In this episode, Kasey chats about one of the most feared Google tools–Sheets! Every teacher should learn to use this robust tool! Let’s explore free templates, time savers, and all the wonderful things you can do with Google Sheets.
Google Sheets for Teachers!
Kasey explains that teachers often share that Sheets is the app they know the least about and are intimidated by the most. Google Sheets can seem intimidating with all the different formulas. However, there are so many more capabilities of this tool. Kasey shares how to access simple templates where the spreadsheet will do the work for you!
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15+ Ways for Teachers to Use Google Sheets in the Classroom
It’s worth noting that Sheets and Excel work primarily the same. The templates may look slightly different, but the general use will be similar. To get started, type in sheets. new in the web browser to open a blank spreadsheet. At the heart of this application is the task of analyzing numeric or textual data.
Once you’ve opened a blank spreadsheet, it’s easy to find the template options. Click on the green Sheets logo in the top left corner. This takes you to the Sheets home page. The business-type templates are likely to appear at the top of the gallery, so click on the arrows next to the template gallery for more options.
If your school is utilizing the share option for templates, this is where those templates would be found. The templates listed under the education section include attendance, grade book, and assignment tracker. Teachers likely have specific platforms for these specific items. However, these simple tracking tables can be an excellent place to start for other tracking needs. Perhaps it’s necessary to track permission slips turned in and lunch options picked for a field trip. These templates can get you started.
Calendars and Schedules
The Personal section of templates also includes a roster and calendar option that teachers may find helpful. The calendar template shows an entire year on the first sheet, and then each tab found at the bottom is an individual month. Teachers in charge of clubs or associations might find this helpful template.
Another great template for small projects is the schedule template. The layout allows for time blocking, which can be personalized and even color-coded.
How each teacher chooses to plan their lessons is a highly personal task and as individual as each teacher themself. What works for one teacher may not work for another. Premade planners can look beautiful and claim superb organization, but if it’s not the way your brain works, then it may not be a good fit. Kasey encourages teachers to start with a free template and play around with the options.
Remember that it’s possible to play with fill colors and fonts to adding a little flair. Color is one of the great capabilities inside Sheets. When using conditional formatting within cells, it’s possible to set a specific text or number to fill with a specific color. This works amazingly for quickly seeing a specific item or pattern.
There may be specific assignments that teachers want to track separately from their LMS or grade book. It may be necessary to track large projects where students turn in multiple pieces of one project. Using the dropdown chips, Kasey shared in her quick tips recently.
Another tool within Sheets is the checkbox. Kasey shared that she purchased a premade template for productivity which includes many of the checkbox features. It also includes several conditionally formatted cells to share then a percentage of items completed. The sheet allows for daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, as well as goals. Once again, Kasey reiterated that it’s essential to try different options because she ultimately decided this tracker was not for her.
Google Form Connection
Most teachers are aware of the option to create a Sheet from Google Form responses. With the many updates to Forms, it’s not as necessary to utilize the Sheet for analyzing responses. However, the Sheet will provide more functionality for needing to sort responses. For example, when a Form contains a multiple-choice question, it’s possible to sort for specific answers.
One more idea that wasn’t mentioned on the podcast was using Google Sheets to create and implement rubrics. Here is a great rubric example (with Creative Commons licensing).
Analyzing and manipulating data points is by far one of the most significant options for educators to use Sheets. Being able to sort or filter for specific student groups or recognize which items were the highest or lowest are valuable functions within Sheets. These functions save valuable time and provide more explicit pictures of the data collected.
Math Problem Solver
Any of those non-math teachers out there can certainly appreciate the formulas within Sheets. Those formulas will do the math for you! Kasey shared a template in her book, Shake Up Learning, from a kindergarten teacher Christine Pinto who uses a Sheets template to teach foundational algebra skills.
In episode 32, Kasey spoke with Lisa Johnson, who has created several great tracking templates. These were also mentioned in Kasey’s book, Blended Learning with Google. There are trackers for goals and habits, emotions and gratitude, reading, and so much more. These trackers are great for students to use as well.
Differentiated Instruction Tracker
Kasey also found this great Differentiated Instruction Tracker template!
This would be one of those big projects where organizing assignments might be helpful. Providing some student ownership by having them complete a Google Form is a great idea to add. The sheet itself will become an organized place with links to student work, making it super convenient for the teacher.
Add-ons for Sheet
These can allow for greater functionality than what the platform of Sheets will provide. Kasey suggests using Autocrat. This add-on helps to organize information gathered from a Form that is translated into a Sheet which is then translated into a Doc in a specific format. Then it generates an email with the document attached.
Other add-on ideas that may be helpful include: Form Mule, Mail Merge, Doctopus, Form Publisher, Avery Label Merge. Scrolling through the add-on options may be a fun treasure hunt. You never know what kind of help you may find!
In you didn’t know, CSV stands for comma (or semicolon) separated variable. The important use for this type of sheet is usually the need to upload rosters into a computer-based program. Another great way to use a CSV file is with Canva bulk create. Perhaps you have a need to create certificates for a class; uploading your CSV into Canva will do this. So much time saved!
Look for the icon in the bottom right corner to Explore and gain insight into your data automatically. This tool uses AI to prompt suggestions for different ways to analyze the data within the sheet. When the data may feel overwhelming, this explore tool can provide a great start to your analysis. This tool does exist in other apps, but only when there is content.
Hopefully, this episode shared some new ideas or reminded you of something you could use. For more great ideas and ways to utilize Google Sheets, check out the playlist curated with all the greatest Sheets content.
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