Google Sheets: Beyond the Formulas!

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

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 my team. One application that I wasn’t using too often was Google Sheets. I took a course and it was so informative! I learned all about formulas, add-ons, and tips and tricks for students to use Google Sheets as well. Today I am going to share with you some ways I use Google Sheets to help me ease the time consuming to-do 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 list of how your kids are doing. 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 usually create a color scale to let me see the different grades, and I can 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 and 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 created a sheet for each of my classes and I have a master copy of the students names pre-populated in the first column. Then, as I put them into a group I change the fill color of the cell of their name to the color of the group I am putting them in. Check it out here:

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

Checklists for Planning

How frustrating is it when you’re planning this awesome lesson and in your mind it’s going to be the most jaw-dropping lesson of the week and then you get to work and realized theres a major component missing? Fear not – Google Sheets FTW! 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 and 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 had 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 such an important tool for me – I use it beyond teaching. I have a budget spreadsheet that helps me manage my money, a blog post tracker, and I track my TpT sales goals! Email me at letstechaboutmath@gmail.com if you have any questions or want some tips and tricks on Google Sheets beyond teaching!

I hope this helps with becoming more efficient in the classroom! Thank you for stopping by, don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive access to my Google Drive with FREEBIES just for subscribers! One of the freebies is a detailed explanation of how to do these three things, so be sure to subscribe for it!

Enjoy!

☆Alexandra☆

Digital Small Group Solutions

Hello Techie Teachers!

As we enter August, I have been in full on planning mode for September! One area that I struggled with the most last year was planning small group work and center time. This year, that is going to be one of my main focuses! I’ve been trying to research efficient ways to create my groups and plan which center each group will get, but I found nothing that will suite me, so I decided to make something!

In my school, we begin our day with Center Time for about twenty minutes. During this time, I have four things happening in the room – I am working with one small group, another group is on technology, a third group is doing a collaborative problem solving activity, and a fourth group is working on fluency. This can get crazy because center time isn’t necessarily for what I’m teaching the whole class that day, it’s to bridge the gaps of previously taught standards. I try to keep it to a standard a week and rotate the same groups throughout each of the different centers.

The Problem: Grouping

The issue I was having last year was that when I created my groups for each week, I was looking at a list and crossing out names as I put them in a group. This posed as an issue for me because I would STILL leave students out! The day would come for them to be in a group and I wouldn’t have anywhere for them to go. I wanted to create a digital way of grouping for this year where the students are pre-populated and I can just rearrange them.

The Solution

I created a Google Sheet with my students names on a class list and on the side are the four groups, color coded. I can cut and past the students names in each group, and when their name is cut I know they’re already in a group! I also plan to color code the students names for my high-medium-low groups when I meet them and get a chance to review the EOY data from fourth grade. This will help me to ensure all students have a group each day in the week. I also plan to keep students in the same group all week because, let’s be honest, changing them daily is way too time consuming and the standard to work on is the same all week anyway!

The Problem: Planning Activities

Last year when I was planning activities for centers, I would have my bin separated by skill/standard and just give them to the kids if we were working on the standard. This became an issue because I wasn’t entirely organized about giving out the center and some students got stuck doing the same center more than once, which isn’t exactly meaningful work. I mean, some centers can be repeated throughout the year, but not in the same week. This was where I was really struggling last year, so again, I did some research for ways to plan and was inspired by a few blogs, but nothing worked directly for me. We do center time, but it isn’t exactly Guided Math or Math Workshop, because we still have a whole group mini lesson, independent practice, and math journal every day after centers.

The Solution

The solution to this was to add another sheet to my workbook on Google Sheets. The second sheet was to plan my activities and which group will be doing them and what day of the week. I can copy my groups right into the boxes on this sheet to know which kids are doing what and when. This will help me to see what centers I need for the week and I will keep making copies each week. I may even add a yearly plan to this, but I haven’t thought about that yet.

What do you think? How can you use this for your classroom?

☆Alexandra☆

Purchase this Small Group Planning Solution at my TpT store by clicking here!