Using Google Keep

Google Keep is the often forgotten darling of the Google applications in my opinion. During my down town in the summer, I often rely on Google Keep to keep track of my to-do items and to save ideas I want to refer to later.

Google Keep is essentially a digital sticky note wall. You can create (and color) the notes, archive them when you are done, create checkboxes and check off items. Another great reason to utilize the application is that it instantly updates across all devices. I can make a quick note in Google Keep on my phone and it will be there on my desktop application next time I open it.

Below are some highlights of using Google Keep to make your life a little easier:

Agenda/Daily Planner

You can “pin” any note in Google Keep to create a heading of important “to do” items. I first saw this as a suggestion for students to keep a planner for all their classes; each class would be it’s own “pinned” note in Google Keep so that it is always at the top. I created my “pins” to be the course I teach and then just a general Administrative note for any job related duties I have to do.

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To make these “pins” stand out from regular notes, I added a photo to each note. The photo was made in Canva (and utilized Bitmojis). During the school year I use this all the time to remind me what I need to make copies of or what quizzes I need to push out yet and schedule on Classroom.

For more Student Planner tricks using Google Keep (including setting reminders and alerts, check this video).

Organizing Notes

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When you start building a lot of notes, it can certainly look like a mess. The color coding ability is nice but the best feature of Google Keep is it’s searchability and tagging. You can type keywords into the search bar and it will give you any of your notes that use that term. For example if I know I wrote that La Llorona de Mazatlan listening quiz somewhere, I can search “Laney” and it will bring up related notes. I use that feature a lot.

You can also tag notes with categories–multiple categories. You can see in the photo above I have some notes tagged with “employability”. When I do my employability skills assessment, I select that tag and I see only those notes. You can do multiple tags too.

Integration into Google Docs and Slides

One of the slickest things about Keep is that it can open in a toolbar within Google Docs and Google Slides so that I can go back and forth between each.

Under the Tools menu, select Keep notepad and you will see all your Google Keep notes. I selected the tag “psychology” when I was working with this presentation and I saw only my Psychology Google Keep notes. I could work on both easily–no switching tabs or having multiple windows open.

This is especially nice when making comments and giving feedback on Docs for students. I open my comments Keep note and copy and paste feedback that I’m giving out commonly. Sometimes I have comments preloaded and sometimes I add more “stock” feedback to the Keep note as I’m grading based on what I see.It has saved me a lot of time and it’s also good to go back and reflect on the comments. If I’m constantly having to make that comment—what can I do about that?

There are some other terrific features of Google Keep–including being able to share notes, draw and do equations and set reminders. These were just a few of my favorites.


Redesigning and Rethinking Classroom Syllabus

In prepping for the 2018-2019 school year, I did a lot of thinking about my classroom syllabus. I’ve always enjoyed using innovative design elements and usually update my class website at the same time. But when facing that much work, I wondered: how useful is a classroom syllabus anyway? I asked the question on Twitter:


Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 9.12.12 AM.pngThe results are only helpful because it reaffirms what I already wondered.

Never Use It/Who Cares

In this instant gratification society, giving someone a list of expectations and procedures and expecting that it exists after 7 days seems like an outdated notion. We want to know now, and if I don’t need to know the info right this second, don’t tell me now. Tell me when I care. This is the category I feel a lot of class information falls into with my students.

However I am required to prepare something–at least for parents and administrators so this was not a realistic option.


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Basic one page syllabus

Paper is the most traditional format of a syllabus and it’s nice to see it still has a place in the classroom. One thing I dislike is multipage syllabi. And I really like fun, colorful design elements but the pretty infographic syllabi never seemed to print well or pack the same punch as the digital version.

So this year my paper version of the syllabus will be basic, short and include only essential elements. Those wanting more information can look at the digital versions. (See a copy of my paper syllabus HERE).

Clickable with Links (Online)

I’ve tried this a few different ways in the past. One of my favorites was an App Smash of Canva or Pictochart & Thinglink (example) but this year I opted for a Google Slides clickable option.

This is the syllabus version that contains the most complete information about the course and expectations. It includes clickable links to information and relevant websites. It allowed me to use design elements. This is the version of the syllabus that I prefer. I plan on giving this to students and keeping it posted in Google Classroom.

Click here to see this version in Google Slides.

Posted Online

Technically any digital version that share online is “posted” online but I updated my classroom webpage to essentially be an online syllabus too. I think that we could count the Google Slide version as a “webpage” but most parents and community members are more familiar with a traditional website as opposed to the clickable slide version.

I again used Adobe Spark to serve as my visual introduction to my classroom. I‘ve reflected in the past how a classroom webpage isn’t utilized much for student/teacher interaction and information sharing with student management systems like Google Classroom, Schoology or Canvas. (Although it’s still super important to have a web presence!) This year’s class website is a syllabus in website form.

Click here to see my online website syllabus.

Going into the 2018-2019, I will be armed with three different versions of the same information. Each will serve it’s own purpose and hopefully be useful to different types of people. What’s your favorite version of a syllabus?

Bright Spots of the 2017-2018 School Year

Since my school year ended, I’ve been taking some reflection time to think and plan for the upcoming year. But before I completely unleash myself onto a new school year, it’s a good idea to celebrate my 10 bright spots of the last.

1. Social Media Integration

My brightest professional learning this year was done with George Couros. I had the opportunity to hear him a few times this year and he spoke about an innovator’s mindset. It was really reshaped my approach to education and the vision I have for my classroom in the future. One thing I was immediately able to apply to this school year was a ramped up social media presence and integration into the classroom. I’ve written about this before but I’m really happy with the online culture it is creating. I’ve had great feedback from parents and truly believe this is the new “Class Newsletter” or email home to parents. Social media is so instant, transparent and interactive and it lends itself nicely our classroom. I believe we’re modeling powerful and positive use of social media–which is all the more important for teens to see. (Read more about how I use social media in the classroom).

2. Story Acting

Allison from Mis Clases Locas hosted a free TPRS training this March in Dunkerton, IA and since it was 1) less than 15 miles away and 2) Allison is amazing and 3) I had never had formal TPRS training, I thought it was a good opportunity to go. The day was really good and I’m grateful for TPRSBooks for making it possible. I had a lot of unanswered questions regarding assessments that day but one idea that I decided to immediately implement was using students as actors. Mike Coxen demonstrated how this could be done with novels and I tried it the next day.

My class was reading Rebeldes de Tejas and I used the students as actors in the Chapter. It was fun watching the characters unfold. In Spanish I said that I needed a student to play the role of Juan Almonte. We discussed the personality and behaviors of the character and looked around the room for students that shared those characteristics, personalizing the material as we went. We chose a really loyal and nice girl to play the role of Juan and the chapter continued to develop. These characters moved around the room, used props and acted out the chapter as we read aloud together. The chapter took a little more time but they had so much fun. (We had our All-Star pitcher play the role of the canons!)

Here’s how I knew it was a bright spot success: The next day when we did more novel work, the students kept referencing the student actors and the events that took place. (Where was the young girl standing when Santa Ana saw her? Oh Abby and I were standing outside a church and Jonah was looking at us.) Comprehension of these two chapters was way higher than the other chapters. It was a great method of working with the novel in an engaging way.

I continued to do this with novels and also did it with our Song Stories, which was another great bright spot.

3. Songs as Stories

I think I first read about using music videos and songs as CI stories from Kara Jacobs. I used songs as stories a few different times this year and each time it was a great comprehensible success. The inclusion of the music and artist was a good cultural connection and the videos sent themselves nicely to stories.

My first major success with this was with Nicky Jam’s El Amante but I also used it with Ana Mena, Alvaro Soler, Lasso and Elvis Crespo (during my Fiesta Fatal Unit). These were fun to have the students act out as we told the stories and the repetitive storytelling helped build good comprehension.

4. Libros Libres

I was fortunate to receive a grant from the Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) and a grant from our local Casey’s Convenience Store to build a classroom of comprehensible readers for the classroom. I started doing Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) and appreciated the opportunity to give students some access and immersion in materials that they chose.

I learned a lot throughout the free reading process–some that doesn’t probably fit in the bright spots post–but overall it’s been a great addition to our classroom. I enjoyed also using my new library with a group of enrichment students. Providing more enrichment opportunities has always been a goal and I was happy to see that happen this year.

Oh and I decided to stop calling it FVR and instead am calling it Libros Libres. The kids never knew or cared what FVR stood for and I saw a need for students to learn the difference between the word “book” and “free”.

5. Drag and Drop Google Slide Assessments

I read a very good article by Kristine Keefe on Maris Hawkin’s blog with different ideas for using Google tools in the classroom. I started to build more interactive Google Slide activities and assessments where the students dropped and drag elements or reorganized things to show comprehension.

I upgraded from doing Hyperdocs in long Google Docs to using Google Slides and also started doing some reading and listening assessments as Google Slides. The students responded positively to this and I have to say that it was much easier to grade. The visual sense of it helped me understand common errors students were making (for example if I constantly found myself highlighting the teal boxes–I knew that was a common error people were making). It takes a little work to make it and get it ready but I’m so glad I’ve started to do this more.

6. Roster to Slides Function

Since we are a Google school, I’m always interested in better ways to use all the Google tools. Alice Keeler is very helpful with that. One add-on that I have loved this year is called Roster to Slides. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: take a roster of your students and it automatically creates a Google Slide presentation with one slide for each student.

This has been super valuable for formative practice activities. I can scan to see who has done what AND the students can look at each other’s work. Usually after the work is done, we take turns reading other slides and commenting on each other’s work. Technically each slide is open and anyone can edit any slide but I’ve not run into a problem yet and since I don’t do it as a graded summative activity, it doesn’t usually matter. It’s so much better than having to click and open 56 different docs or slides in Classroom!

Mini-bright spot: Gotta love the addition of Bitmoji Chrome Extension to showcase student voice!

7. Proficiency Grading Rubrics in Google Forms

Another great Google tool was used with Forms and Sheets to help me effectively give feedback to students. I created Google Forms with the proficiency criteria for speaking and presentational skills. I wrote about the entire setup and process here but it was really a time-saver for me. One of my personal problems of practice has been effective feedback. It’s something I’m still going to work on next year but I thought this was a good way to communicate to students what I thought they could improve with their language skills. (Read about the add-on and process here).

Under this category I would also say that I found a better footing with proficiency based grading. We’ve been using a Standards Based grading system and during the second semester I did a lot of studying proficiency rubrics and tried to do a better job of using them in my assessments.

8. Employability Skills

My school has been investigating Standards Based Grading and trying to figure out what it would look like building-wide. We received some great information from the Shenandoah School District in Iowa and how they are doing SBG.  They referenced the State of Iowa’s 21st Century and Employability Skills for students grades 9-12 and how they address these through grading. Since I was constantly asking the students to be “Prepared, Interactive and Engaged”, I thought there was a place to include employability standards in my classroom.

I rolled this system out during the 4th Quarter and on the first day I shared it with the students, I knew it was a good idea. Several students commented as much and asked if all teachers would be doing the same. We talked about each characteristic, it’s importance, what it looks like in the classroom and how students could exhibit these behaviors. A lot of this discussion was done in the target language but we had some informal chats about what it means to be a responsible and respectable young person today.

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I included these measurements at midterm in 4th Quarter. Scores were included in the grading program but NOT calculated as part of their grade; I wanted their grade to only reflect their language learning and without more administrative input, I wasn’t willing to mess with calculations. I just felt it was important to communicate to parents and students the behaviors and attitudes they exhibit in the learning environment. Most students scored “proficient” and I reserved by high marks for students that were examples. I kept a spreadsheet with me at the front of the room and would jot down observations of their skills anytime something stuck out to me. At midterm we also did self-evaluations and peer evaluations that helped me gain insight. My original intention was to do it again at the end of the term but ended up not doing it.

9. Peardeck and GimKit

I’d been hearing about PearDeck since 2014 (thanks to Maris Hawkins) and decided to dabble with it this year. I stumbled into a free Premium Trial that somehow I stretched for about 6 months. I remember the first day I made a deck and used it with my Spanish 4 class. I honestly told them–“I’m not sure about this site–let’s just see if this works”. When the bell rang, several of them told me this was a winner and they couldn’t wait to do it again.

I started it using it more and more with instruction and found I was able to receive great formative feedback, the students were engaged and honestly lessons were just more fun. Then I tried the Vocabulary Deck. Awesome! Then…I thought about the possibilities of using it as an assessment tool. I would prepare a deck that had some practice slides at the beginning that we would do together and then I turned it on to student paced mode with the students flipping through and answering questions on their own. I could export those results, use Flubaroo to grade and provide feedback and the result was a great, easy and attractive assessment. Now I’m just waiting to buy my Premium account for 2018-2019!

Another site that the students declared instant winner: GimKit. (Read more from Maris here). I had a 2 week trial of GimKit Pro and it’s another must buy for next year. I love how it’s different than Kahoot, Quizizz and Quizlet Live but still is based on my Quizlet sets. I love the assigning homework feature because it makes for great outside of class practice.

10. Alvaro Soler

We use Cantaninja in my classroom and the current playlist has 3 Alvaro Soler songs on it. I love listening to the students talk about their Soler-related accomplishments-I follow him on Instagram, I know all the words to Sofia, I figured out what El Mismo Sol is about, etc. In general, he’s just a bright spot 🙂

I like to end Spanish class not with a fiesta but with a music video. I like the kids to take a song and interpret it and make it their own. We did Aseraje, last year’s Paloma Blanca contest and this year Spanish 3 made a video for Cintura by Alvaro Soler. I used Kara Jacob’s unit for the song (another song story!) and everything about this was wonderful. The learning they accomplished was great but also the video itself is just really fun and a great digital way to always remember this group.

My only regret is that I only did the video project with Spanish 3. Should have done it with both courses again.

Which just leads me to: things I need to do differently next year! (Blog post to come)

Focusing on YOUR Classroom

A few days ago I read a Facebook post from Martina Bex’s Comprehensible Classroom and it encapsulated a lot of my journey from traditional foreign language education to this CI/TPRS/Novel based instruction mash-up I currently employ.

I want to start by stating how grateful I am to abundance of research, resources and opinions out there. It helped push me off that cliff and into a richer classroom experience. It is not unlike a can of worms, though; everyday I tag more ideas, discover more research and hear about more methodology. The information stream can be endless. That’s exciting—but it could be debilitating.

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Link to Post

Martina ends this post by saying “Be Purposeful”. Utilize what you can for a focused purpose. You have to know the students in front of you and what will work for them. This is a golden-age of CI resources and rather than choose from the flashiest, most talked about, or trendiest topic or resource, I believe it’s important to make decisions based on your individual classroom and students.

I’ll re-emphasize something too: make decisions based on YOUR individual classroom. This year I did a lot of reflection on what’s out there and what my personal strengths are in the classroom. I’ve been more successful when I focus on what the students need AND what I am naturally best suited for as an instructor and classroom leader. Occasionally I felt guilt in the planning process, questioning whether or not I’m implementing the theory, pedagogy or approaches with fidelity the way the experts say.

But (as with most things in life) when you trust yourself, you are going to do it right. I’m glad I took some reflection time this year to really think about what my strengths as a professional educator are and how I can implement new approaches into that in the most effective way possible.

Summertime is usually I time I devout to combing through resources and deciding what to work on for the next school year. As you do the same, I encourage you to trust yourself and celebrate the bright spots of your professional life.

In the next few days I might do a blog post on my “Brightest Spots of the 2017-2018 School Year”.

Fiesta Fatal Novel Resources

My Spanish 2 students ended a very successful novel unit with Fiesta Fatal by Mira Canion. I did a one week introduction on a Quinceañera and then spent around 5 weeks with the actual novel. The vocabulary and structure acquisition was phenomenal and the story provided us with a lot of fun discussions.

I’m writing this blog to share with you the way I worked through Fiesta Fatal and also so that I have a curated list of my own resources 🙂 Enjoy and thanks to all those that inspired me to get started with this Unit (mostly Allison at Mis Clases Locas with this post).

Quinceañera Introduction

  • I started with some of the readings from Martina Bex’s mini-unit on Quinceañeras and did activities on the ceremony itself. We did a Movie Talk based on one of the YouTube videos included in Martina’s links.
  • My students are very much into “Baile” so we played some videos of Baile Sorpresa and discussed this feature of a quinceañera. We stopped occasionally to evaluate and express our opinions about the dances and I would do some Movie Talk with them as well. Four phrases I introduced them to and encouraged them to shout out as we watched: ¡Dale Chica! ¡Padres Por Favor! ¡Ese es Raro! ¡Superguay!
  • I told the story of Bailar by Elvis Crespo using some TPRS acting and it went really well. I also used this slideshow. Huge thanks to the Kara Jacobs and all her song activities.
  • I created a comprehension coloring Glyph to go with this mini-unit too but didn’t end up using it. Gotta love snow days in April!


Fiesta Fatal

  • I spent some time front loading the vocabulary by using GimKit and PearDeck Vocabulary Slides. PearDeck was a great one day activity that I really feel helped my students learn the vocabulary and get comfortable with it. GimKit is always amazing. You can read more about that from Maris Hawkins here. In looking back I only created Quizlet sets for Chapter 1, 4-10. For each day we would ready I would choose 2-4 target words, put them on the board and practice them before hand. I’d like to be more consistent with this vocab next year though.
  • Chapter by chapter I followed a lot of the resources and recommendations of Mis Clases Locas.
    • Using some of the images included in Martina Bex’s BINGO activity, I created a Tic Tac Toe card with 9 images from Chapter 1-5. I used this as a presentational assessment. Students came back to me one at a time and described a “tic tac toe” to me in the target language.
    • I let the students read Chapters 4 & 5 independently and then gave them a paraphrased reading quiz. It helped me gauge who was able to read for understanding and who was parroting or just going with the flow.
    • My students really enjoy drawing pictures and then projecting them to talk about them in the target language. We did that when predicting what would happen to Vanesa in Colorado. The drawing predictions gave us an opportunity to play with some different tenses and learn more vocabulary in context.
    • The Chamberlan Perfecto activity included in the activity packet was fun but hard to manage with classes of 15+ students. I had a lot of disengaged students during the Q&A portion of the event so I need to work that out before next year.
    • I like using emojis to help students summarize what they have read. Students did this for Chapter 9 & 10 (included in my slide resources).
    • We tried the Plate Game which was great but I need to simplify my phrases so the image is easier to draw. Many started to draw several small pictures instead of one large image.

Final Assessments

  • I wanted students to be able to sit and discuss the book with others. We did a Conversation Cups practice and followed it up with simultaneous presentations the next day. (I was able to give quick feedback using an Add-on in Forms that was handy too)
  • I brought back the four phrases from the beginning of the Unit (¡Dale Chica! ¡Padres Por Favor! ¡Ese es Raro! ¡Superguay!) for a presentational assessment. First, we discussed when we would say these phrases in real life. That was a fun 4 corners activity where I introduced “Yo diría”. Then students had to choose a part from the book in which they would exclaim one of those phrases. They were assessed on their ability to describe the part of the book and expressing their opinion (or why they would say that phrase. I again used the add-on to streamline feedback and the results were great.
  • While I was doing this Unit in Spanish 2, I was using Kara Jacob’s Cintura Unit with Spanish 3. Inspired by the writing assessment that goes with that Unit, I created this writing assessment for Spanish 2, where they had to write their own story similar to Fiesta Fatal but could change some details. This type of writing assessment was great because I could really see comprehension at a lot of different levels.

In finishing this novel with this group of students, I know that I want to start the year off with Frida Kahlo and just keep throwing novels at them all year. They did a great job and had a lot of fun with this book. Thanks to all those that shared resources and I hope my reflections can help anyone thinking about implementing a novel in your classroom too!

Conversation Cups Assessment

I’ve really enjoyed doing simultaneous presentations with speaking practice in my Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 classes but something that I’ve done recently with Seesaw is also working out well. I’ve done Conversation Cups both as a formative assessment and a summative assessment of interpersonal communication.

For Conversation Cups, I create a list of discussion questions in Quizlet, cut them out and put them in a cup. Students sit in small groups and use the questions as discussion prompts. I usually have them record their group conversations in Seesaw so that I can provide feedback.

This week students did the Conversation Cups as a station activity (formative assessment) and then again two days later as a summative assessment. I like to level the groups by skill level so the conversation is balanced but sometimes it’s nice to see what happens when random students get together.

Reading Assessment & Interactive Google Slides

I’ve reflected in the past on using Google Slides as Hyperdoc activities.  This morning I graded reading assessments that were completed using drag and drop activities in Google Slides and I’m excited about the ease of the activities and the skills I was able to assess.

This week I did a lecture on M-11 and the terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004. The assessment for this kids at the end of the week was to read and comprehend statements and key vocabulary words. The 4 slide assessment included matching vocabulary to pictures, matching up sentence fragments to create complete statements and matching emojis with selected statements. The end result gave me a great assessment of the student’s ability to comprehend written phrases.

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Although the sentences could be in any order, I looked for color combinations to let me know if the students correctly matched the sentences. 

They enjoyed the ease of the drag and drop elements and I enjoyed the ease of the grading. I color coded boxes so that I could easily compare correct answers. For anything that was not looking correct, I changed the line color to red and made it bigger.

Although these sentences could be listed in any order, I looked to make sure the color combinations were correct. I highlighted in red anything that is incorrect.I would encourage you to play around with drag and drop and color in Google Slides to simplify your assessments. It’s a great way to go digital with assessments and the students really enjoyed this method. I’ll put a copy of the assessment before. If you are interested in this Unit let me know and I can do a write-up and share the lecture, station activities and discussion prompts.

El Amante y el Desacuerdo

One of my most popular CI units in the last two years has been the Unit where we discuss “desacuerdos”. This year I tweaked it a little bit to incorporate the fabulous Nicky Jam and the results were immediate and engagement high.

I used this lesson in Spanish 2 right after the introduction of irregular past tense verbs “fue” and “vio”. One day the kids played Nicky Jam’s “El Amante” during Cantaninja. I was preparing for my traditional storytelling intro to “desacuerdo” in the next week and while watching the video, fireworks went off. THAT video would make a great MovieTalk introduction to desacuerdo. I scraped the old story-asking script and created a new unit.

I began by introducing the targets, circling and discussing them with personal details. We talked about types of disagreements, what happens, how do you deal or resolve, etc. The next day we did a MovieTalk with images from “El Amante”. The past tense targets fit in so nicely and I was able to introduce them to some new vocab words along the way. They picked up a lot through context. We then watched the video. Some content in the video may not be suitable for all levels. There is the implication of domestic violence and some language. My students loved it…especially the ending which gave me the opening to tease the future tense.

Over the next two days we continued with storytelling and retelling activities:

  • Back AtCha
  • Blind Retell
  • 8 Essential Events
  • Collaborative Mural
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The collaborative storytelling mural my students did for El Amante (using the interactive whiteboard)

The targets were hit and the story retold. Then we spent a day analyzing the actual lyrics and doing a Coro with the chorus. We also continued to listen to the song throughout these days too and also did a Lyrics Training as a class. I created a Goosechase to have the students create Freeze Frame images of key phrases. I used those phrases in a Listening Assessment later that week. I also made a cloze Reading Assessment based on the story too and administered that through PearDeck.

Another one of the most fun activities we did while analyzing the lyrics was a version of #Booksnaps which I called Palabras en Escenas. We had a large Google Slide deck (using the amazing Roster to Slides add-on) where each student had to create one slide which depicted part of Nicky Jam’s lyrics and how they were applicable in other situations. Students got creative, showcased their own pop culture loves and used images and Bitmojis to reflect meaning. It was a quick activity that produced some great connections.

The music based CI lesson went so well that I’m trying to figure out what to do next. At this same time I also did “No Soy como tu Crees” with Spanish 3 as a tie in with La Llorona de Mazatlan. I can tell Nicky Jam was a hit through as he keeps being requested for Cantaninja…and several students downloaded “El Amante” and have it on their current playlist. Music + CI for the win!

Almost forgot my Pop Culture interpretation of El Amante con Jim y Pam 🙂

Google Tools to Assess and Provide Feedback

Since making the shift to standards based grading, I’ve wanted to make sure I communicate expectations and give feedback that fosters growth. My goal is to move students along on the path to proficiency. With each assessment, I want to show students what proficiency looks like and provide them a pathway to advancement.

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Google Form with checkboxes of assessment criteria and checkboxes for feedback. 

Recently I had presentational assessments in Spanish 2 and decided to build a Google Form to organize data. The Form had checkboxes related to our specific proficiency standard criteria. Then I included some feedback checkboxes and an open place for me to write comments too. I filled out a form for each student while assessing.


So then I had a Google Sheet of data. Cool. How could I get this and deliver this to my students? I tried about 5 different tools and then finally fell in tech-love with a Google Sheet add-on called formMule.


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Google Sheet of data from Google Form.

In order to get this data to the students, I needed to copy in their emails into the sheet (using an easy alphabetic sort copy and paste).

The add-on formMule will send a template email using the data in a Google Sheet.



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The formMule email template

The add-on walks you through the process nicely. I created a template for the email I wanted sent to the students. It uses the merge tags from the Google Sheet and I just placed the info in there the way that I wanted.

When I clicked send, I wasn’t 100% sure what was going to happen. But the emails went through and they looked exactly like what I wanted. I was happy to get the feedback back to the students in digital form. (I was even happier when a student validated me later that day.)



Interactive Google Slides as Hyperdoc

Recently Kristine Keefe wrote a guest blog on Maris Hawkin’s site about the amazing uses of Google in the classroom. It really got me excited about the possibilities with assessments and different visual activities that are possible by integrating Google Drawings and Google Slides into the classroom.

Typically when I create a Hyperdoc, I use just a Google Doc and include hyperlink or embedded activity elements. For an upcoming Hyperdoc I created to review different tenses and information from the beginning episodes of Internado, I decided to make a Google Slides Hyperdoc.

One thing I already like about the Google Slides Hyperdoc vs. my traditional Google Doc is that it is easy to organize and navigate. I can easily flip to the slide that I want to see—AND the information is visible at a quick glance in the sidebar view. I can easily see if students skipped any steps without having to scroll through a 3 page doc. With Google Slides, I have some added design elements that I enjoyed playing with too. I could color code different sections and create some cohesiveness with design and organization that is not possible with a Google Doc.

The best part about Kristine’s suggestions and using Google Slides is that you can easily create drag and drop elements for interactive opportunities. I used to be able to do this by inserting a Google Drawing into a Google Doc, but it’s so much easier and more intuitive with a Google Slide.  I can create activities where students drag colored text boxes that look like buttons. There is something engaging about dragging and dropping vs. typing answers that gives Hyperdocs a nice element.

Here is a copy of my Internado Tense Review Hyperdoc. It is based on information from Season 1 Episodes 1-4.

In the coming weeks I plan on making listening assessments and reading assessments with Google Docs. If you are interested, check back here and I might do a write up on those.