How to use Google Docs to get your students to talk to you

Using technology to help build relationships

Remember back to your own middle school experience and how awkward you felt asking a teacher for help with everyone else watching?

Laura Botte, 6th grade math educator at Edmunds Middle School, in Burlington VT, shared with us how she’s been using Google Docs to encourage her students to open up about what’s going on in their lives, and how that affects their ability to be present in the classroom.

How to use Google Docs to get your students to talk to you

Botte created a simple Google Form that asks students whether they’d like a “check-in” with her: a quick private conversation, at their discretion. This allows Botte as an educator to find out how best to support students into a space for learning.

She asks three questions:

  1. How are you feeling this morning?
  2. Why are you feeling this way?
  3. Would you like a teacher check-in?

The process gives students the ability to self-select when they’d like to share what’s going on in their lives, but the technology also lowers social anxiety about asking for help. The online nature of the set-up ensures even when Botte’s out of the classroom, she can still be present as a resource for her students:

How to use Google Docs to get your students to talk to you: A tweet showing a Google Form used by a teacher to check in on her students from afar

 

And how they’ll use Google Docs to check in on you

Additionally, the way Botte is modeling creation of a collaborative support system encourages her students to realize the communication can be a two-way system: Botte’s students surprised her by creating their own Google Form to check on how Botte was feeling during a particularly busy time of the year:

 

How to use Google Docs to get your students to talk to you: A tweet from a teacher showing her students sent her a Google Form to check on her well-being.

Laura Botte tweets from her classroom via @NiaLearns. Follow her on twitter for more amazing, transformative classroom work.

 

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Audrey Homan does online things like game-building, blog-posting, live-tweeting and video-editing for the Tarrant Institute. She also gets to dremel DIY iPad carts and make up theme songs for other people's columns. It's a good life, is what she's saying.

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