Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Back to School Activities: Getting to Know Your Students with Google Forms & Kahoot!

Hi all, It's Shana from Hello, Teacher Lady here. Today I'm going to share with you one of my favorite back to school activities -- it combines my trusty Google Forms/Sheets with everyone's favorite techie game, Kahoot!

In the past, I've had students fill out short little "inventories" at the beginning of the year -- which have been helpful to a certain extent, but I found that I didn't look at them as closely or as often as I should have. Stacks of paper usually don't survive long with me and ultimately end up tucked away in the filing cabinet of doom.

Since I started drinking the digital Kool-Aid and had been using Google Apps for Education for just about everything else in my classroom, last year I decided to nix the paper and create a Google Form for my students to fill out instead. That was a pretty good idea on its own, but then I had a lightbulb moment: why not turn the obligatory getting-to-know-you form into a class game! And that's where Kahoot! came in.

On the Google Form, I asked students to list three "fun facts" about themselves and made sure to note that some or all of the information collected would be shared with the class. I also mentioned that we will have to guess who's who during a Kahoot! game in a later class period, so I encouraged students to be creative and try to list things that aren't super obvious or that others might not know about them.

The results of the Google Form were then displayed nice and neatly in a Google Sheet, and it was a lot of fun reading through these facts and seeing what each student wanted to share about themselves. It also provided some unexpected insight, as I had one student write that he was a "good liar" who is "very lazy" -- yeah, definitely expect that one; we had an interesting year together. Anyway...

This next part was a little time consuming, but totally worth it. I took the information shared and compiled them into statements about each person (without using their name, of course) in a Kahoot! game for each class period. Sometimes I used all three facts, sometimes I only used one or two; it just depended on the type of information. For my smaller classes, I created extra statements based on some of the unused information, so some students' names appeared more than once.

Below are a few screenshots of statements from one of my classes last year:

In the answer section, I included the correct student's name and then chose three other names at random. I also included a statement for myself and sprinkled my name in some of the choices throughout the game as well. So not only was I getting to know my students, but they were getting to know me too! Pretty sure no one expected to learn that their teacher is a Star Trek nerd who played Rugby for 5 years. :)

Guys... we had SO. MUCH. FUN. playing this game!  I can't wait to play it again this year with my new students. It can get a little rambunctious, but again -- so worth it. 

For the record, since I'm an ELA teacher, I also gave students a separate reading/writing interest survey, which was crucial in getting to know their interests and habits on a more academic level. However, this year I am going to utilize Google Forms for that as well. I just don't seem to get along with paper, and Google Sheets can be accessed from anywhere! 

Tomorrow's post by Lyndsey from Lit with Lyns will go into more detail about using digital student interest surveys, so stay tuned!

Psssst -- there's a giveaway happening on my blog right now. Come on over to check it out. :) 

hello teacher lady


  1. What a great idea to combine the back to school inventory with an ice-breaker game!

  2. What a great idea to combine the back to school inventory with an ice-breaker game!

    1. Thanks Sharon! It really was a great way to start the year. :)

  3. Shanna,
    I LOVE this idea! I always use Kahoot to review for vocab tests, but this is such a great way to incorporate the surveys! You just gave me lots of great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!