Google Sheets: More than just Formulas!

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A quick read on 3 ways to use Google Sheets, besides calculating with formulas, in the classroom!

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Google Apps. I use Google Slides to create all of my lessons, Google Classroom to give my students assignments and Google Docs to create documents to share with colleagues. One application that I wasn’t using too often was Google Sheets. I decided it was time to learn about this rarely-used app.

I did some research and learned about formulas, add-ons, and tips and tricks for students to use Google Sheets as well. Today I am going to share with you 3 ways I use Google Sheets to help me ease the time consuming lists of teaching.

Conditional Formatting

Even if you’re not using Google Sheets for formulas, you can use it to type in students grades and you’ll have a neat and organized gradebook. Conditional formatting is the greatest tool you will use to make your life 100x easier!

Basically, you can set it so the lower grades are one color and the higher grades are a different color. I create a color scale to let me see the different grades. This helps me to easily see the students I need to conference with at a glance. I set up my Google Sheet like this:

Planning for Grouping

I created a grouping spreadsheet to help me when I make my center-time groups. Last year, I used paper and I left out kids more often than not. It was so frustrating for me and them to figure out where to put them. I no longer worry about that because of Google Sheets!

I create a sheet for each of my classes where I have a master copy of the students names pre-populated. As I put them into a group, I change the fill color of the cell to the color of the group I am putting them in. Check it out here:

As I create the groups, I can quickly see where students are going and who still needs a group. This is such an amazing time saver – I no longer take hours to plan for center time and small group!

In fact, grab my small group solutions by clicking here!

Checklists for Planning

How frustrating is it when you plan an awesome lesson and in your mind it’s going to be the most jaw-dropping lesson ever and you go to teach it and realize there’s a major component missing? Fear not – Google Sheets for the win!

You can insert check boxes into a cell to check off as you complete the tasks! I created a master copy that I make a copy of and fill in for each chapter. This helps me so much when I’m planning for the unit. I can see what I need for each lesson and check it off as I create each piece.

Another use for the checkboxes is to check off as students hand in assignments, trip slips, or anything really! This will save yourself from asking, “Where did I put that paper with the kids names that brought in the permission slip?” Such a simple solution to a very real problem!

Beyond Teaching

Google Sheets is an important tool that can be used beyond teaching. I have a budget spreadsheet, a blog post tracker, and I track my TpT sales! Email me at if you have any questions or want some tips and tricks on Google Sheets beyond teaching!



Picture of author, Alexandra.

PS – If you love Google Apps like me, you’ll love to read about the unique ways that I use Google Forms. Check out that post here!

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Hi, I'm Alexandra!

I am a fourth-grade math teacher turned elementary tech teacher. I help upper elementary math teachers like YOU get organized digitally and engage students with digital tools. When I’m not teaching, you can find me taking long walks with my dog, Frannie, or travelling (especially to Disney World)!