Student Response Spreadsheet for Virtual Class Meetings

The first tab has directions for you. 
It's July and we are all trying to figure out how to get back into learning during a pandemic. In the spring, I found the challenge of distance learning and virtual class meetings was "hearing" from all my students efficiently. If I asked a question they could answer verbally, one at a time, or drop their answer in the chat, and I could try to keep up. Neither of these worked well for me, so I found another solution, and yeah, it's a spreadsheet. (It comes with a page of directions to help you.)

What it is: 
This is a sheet with multiple tabs across the bottom. The students enter their name (or you can do it for them) on the "Response 1" tab when they first get to "class" and then the rest of the tabs carry over their name and thus give them a dedicated space for their responses to the questions you add ahead of time, or on the fly as you are teaching.
Students add their names and check in.

What this means is, you get an easy way to see the responses from all students, and you can skim them faster than trying to keep up with a chat window. You can watch students write responses in real time. You can tell if a student is not answering a question. You can ask a specific student to unmute and elaborate on a response.

Pros and Cons:
All students can see each other's responses in real time, just as you can, so this is not a place to ask assessment questions or things with one right answer. It is a great place to ask students what they think, how they would define something, or have them list questions they want to ask you.

To make this work, everyone needs edit access, so some students may do something malicious. (My typical ratio for malicious behavior when all students can edit one document is 1-2 students out of 180, but your mileage may vary.) You get to choose if you want to address the respect issue up front, but I would say, "I'm about to give you a link to a document that everyone can edit. It is important you only work in the line next to your name so you don't harm anyone else's work."
Student names carry over, and you add your questions. 

You can have a copy: 
If you think this sounds great you can have a copy of the template to get started. You'll need to click "use template" and then click "File/make a copy" to duplicate the sheet for your classes. You can delete or rename any tab, except "Response 1." Be sure to leave that one alone or student names won't carry over to your future questions. (I set up the sheet to handle up to 50 names. If you need more than this this tool is probably not the one you should use.)

Sharing with students:
The best way to share this sheet with students is through Google Classroom. Make it an assignment and attach the file for the sheet for that class from Drive. Set it as "students can edit." (Do NOT make a copy for each student. The point is to have them all in one sheet.) Sending it to them this way through GC will allow you to see who is making edits. You can still drop a link to the sheet in the chat, so your students don't have to go to GC to get it, but sharing it through GC means their names/accounts will be attached to their edits. (You can delete the assignment after class, so it won'y show as a missing assignment for students, or use it for attendance tracking.)

If you don't have Google Classroom you can still share this sheet with your students. You will need to set the sharing permissions on the sheet before class to "Anyone can edit," and then you can drop the link to the sheet in the chat. BUT, your students cursors will show up as anonymous animals on the sheet. This makes mischief more likely and harder to stop.

If you are thinking, eh, this sounds complicated, then I highly recommend this list of engagement strategies for distance learning assembled by the amazing Ms. Emily Guthrie for other options. (Even if you love the sheet I'm sharing here, Emily's list offers a great variety of strategies to keep your online classes interesting.)

Bonus Tip: Hidden Sheets
Hiding sheets let's you save some for the end. 
When I used this with students, I found some wanted to rush through all the questions. I have two solutions. One is to keep the questions vague like, "What are your thoughts on the poem we just read together?" Or, hide some of the sheets. You can hide a sheet by clicking on the down arrow next to the sheet name on the tab at the bottom, (choose hide sheet) and unhide them by going to the "View" menu at the top and selecting hidden sheets.

I tended to use the final question like an exit slip, so I would keep it hidden until the end of class. Pro tip: make sure you are not sharing your screen when you unhide those final sheets. No reason to show students how to do that or they may unhide them for you next time.

If you have questions you can leave a comment below, or ask me on Twitter, @JenRoberts1.

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  1. How would the exit slip work? Can we prevent kids from rushing out of class without giving us one?

    1. I like to hide the tab that has the exit question and then reveal it at the end of class. There are directions about hiding and unhiding on the sheet. Nothing we can do to stop kids from leaving early, other than tell them there is one last question to answer.


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