COVID-19: My Tips for Transforming Materials into Google Forms

I’ll admit, as a teacher I use a LOT of paper. I’d say I average about 5 sheets of paper per student per class. I agree it’s good for humanity to “go green,” but when it comes to effectively learning math I strongly believe that students need to write things down, and try new methods, and erase things, and keep detailed written notes. Now with COVID-19 and remote teaching, I’ve been forced to go digital.

I still upload all of the original paper documents to the students’ grade book, so they can print the materials if they have access to a printer, but most don’t, so I’ve made all of my assignments into Google Forms.

And if you read no further, at least read my most important tip I learned during this second week of distance learning:


I won’t even admit the number of times I received Forms submissions this week that had no name attached. I decided which student it belonged to by a process of elimination: who actually did write their name and roughly what time was it submitted? However, for my poor kid who submitted their work at 5:09pm yesterday without a name, I’m sorry, I still don’t know who you are.

Needless to say, one of the easiest things you can do on Google Forms is ask the student’s name and require that question OR set the form to automatically collect their email address. One caveat: if the form asks for a file upload, the file is actually renamed with their name at the end. But don’t rely on this!

Ok, so besides that, I have a few more tips for transforming your materials into Google Forms:

  1. Make use of your computer’s screen shot feature (on a Mac this is command+shift+4).
  2. Use the “duplicate” function on Forms to quickly copy a standard question on your assignment.
  3. Explore the different question types Forms allows – so far I’ve used short answer, paragraph, multiple choice, linear scale, file upload, and checkbox grid.
  4. Don’t overdo it with converting your usual assignments to forms – while it’s nice to use all of Forms’s functionality, a simple screen shot image and file upload question works just fine!

The original paper version.
Ta-Da! Now it’s a Form!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s