are lots of hashtags you can check out such as

Find me on twitter here. Look at who I follow (this is a great way to find new people to follow)

I also use Google+ as a PLN. The great thing about Google+ (and this is similar to Twitter) you can add people to circles and they don’t have to add you back. Being able to organize your contacts is great (so great that Facebook copied this), this allows flexibility, you can have a PLN circle (that’s what I call it), a friends circle, family circle, people you’ve met once but don’t really know circle – PEOPLE WILL NOT KNOW WHAT CIRCLE YOU’VE PUT THEM IN!!!!!

The advantages of Google+ are:

  • Not limited to 140 characters
  • Much easier to follow a conversation

If you don’t have a digital PLN start with Twitter and putz around there. Leave a comment with your tips/tricks/suggestions for follows/hashtags!



G+, Facebook, and Twitter – In one place

This find just changed the G+ game. . .

I came across a Google Chrome extension that does exactly what I’ve been looking for. It allows you to post from G+ (which is open to all to join now) and have it post on Twitter and on Facebook. Voila! It also pulls feeds from both of those services into your G+ stream. So in your new stream you will have Facebook, Twitter, and G+ posts – that you can interact with!

This page gives you a very simple graphic, and links to the extension and T and FB, showing how to install this.

When you first install the extension It puts a FB and Twitter icon up in the google bar (you know where it says; G+, Gmail, Calendar etc. See the screen shot below)  and you click them to sign into that service. I had to click each icon and sign in 4-5 times before it actually signed in.

Then when you are ready to post, you can choose to only post to G+, or only to G+ and Twitter, or only to G+ and Facebook. Bear in mind that when it posts to twitter it only takes the first 140 characters. When you are posting it does give you a character count so you can put the important stuff first or truncate it to fit.

Now when you click on  you will see your G+ friends, Facebook friends, and Twitter friends musings all in one place! AND you can post comments on the posts you see. I can comment on a FB post, or reply to a Tweet – right from G+.

When I first opened my G+ stream I was a little overwhelmed – that was a lot to sift through. Then I realized that Facebook and Twitter icons appeared in the list on the left under my “sparks”. But how to see just my G+ stream? Easy, I created a new circle called “G+” (you could call it “everyone” or whatever you want) and put everyone in it, then I can click on my new circle and see just G+ posts.

Or Clicking on the icon opens a menu: So you don’t have to have everything in your G+ stream if you don’t want.

So jump onto your Chrome browser (get it here), head over to sign up, check it out, add me: to G+, get the extension, sign into your other social media and enjoy!

The poetry of 8th grade

The students made this slide show collaboratively using Gdocs, each of them took one of the poems they wrote and created a slide to add to the show! The fact that this would be made public was motivational to many students. Once the district is fully transitioned to Google Apps then this project will be much easier.

This time I created a Google Presentation Doc and put a link to it on the Language Arts site. I had students create the slide first in Keynote (they all have Macbooks thanks to MLTI) and then realized that Gdocs only allow PowerPoint slides to be imported. Luckily Keynote allows you to save a presentation as a .PPT and then students were able to import their slide into the class presentation. This conversion and importing left its mark on some student’s work, odd characters, missing images and so on. Next time I will have them sign in to GApps, create a slide and import that slide, or just create a slide within the group presentation – to be honest I don’t know why I didn’t do that to begin with. . . lesson learned.

To see the 8th grade poetry book click here: If clicking doesn’t seem to work copy and paste the address.


When you’re done come back and leave me a comment about what you thought. I’ll pass them on to the kids.

First day of 2010-11 school year

It is rapidly approaching. I see tweets and blog posts everywhere about teachers and students who have already begun the school year. This will be my third year as an 8th grade English teacher (I’m trying to shift the vocabulary at my middle school to call it English in 8th grade instead of Language Arts, even though LA is a more appropriate title -I haven’t told anyone about my plans yet. More on this as it develops) and I am PSYCHED!  As a third year teacher I feel pretty confident in the content and can really work on my delivery and integration of technology, especially collaborative technology.

The word in the district is that we’ll be set up with Google for Education this year – I’ve been hoping, mentioning this since I started, along with some of my colleagues. This means Google docs – can I go paperless this year? I think that I’ll certainly use less. The blog helped with this goal and Google apps will further it. It will also fit nicely in with my belief that learning is collaborative – real-time collaboration is so effective. The class wiki is good (I use Wetpaint) but real-time collaboration can be tricky when people start saving and exiting the editing tools.

The other exciting thing that is happening in the 8th grade is Expeditionary Learning. You can read this previous entry about how this new model unfolded. We have done the bulk of the planning for a Spring expedition that is modeled after one we saw at King Middle School called Truth and Consequence. The team is on board, the administration is on board, and I’m certain that the students will be on board. I will be blogging about the process once we start in February.

There is also construction going on at the school. We recently changed from a 6-8 school to a 4-8 school and construction should be finished by February break (hey that’s when we’re kicking off our expedition, good unplanned timing!). The hallway to the new addition is going between 8th grade social studies room and 6th grade math room. These two rooms were gutted over the summer. A permanent wall was erected between my room and the SS room where before there was a movable wall. Most of my room is covered in dust and everything is smooshed against the opposite wall. This does have a plus side though, I can put things against this wall now. I think I will change the set up of my room and put the SmartBoard against this new room and make a horseshoe seating arrangement (I didn’t have the space for that before and had seating pods).

I’d love to hear about what you are going to do this year. Trying something new? Changing how you teach a lesson? Let me know!

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