Monday, May 7, 2012

Using Google in the Classroom-A Series


Today I am going to be starting a week-long series on how to use Google in the classroom.  We were very fortunate this year and transitioned over to Google for our e-mail system.  We got all of the perks that came along with Google, including Google Docs, Calendar, etc.  I am my school's technology coordinator and I am a huge advocate for using technology in the classroom. 

 Please understand that my district does not have a lot of money.  We are in the same budget crisis as many public schools.  I am fortunate to have a Smart Board in my classroom and three student computers.  We have a computer lab that is shared by the entire school.  If you don't have access to much technology, know that everything technology-related that I do in my classroom is with the use of these limited resources!  Also, you do not need a Google account through your school.  A general gmail account will work!

The first post in my series is creating a library book checkout system using Google Forms.

Once you are logged into your Google account, you will want to go to documents.  You can access this directly by going to  If you are not already signed in, you will be prompted to sign in.  On the left side of the page, you will click create, then select form.    

On this page, you will create your form.  Mine is titled, "Mrs. Owens Library Book Checkout."  

In the first box "Question Title," I have Name and "Question Type" is Choose from List.  From there, you will enter each student's name.  You will want to click the box, "Make this a required question."  

On all Google Forms, you are only given sample question 1.  You will need to click "Add Item" at the top to add another question.  You will want your next item box to be a text box.  In "Question Title," type Book.  You will also want to make this a required question.  

Next, click "Add Item" again and add another text box.  In "Question Title," type Author. You may or may not want to make this a required question.  It depends on how many interruptions you want if a student cannot find the author's name when they are checking a book out!

If you want to spice up your form, you can select a theme.  There are several to choose from.  I have selected the Books Modern theme for mine.  

Click here to see my sample form.  This is what your students will see.  I have mine saved in my favorites menu on all computers that students have access to.  

Once students submit responses through this form, they will be saved in a spreadsheet in your Google Docs.  All responses are timestamped so you can see when a student checked a book out.  

The only downfall of this checkout system is when books are returned.  I have developed a system that works for me and also helps me to keep my library organized.  I keep a crate near my desk for book returns.  Every other day or so, I go into the spreadsheet and delete the row containing the book entry and put the books back into the library bins.  I learned from experience to keep the book return crate near my desk and not in the library area because students would take books out of the crate to checkout before they were checked back in.  

After typing this, I decided I would try to make a video tutorial.  
I hope that you find this useful!  You can also access this video on You Tube

Prior to using this system, I have never had a book checkout system that worked.  Last year, I eventually gave up and figured if books weren't returned, hopefully they were being loved.  This checkout system works!  The students love to have any excuse to use the computers, even if it's just checking out books!  


  1. Have you tried booksource organizer?

    You can enter all your books, kids can check out and check in. I just found it this year and plan to enter all my books this summer.

  2. LOVING your Google tutorials...I am a wanna be tech savvy teacher, but, alas am just a novice! Thanks for all the great information!

  3. This is a fantastic idea! Thanks

  4. I love this idea. I looked at the site posted by a commenter above and while it seems great, I would rather put the burden on them. I don't want to type on all my titles. I have a LOT of books. I made a form to practice with tonight and plan to implement this in my classroom this fall. Thanks!

  5. I love this! This is wonderful! As a first year teacher, this will be perfect for my new classroom...I have been looking for a checkout system!

    While playing with the google form, I found a "checkbox" part that can be added...maybe this can be used for the returning of the books? It can say something like:

    1. Checking out the book
    2. Returning the book

    And this can be a required part where they have to say whether they are checking it out or returning it.
    I don't know if this will work, but it was just a thought/idea when you expressed your return procedure concerns.

    Thank you again! I always love your ideas :)

    1. I loved this idea too, and wondered about this myself. I tried it as a trial run and seemed to work, but I don't know how confusing it would get with a classroom full of students checking out and returning.

  6. This is a great idea. I have been putting cards in my books for the last 8 years and it is a pain. I still will struggle with the check-in procedures. I like to have the kids run everything. I don't want to check all the books back in myself.

  7. I love this idea! Google Docs rocks! :) Thanks for sharing :)

  8. I agree with Mrs. Dzirbowicz that I think this is a great idea except for having to check in all the books back in. Last year, a few students in each class were co-librarians and helped with the process. It wasn't perfect, but it was better than having to do it myself. Thank you!