Monday, October 23, 2017

Organize Parent Conference Notes With Google Forms

Have you ever had that moment, days or even weeks after a parent conference, when you remember that someone asked you about something specific, but you can't remember which parent it was. You go searching through all your student files, digging for the one paper that has the note you know you wrote? I’ve been there a time or two for sure. In my 9 years of classroom teaching, I tried every way I could think of to take and organize parent conference notes, and trust me, some of them were a little on the crazy side. I was determined to find a way to keep all my notes about each child in a central document, but still maintain the privacy needed so parents couldn’t see what I'd written about other students while I was typing. None of them worked well - until I discovered Google Forms. Google Forms allows me to make parent conference notes that end up in a sortable and searchable Google Sheet. I can look things up by date, by student, or search for a keyword (because I know someone asked about tutoring, but I can't remember who). My notes are never left lying around for someone to catch a glimpse. Google Forms makes things so quick, easy, and clean - I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner.

If you are new to Google Forms, you might want to check out my Google Forms 101 post, which gives you all you need to know to create and handle a Google Form. (*Note - Google has recently added a few more options which are not covered in my 101 post - yet.)

My form is very simple. I ask for student name, meeting date, and who was there - these are all required questions. I then have optional questions for behavior notes, academic notes, additional comments, and necessary follow-up. I love the follow-up box, because then I never forget to do something I told a parent I would do.

Here is an example of what my Parent Conference Notes form looks like:
Google Form to write down parent conference notes
Parent Conference Notes

I just bookmark this form on my iPad, Chromebook, or laptop, and make sure I select the option to "Show link to submit another response" in the settings. I fill out the form while we are talking, finish it up once the family leaves, and then hit submit. I can click the link to submit another response and I am ready for the next parent who walks in the door. Once conferences are done, I have a Google Sheet with all my data that I can sort to my heart’s content. I can hit control-F (Command-F on Mac) to open up a search window and seek out those keywords to help me find the note I’m searching for. It’s a beautiful thing!

If you'd like to make a Parent Conference Notes form of your own, you can click here to make a copy of my form and tweak it for your own needs.

Happy conferencing!

Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia was an elementary school teacher for 9 years, teaching both 5th and 3rd grades. She worked her way through college as a computer technician and brought her love of technology into the classroom. She is now serving her school as an Ed Tech Coach and enjoys empowering other teachers to integrate technology. She is a Level 2 Google Certified Educator, a Google for Education Certified Trainer, and two time CUE Rock Star Faculty. You can find her on the TeachingTechNix blog or on Twitter - @TeachingTechNix.