Thursday, July 19, 2012

Classroom Library {Part 4} How to Create a Check-Out System Using Google Docs

My idea in this post came from the idea I found on the blog, Go Fourth with Mrs. Owens.  Check out her blog when you get a chance.  She gave me the original idea for creating a classroom library check-out system, and I took it a little further and added some stuff and arranged it a little differently.  I also wanted to show you more of a step-by-step process with screenshots to help those of you who are more visual learners :).  p.s. it's a long post, but it's worth it! :)

Creating a Classroom Library Check-Out System Using Google Docs
1.  Go to Google Drive.  Click on the "Create" button and choose "Form" from the drop-down menu (highlighted with a red box below).

2.  Fill out the Title for your form (highlighted in the green box below) and any directions for your students in the box below that (highlighted in green below).

The next steps are up to you on what you want your students to fill out for your check-out form.  I want my students to fill out their name, the book title, the author and the genre.  I really want them to be aware of what authors and genres they tend to read, so that's why I have them fill those out as well.  Also, each week I can do a print-out of all of the checked out books and keep a record of what they are reading.  This may be helpful for conferences, etc.

3.  Name.  If you notice in the picture above, in the yellow box it says Question Type.  I ALWAYS leave this as Text.  That way they can type whatever they need to in each box.    In the spot where it says Question Title, simply write the word "Name."  I leave the Help Text section blank.  Next, leave the Question Type as "Text," and make sure to click the little box "Make this a required question."  When you are finished, click "Done."  See the picture below for the visual of these directions.

Next, hover your mouse over the Sample 2 Question box.  It will be highlighted in yellow and 3 icons will appear on the right-hand side.  Click on the Pencil (which is the edit button- highlighted in the red box below).

4.  Book Title.  Fill out this section just like you did the Question 1 section before, only instead of typing Name in the Question Title spot, type the word "Book Title."  Click Done when you are finished.

5.  To get another question added to your form, click on the "Add Item" button in the upper left-hand corner.

When the drop-down menu pops up, choose the question type you would like to use.  For this form, I always choose "Text."

6.  Author's Name.  Fill out the question section just like before, only type the words, "Author's Name" in the Question Title section.  

7.  Add another question (just like in Step 5).  Fill out this question section with the word, "Genre" in the Question title section.  

8.  One other thing you can do to add a personal touch to your form is to add a confirmation note.  Click "More Actions" at the top right of the screen.  When the drop-down box appears, click on "Edit Confirmation."
A box like this will pop up and you can type in whatever you want.  What you type here will be what your students see after they click the "Submit" button.  I like to type something like, "Thank you for checking out a book from our classroom library.  I hope you enjoy it!"  or whatever personal greeting you'd like your students to see.   Make sure to click "Publish Response Summary," and then Save. 

9.  Finally, click the "Save" button in the upper right-hand corner of the form.
Here's the cool part... you can now embed this form into your blog or website!! (If you are not familiar with embedding, it basically is where you can insert this form onto your website instead of sending students to a link.  It actually makes it a part of your blog or website.)   I am going to show you how to embed it into a blog.  If you are familiar with HTML code and have a website, you should be able to embed it yourself there as well. 

How to Embed Your new Book-Check Out system
1.  Open a New Post or a New Page.  (I prefer to embed it on a page.  This way it will show up on my sidebar for easy access for my students.  Check out my Setting Up a Classroom Blog Series if you are not sure what I am talking about.)

2.  Type in whatever title you want up in the Page Title section.  Then click on the "HTML" button at the top left of your screen (highlighted in red below).

3.  Go back to your Form you just created.  In the upper right-hand corner click on the "More Actions" button.  When the drop-down menu appears, click on "Embed."
4.  A box will pop up with some HTML code.  Copy this code. 

5.  Go back to your New Page.  (Make sure the HTML button is still clicked.)  Then simply paste your code you just copied to the page.  It should look like this:

6.  Finally, click Publish.  Voila!! You are finished! Your form will now appear on your website! :)  If you want to see what the final product will look like, click HERE to see what mine looks like.  Keep in mind that I have 3 Language Arts classes, so mine looks just a tad different.  But this should be what yours looks like! 

To add a little flare, you can click the Theme:Plain button on the top left-hand side of your form.  You can choose all sorts of cute themes for your forms.  I chose to leave mine plain because of the size of my blog the theme background spills over into the rest of my blog and it looks yucky... but that is up to you! Play around with the themes and see if anything works for you :).

Also, you can go back and edit this form at anytime by going to the spreadsheet for the form, and click the Form button at the top.  A drop down menu will appear and simply click, "Edit Form."  Your form will re-appear and you will be able to edit it any way you want!

How to Use your New Book Check-Out System
1.  Have one computer set up for book check-out.  Let students type their book info in (one at a time) into the form.  Whenever they click the "Submit" button, it will automatically go to a spreadsheet form in your Google Drive.  (p.s.  as soon as they click "Submit," there is a button at the bottom of the form that allows them to "Submit Another Response."  Have them do this to check-out more than one book at a time.)

Here's an example of what your spreadsheet will look like when 3 students have books checked out:

2.  I am going to personally check-in all of the books.  I will have students put their books in my book Book Return Bin (see yesterday's post).  

-Then when I am ready, I will open up my spreadsheet with all of the checked-out books in it.  

-Right-click on the number of the row you want to delete.  This will highlight the entire row and a drop down menu will appear.  Choose "Delete Row."  Do this for all of the books in the Book Return Bin.  

-Your spreadsheet is now up-to-date and you know who still has which books out. 

Here's an example of the same group of students above.  John K. turned his book in, so I deleted the row.  Ashley L. and Kari S. still have their books checked out.

Does all of this make sense?  Hopefully so!  I think this system will be great for me and my classroom!  One tip: I suggest once you've embedded the form onto your blog or website, play around with it.  Fill out the form, get practice deleting stuff and entering stuff so that you can easily use this system and show your students how to use this system by the time school starts.  

Happy Thursday,