Daily Bell Ringer: Checking In On Students Using Google Forms

Back in 1995, James Comer stated “no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship” (Educational Leadership). Building relationships and earning the trust of my students is an important part of my teaching. I want to deliver my subject material in an effective manner, but if my students aren’t in the proper mindset to receive the new content in my classroom, then no amount of good teaching will reach them.

Last year, I decided to reach out to my students and give them a way to report back to me in a private, unobtrusive manner. I created a Daily Bell Ringer activity that asked three simple 5-point scale questions related to sleep, hunger, and general state of mind, along with an optional comment.

Students were asked to complete the form as a Daily Bell Ringer activity upon entering class each day. It became routine. I took the results that flowed into Google Sheets and used several queries to analyze the data goldmine.

Daily Use:  As the responses start rolling in each class period, I have one tab that sorts the entries by reverse chronological order. The numerical responses are conditionally formatted by color, ranging from RED for “not great” to GREEN for “awesome.” I’m able to take a quick glance to see the results by color. This allows me to ascertain the current pulse of the class. It helps me determine if any students are having a tough day, a great day, or important information to share via the optional comment field. This provides important insight into the general state of mind of my students. The comments give me talking points for my students, if appropriate.

Long-term Trends:  I have additional queries set up on separate tabs for each class. Each category is averaged by student and is also conditionally formatted by color. This tracks long-term trends and alerts me to any issues that I may need to follow up on with support staff.

The results? They have been overwhelmingly positive! Students have sent comments via the Daily Bell Ringer telling me they appreciate how much I care about them. Behavior has improved. I’ve been able to make better connections with students because I know about their interests via the comments they share with me – most relate to after school activities, day-to-day struggles with quizzes/tests, general teenage humor, and the occasional “no” comment. I tell students if they don’t like filling out the form, please still do it and put some variation of “no” in the comment section as their way of “sticking it to the man!” No offense taken, as long as it’s still respectful. There have been a few instances where I’ve followed up with colleagues for support when I’ve had concerns.

In July, Google Guru Alice Keeler asked for her followers to share how they use Google Forms. I replied with my Daily Bell Ringer Check-in and received quite a bit of positive feedback and requests for my Google Form and Google Sheets documents. I’ve included the links below that will force a copy of both.

Try it: Make a copy my documents below. Please note that once copies are made, you’ll be able to modify the files to meet your own needs. The form and spreadsheet will NOT be linked together at this point because of the copy process. You’ll need to link them through Google Forms, then modify the queries to reference the correct Form Response tab.