Using Google Forms for Band
I am all about making my life easier and less stressful. Last year, I switched our band over to all Google Apps and it totally changed the way the program ran for the better. Nearly everything that would have been paper-based was moved to forms through our band website. Forms is the best program ever. I mean it. Seriously. EVER. I made a quick video to show you the basic options you can use with Google Forms. I say quick, but somehow I manage to ramble for nine minutes at a time. Sheesh, gotta stop that. Anyways, the video shows one example of each type of question you can post, and for time's sake, I've saved the rest for here. If you're new to Forms, watch the video, but if you're a pro looking for inspiration, check out the list of ways to use it below!
Student Information Forms- Collect all the information you could possibly need on a trip with a standard Google Form sent out at the beginning of the year. Check with your administration first, because you could end up with confidential information on your personal device, but if the admin is okay with it, you could have life-saving help right at your fingertips. Ask for basic information like parents' contact information as well as any medical issues you'd need to know about. If you have Drive on your phone, you can download the responses file and have it with you at all times, even without phone service. I know from teaching in a small school that sometimes we had football games in Dirt, TX, and there was no data available, but I could still look up emergency contact information from my phone in case something happened.
- Name, divided into one or two columns
- Student Cell Phone (Ask your administration first, but this is handy for finding kids who wandered off at an event.)
- Parent Contact Information
- Medications and Allergies
Shirt Order Forms- Use a form to collect shirt sizes at the beginning of the year so you're not having to chase down every kid for their size. You can add an image of the shirt and an extra box to allow parents to order shirts as well! With the response page, all the orders are neatly in one spot.
Student Votes- Instead of passing out and counting slips of paper, use Forms to take a vote with your band. This has a variety of uses!
- Vote on band officers or other leadership elections.
- Students vote from their phone to pick the next movie on a bus ride.
- Vote on one or to meals for a large trip.
- Poll the ensemble for availability if you have to schedule additional rehearsals.
Absence Form- Have your students let you know when they'll be absent from a practice or performance by filling out a form. You then have time stamped documentation of the reason a student is absent. You can use the form to give them instructions- Use a checkbox or drop-down question to ask the type of absence (medical, family emergency, school related, etc.) and then select the option for the response to forward them to a specific page. On that page, you can tell them you need a doctor's note, a parent note, a coach's note, or whatever else you may need from them.
Instrument (Or Uniform) Inventory- Depending on the size of your program, you may want to use a Form to keep track of your inventory. As you check out a horn to a student, fill out their name, grade, the brand of horn, and the serial number. Add a section for a description of any damage or equipment included. Have students with their own horns enter information as well so you can return any lost instruments that may come your way.
Music Library- We all have a partial music library Excel file, or ten, somewhere on your computer. Using Forms, you can input your library information (or have that overachieving clarinet player do it for you!!) and have an up-to-date version of your library. This is great for schools with multiple directors or campuses. Each person can go in and edit the spreadsheet or update it, and everyone instantly gets the update!
Missing Horn- If a student forgot an instrument, assuming you're not doing marching band, you can create a "Rehearsal Detective" type form that they fill out throughout class. It can include a section to explain why the horn was forgotten. You can follow that up with questions about what is happening during rehearsal. So there you go. You don't need to print off one single form next year. You don't have to collect them, find them, type them in, hunt down the six kids who didn't turn it in. You don't have to wonder what you called that file in the depths of "My Documents" or figure out what inventory.xls is the most updated file. You're welcome :)