Feedback To You!

lightgrenade

During presentations and essays, I like to have students use Google Forms to provide peer feedback. While Google Forms is awesome, there are two big problems when using it for peer feedback: 1) It isn’t great for collecting wordy feedback. As you know, when you collect big pieces of text via Google Forms it can be hard to read. 2) Once I have all that peer feedback collected, it is difficult to share it back to that student so they can reflect.

For a while. I was printing out the feedback, cutting it, and handing it back to each student. This was annoying and time consuming. I said to myself, “Self, there has to be a better way!” Thus, my first foray into scripting came about like most inventions: Necessity.

I scoured the internet to see if any code that would solve my problem already existed and I came across this. From there, I did a bit more research, read a few articles, and played with Google Apps Scripts until I got it to do what I wanted.

This script will take a Google Form’s assigned Sheet, make an easy to read e-mail out of it, and send it to a person. For me, it means a student is e-mailed peer feedback in a way that they can easily digest. It is far from perfect, but it gets the job done.

I intended to keep this script locked away forever, since I’m not confident in my abilities yet, but in a recent conversation a teacher was lamenting that she was having the same problem I was: getting Google Form feedback back to the students in a way that was easy to read. I told this friend, the great Kate Baker, about my script and she asked me to share it with her.

I figured I would do one better. Below, you will find the script and below that a tutorial to “install” it. Again, I’m still learning, but if this script can be useful I feel it is my duty to share it; we’re all in this together. Feel free to use it as you see fit, and if you happen to know anything about code, I’d love to hear some feedback. Also, if there is an add-on or script out there that does this job already, let me know!

Here is a link to the Google Apps Script if you’d like to copy it from there. Otherwise, here’s the code:

function myFunction() {

}
var EMAIL_SENT = "EMAIL_SENT";

function sendEmails2() {
var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSheet();

var startRow = 2; // Row to start gathering data. Usually 2 because of header. You shouldn't need to change this.
var numRows = 3; // Number of rows to process. This is typically number of students.
var numCol = 7; // Number of columns in the spreadsheet
var emailSent = 8; // In this column, script will write "E-mail Sent." Future e-mail will not be sent if "E-mail sent" exists
// Fetch the range of cells
var dataRange = sheet.getRange(startRow, 1, numRows, numCol)
var dataRange2 = sheet.getRange(1,1, numRows, numCol)
// Fetch values for each row in the Range.
var data = dataRange.getValues();
var data1 = dataRange2.getValues();
var word;
for (var i = 0; i < data.length; ++i) {
var row = data[i];
var emailAddress = row[3]; // Column e-mail address appears in. Don’t count first Column.
var message = ""; //put a message between the quotation marks, if you'd like to add anything to the body of the email
for(var x = 0; x < data[0].length; ++x)
{

message += data1[0][x] + ":\t" + data[i][x] + "\n\n";
}

var emailSent2 = row[emailSent];
if (emailSent2 != EMAIL_SENT) { // Prevents sending duplicates
var subject = "Your Feedback"; //change this to change the subject of the email
MailApp.sendEmail(emailAddress, subject, message);
sheet.getRange(startRow + i, emailSent).setValue(EMAIL_SENT);
// Make sure the cell is updated right away in case the script is interrupted
SpreadsheetApp.flush();
}
}
}

And the tutorial*:

Until Next Time,

GLHF!

*Note: I mess up column and row every time I say it in the screencast. I really do know which is which… I promise.*

 

The Best Assessment Ever!

lightgrenadeWhat if I told you I had an assessment that hit most Common Core standards, increased test scores, was cross-curricular, and, most importantly, fun and engaging?

What is this magical assessment, you ask?

Student-made board games!

Students make their own board games at least once a level in my class. I use it to add some life to something boring like our mandatory vocabulary curriculum, to assess students’ understanding of a piece of literature or non-fiction, or to work on their ability to write informative texts.

My students work in Guilds for the year. When it comes time to make a board game, each Guild is given a class period or two to design the game. I tell them they have to make the game fun, fair, educational, and playable by the biggest Guild. I tell them they must also write the rules and directions out since they will not be there to explain them. That’s it! That’s all the direction they get. What kind of game they make, the rules, the questions, and everything else is up to them.

This creative freedom has led to some great games:

Forget playing the board games for now. The real learning and reinforcement comes from creating the game. If you think about how much high-level thinking goes into creating a fun, fair, and educational board game it’s easy to see why it hits so many Common Core standards.

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Gotta Be In It To Win It


Update 11/6/14:
KI Furniture has released our commercial!

We always encourage our students to take a risk, but when is the last time you took a risk for them? With them?

As I’ve started to revolutionize my classroom, I’ve had to take a lot of risks. I’ve had to put myself out there in ways that I never thought I would because I realize now the things I want to do and have in my classroom will likely never be given to me; I have to the risk and go out and get them!

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It’s Time For Mastery Learning

lightgrenadeOnce upon a time, I was terrified that I wouldn’t pass my drivers test. I wasn’t good at parallel parking to begin with, but as I waited for my instructor to pick me up I realized that I had been practicing on the wrong side of the road. I had been approaching the parking spot from the north when I should have been approaching it from the south. To be successful, I would have to mirror everything I’d trained myself to do and would only have two shots to get it right. Outlook not so good.

Once upon a time, I was terrified that I wouldn’t do well on the SATs because I never took a strategy class, nor studied in any meaningful way. To add to the stress, my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college, so I needed to do well on the SATs to get a scholarship. Do poorly and I’d have to go to community college and live at home; not something I wanted.

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Gamify Your Class Level III: Badges

lightgrenade“Badges ruin students’ intrinsic motivation to learn!” I hear this or a similar intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivational worry every time I talk about Gamification. What people are trying to say is that they are worried about the Overjustification Effect. The Overjustification Effect is a real thing. It does happen. Just not all the time to everyone always like people seem to believe. It’s more a sometimes to some people under certain circumstances kinda thing which you can see in studies like this one, this one, this one, this one, and, most recently, this one. I believe, when used properly and creatively, badges do much more good than harm. I’m not an expert in psychology, but I use badges and they’ve worked wonders for me; I love them. From the people I’ve talked to, things I’ve read, and mostly my personal experience in a gamified classroom here are 10 things you can do to get the most out of badges in your classroom and put the Overjustification fears to bed.

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Getting My Game Up!

lightgrenadeA quick weekend update to let you know some of the changes I’m making to my gamified class this year. You can see my gamified class site at Saga City Learning.

Whenever I add new game mechanics to my class I keep two things in mind: the types of kids we teach and what motivates them. In order of most powerful to least powerful, what motivates kids (and everyone, really) is Status, Access, Power, and Stuff.

Status – means to raise the value or esteem of someone.

Access  – is the ability to have something not everyone can have.

Power – is the ability to have say over yourself and others.

Stuff – tangible… stuff.

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So It Continues…

Teched Up Teacher

One year ago today, I started this website to document my foray into what I believe the 21st Century Classroom looks like. This overhaul, I said a year ago, included “compliance with common core, heavy emphasis on technology, project/problem based learning, using Google apps for school, blending my classroom with Schoology, student self-pacing, a full Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program,  a flipped classroom, and gamifying my classroom with achievements (badges), leader boards, item shop, and what I believe to be the world’s first ever attempt to turn my students’ work into an Alternate Reality Game (ARG).

There’s a bit more to this story. I wouldn’t say this then, but I am willing to say it now: I wanted to quit teaching. Our broken education system had sucked the life out of me. Whether it was because of politics, administration, tradition, or a number of other things, I was struggling to provide my students with the education they deserved. I decided I would give it one last shot. I would change everything and do things my way. And if it didn’t workout, it clearly wasn’t meant to be; I would quit (or be fired) and find a new career.

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Gamify Your Class Level II: Leaderboards

logoAfter creating a Total Points XP Grading system, the next step in creating a successful Gamified classroom is implementing Leaderboards. By popular demand, I’ve made my leaderboards available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. My leaderboards build on the work of the amazing Mike Matera (@mrmatera), who is someone you should be following if you are into Gamification. Leaderboards fill a necessary niche in a Gamified classroom: leaderboards raise the status of all students and motivate Gladiators and Achievers.

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Postmortem: Gamification Data Dump

game-onI thought I would dump my yearlong Gamification data, side-by-side, and give my thoughts. This is the first side-by-side comparison I’ve done on my data, so let’s do it together!

First, I must apologize. Like an idiot, I accidentally deleted my third marking period data. I can say, though, it showed a general continuation of MP2. A few percentage points growth/decline in either direction. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think losing MP3 data matters too much, but I’m still pissed at myself. I also have to apologize for my Photoshop/WordPress skills. It’s hard to get all these questions side-by-side on WordPress. They don’t want to play nice together. Note: having the Hover Free extension will make reading this a lot easier. It’s one of those must have extensions!

So, that being said, let’s get after it!

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IndieGoGo Go!

starIf you haven’t heard, my students’ IndieGoGo campaign has gone live! We are both excited and nervous. It seems we’ve become a test case for the education community. I’ve received a lot of e-mails from teachers who say they are watching and waiting to see how our IndieGoGo campaign goes. If we are successful, it seems many teachers would like to do something similar for their own classroom. If we fail, I suppose we fail alone.

No matter what,  I’m happy with my students’ efforts and stick-to-itiveness. There were many opportunities to tapout, but they did not take them. There were many opportunities to give up, but they kept going. They could have thrown in the towel, but they decided to fight. I’m proud of them.

If you would like to donate to our campaign, that would be awesome. If not, sharing our campaign would be awesome too. Either way, this social experiment has been one of my proudest moments.

Thank you!

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