Using Google Forms for Peer Evaluation

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ImageWe are lucky in our school board to have Google Apps for Education for both staff and students, and I have been very enthusiastic about using the apps for a variety of tasks.  Recently in my AQ course, we were presented with the task of looking at curriculum from a TPACK perspective.  We were given one cue card with some content we had to teach, one with a teaching style or pedagogy, and one with a technology tool.  Our cards said: DRAMA (content), DESCRIPTIVE FEEDBACK (pedagogy), and GOOGLE FORMS (technology).

“Impossible!”  We all said (I was working in a group of 3).  And then we started thinking about it.  We were all familiar with the way our students give descriptive feedback to their peers on a regular basis: the 2 stars and a wish model.  Essentially, the students raise their hands after watching a performance, and give feedback that is either positive, or a wish for improvement.

I wondered what would happen if instead of having the same 3 students always raising their hands to give stars and wishes, we gave them the Chromebooks and had them type their stars and wishes online.  We assumed that the students would be much more willing to comment if they didn’t have to speak about their stars and wishes in front of the whole class.

Last week, I put it to the test.  A grade 3/4 class that I teach was ready to perform the dances they had been creating.  I signed out the Chromebooks, and handed them out to students.  I showed them how to get to the form I created.

ImageOn the form itself, the students had to select the group they wanted to comment on from a drop-down menu.  Then they had to select whether they wanted to submit a star or a wish.  If they selected star, they were sent to another page of the form where they typed in their comment.  Likewise for the wish selection.  When they were finished typing their comment, they clicked “select” and were then prompted to either close the form or submit another response (allowing them to comment more than once if they wished).  I gave them no further instructions.

I was amazed by what I got from these students.  Most of the students took the initiative to give both a star and a wish comment, and all students framed both their stars and wishes in positive terms.  Here are some of the examples of comments from the students. These are copied word for word.

What’s more is that the students LOVED completing the form.  They all wanted to say something about each group that performed.  We still have some more performances to go through, so there is the potential for the novelty to wear off, but I can see them being interested for a long while.




They rembered there dance and did it at the same time

I loved the flow, so much!

You guys did amazingly awesome I love your cool movements

I like how you took it nice and slow

They had graseful movementes and I love the dance moves.

I like the costumes.

they used powerful strokes in the dance.

they cept in syince

My wish for them is to make the dance a bit more longer.

Next time be prepared for the dance and maybe you should have made your dance longer.

They should work on doing their performance faster and taking their dance more seriously

I wish they could make the hiding part more clear

My wish is for them not to be silly and not laugh when there doing the play it kind of messes the play up.

They should work on their time

My next goal is to create a form with a video of the performance embedded right beside it.  This would be for the students of the group to self-evaluate.  What do you think?

Private Profile Pictures: Teaching Elementary Students AboutTheir Digital Footprint

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My “safe” profile picture



uniqueThis year I embraced the use of Google Apps for Education in my teaching.  However, I wanted to teach my students about privacy and digital citizenship as well.  While Google Apps for Education creates a sort of “walled garden” for my students, I also wanted to make sure that parents were comfortable with what we were doing in class.
The main problem is that there are a plethora of amazing tools at my fingertips as an educator, but teachers and parents still have a lot of fear around using technology with young children.  As a mother and a teacher, I understand the fear, but the reality is that things have changed since the days when the internet first came along and we had to be super careful.

These days, everyone is putting everything out there.  Literally.  So I see a real shift in how we present technology to our children and our students.  The fact is that these kids will use social media.  Period.  Whether they do it now or down the road is irrelevant.  Our job now becomes teaching these kids how to use social media in a responsible way.  We need to show kids how to present a positive digital footprint.

Teens these days are posting inappropriate photos and comments all over facebook, twitter, and other social media sites.  I think the main reason for this was the explosion of social media and adults’ fears and reservations.  When social media first came about, the majority of educators did not embrace their use in teaching.  As a result, the first generation of social media kids had no training and therefore have no knowledge of applying a filter to what they do online. They are not aware that what they post at 16 will follow them for the rest of their lives and affect their job prospects in a few short years.

That’s why I started the year by explaining to my students in no uncertain terms that from now on, whatever they post online will be online forever.  They can never take back the inappropriate comment they post, or the photo of themselves that they send out to someone online.  We talked about how to stay private, and the students came up with all the answers I was looking for.  Try it with your own students.  You will be surprised how much they know.

As for pictures, we started the year by creating “safe” profile pictures for my students to use online.  I introduced the idea after we discussed internet safety, and gave my students the tools to access various web tools to create photos.  You can find these resources listed below.  I also went to each site ahead of time and created my own profile picture to show the students how creative they could be.  You can see my examples above.

So, you are probably wondering… how did it go?  My students were so engaged with this activity, and used their profile pictures all year long.  Better still, they applied what they learned to our subsequent activities with Bitstrips, Comic Life, and Kid Blog.  Success?  I think so.  And maybe, just maybe, when my students are 16, they will think twice when they post something online, and consider how it will impact their digital footprint.

For more information about Internet Safety, check out this great Common Sense article.  It’s a great resource to share with parents.

Tools for Creating a Safe Profile Picture with your Students:

  • Clay Yourself – Create a clay version of yourself.  From
  • DoppelMe – Create a dynamic avatar.
  • Lego MinMizer – Create a Lego figure of yourself.
  • Marvel Super Hero Creator – Create a super version of yourself
  • Unique – by Rasterboy
  • There was also a great Toy Story 3 Toy Creator, found here, but it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.  Hopefully it will be back some day, because it was FANTASTIC.

Getting Googley – Originally Published for my Tech class Apr. 22, 2013

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This past weekend I was extremely lucky. I got to attend the first Google Apps for Education Ontario Summit.

I have been telling everyone that the Google Summit changed my life, and it is absolutely true. I really feel that I am looking at education and technology in a completely different way than I did before I attended this amazing event. Yes, I learned a lot of cool things about Google Apps and some impressive tricks that I can wow my friends with. But that wasn’t the best thing I took away from the Summit. Not even close.

What I came home with was a deeper understanding of what it means to be a teacher and a student today. And what I have discovered is that it’s okay to not have all of the answers. As a teacher I have a plethora of tools to help me find the answers, and a world-wide network of like-minded teachers, to help me and inspire me, at my finger tips.

And most importantly, it doesn’t matter what technology tools I prefer to use in my classroom, because the fast pace of these innovations is fostering a mindset of testing things out and seeing what works. There will always be new and better things available to me and to my students. But taking that plunge into something new and exploring it together is an authentic learning process that will be repeated over and over in my life and in the lives of my students.

As a teacher, I can lead my students into responsible digital citizenship, by being a responsible, innovative, and inspiring digital citizen myself. And that is now my major career goal.

Click here to see a presentation I made summing up my experience at the Google Apps for Education Summit

Let the Learning Begin

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As part of my goal to learn about and incorporate technology in my teaching of primary students, I set out to complete two major events this year.  First, I got really excited about the first Google Apps for Education Ontario Summit.  Subsequently, I made the commitment and signed up for the Integration of Information and Computer Technology in Instruction, Part 1 AQ course.

I was back and forth on doing the AQ, because I have always been pretty comfortable with technology, but it really became more about improving my learning overall and cultivating a learning community for myself.

In our very first class we created a 6 word story by finding an image about learning or teaching online and using Pixlr to add words to the image.  We could only use 6 words, to sum up our ideas.  I like this idea, and will definitely be trying it with my students.  I am attaching the story I made here, as a focus of the blog, and to hopefully get the ball rolling.