6 Simple Ways Google Can Save your Sanity During Open House

Use Google to prep for Open House


Google Forms is a great way to collect survey data for both students and parents! I love this so much more than paper copies because it’s so much easier to manipulate the data. Because Forms automatically puts your data into a Google Sheet, you can organize the results any way you need! For example, if I need to curate a list of all the students who don’t have consistent internet access at home, all I have to do is sort that column in the Sheet of responses. Further, i can also sort based on preferences for planning differentiated lessons or personalized learning lessons. The best part…drumroll please…it’s organized for you ALL year long!

If you’re running short on time, or just don’t feel like making your own, you can grab the survey I like to use with my 7th graders. It’s pretty generic, so any grade level could use it. It’s editable, too, so you can easily make it fit your needs!

Click here for my survey! 

Form Publisher is one of the greatest Google Form add-one out there! If you don’t have it added, you need it! Form Publisher takes data from the Form and puts it into a pre-framed Doc (or Slides). This is a great way to send personalized emails or letters to your parents that will make you look super techy!

Here’s how:

  1. Create your template letter in Google Docs and use tags (these guys: <>) in the place of your Form information. For example: “Hi <<Parent’s Name>>! I’m so happy to have <<Student’s Name>> in my class this year…” A tip for you: save your Doc like this so you can distinguish it from your others: “Open House Welcome Letter TEMPLATE”.

Still not sure about this? Click here for a template sample.

  1. Create your Google Form survey. Make sure that the words inside the tags (<<>>) from your Doc matches the exact words in the survey question. Also make sure that you have a question for each set of tags.

Be sure you collect email responses! Otherwise, you won’t have a recipient for your fancy new welcome letter!

2. Get the Form Publisher add-on and run it. It will walk you through the prompts, and that’s it!

3. Test it out! Always, always, always test it out with your own email. This way, you can see exactly what your parents will see.

4. Administer your survey at Open House and your parents will automatically receive a personalized welcome email and you look super techy and super put-together!

Whip up a website to house important information for your parents to access! Google Sites makes creating a website a cinch- especially if you’re already using Google. If your information is already created, you’ll be able to create a classroom website in less than 10 minutes! Then you can have the url or a qr code during Open House for access anytime!

Want more information on this? Click here!

Every year it seems the list of forms parents need to return gets longer and longer. Help them out by giving them a checklist. Google Docs has a checklist feature, so you can type this bad boy up in a few minutes! To make your list a checklist, simply type your list, highlight, click the bullet drop down, and select the checkbox option.

checklist in Docs video

Having a presentation running during Open House is a great way for parents and students to get a sneak peek into what can be expected for the upcoming year. With Google Slides, you can easily add pictures and other information that can run on its own in a loop, leaving you to do your thing!

One great feature with Google Slides is the sharing feature. You can collaborate with your team to create your presentation. So, all of your 7th grade ELA teachers could have the same presentation. You all could collaborate and develop one, then each of you “make a copy” and edit the details that are specific to you and your classroom.

To make the presentation present, transition, and loop on its own take a few simple steps:

  1. Click File
  2. Click Publish to Web
  3. Choose your “auto-advance slides” (default is 3 seconds)
  4. Check boxes next to “start slideshow as soon as player loads” and “restart the slideshow after last slide”
  5. Click “Publish”
  6. Copy-and-Paste the link and voila, you’re free to do your Open House thing!

Video Publish Slides to web

Google Tasks are severely underrated! It combined with Google Keep are my favorite organizational tools. EVER. Seriously, I cannot function without them!

Google Tasks is a to-do list system that lives inside your Gmail and your Google Calendar. Yes, I said it lives inside. That means your tasks will display in your Google Calendar on the specified dates. It also means that you can turn an email into a task, that will then display in your calendar! Gmail has recently updated (May 2018) to have a sidebar that will display your tasks, similar to the way Google Calendar will display it.

To access Google Tasks, you’ll need to switch from “Reminders” in Google Calendar to “Tasks”. Then, you’re free to add items to your fancy new to-do list!


video Video for Gmail Tasks

Google Keep is another great tool to keep you organized because you can access it anytime, anywhere, on any device. The app is a great way to access when you’re on-the-go, which for teachers is all the time! Keep can definitely be used as a to-do list, but I use it more for jotting down random notes because I use Tasks for my to-do lists. More favorite features of Keep is the reminders capabilities and the collaboration capabilities. You can set reminders to go to your phone (if you download the app) for your notes. You can also share the note with someone else so you can both add items, and hopefully, check off items. Keep also has the extension, so you can add to your notes from any website. There are label and colors so you can further organize within Keep.

Hopefully Google can help save your sanity during this year’s Open House!

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