This post originally appeared on the blog Mrs. Brosseau’s Binder.

I’m writing this tutorial as I sit at my kitchen island, eating a scone and drinking coffee. I know what you’re thinking. “This teacher has time to sit down?!” Oh yeah — sit, eat, and have coffee. Here’s my secret. 

How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity

I’m an idealist. I want to give my students everything they need for success and that includes lots of descriptive feedback. I’m sure, like many of you, I was doing this to my own detriment. I was spending so many hours carefully going through assignments and projects to give specific feedback. What I was finding, for the most part, is the comments I was writing were repetitive.  

“Be careful not to use first person when writing a lab report.” x 5 
“How could you rephrase your headline to catch the reader’s attention?” x 20
Refer back to the success criteria to be sure you are meeting all of the expectations.” x infinity
My hands were sore and I was tired. I’m sure you can relate.
How to expedite hours of marking with Google Forms and still give feedback
I was bringing home so many projects to mark because they just took so long to mark I couldn’t get them all done at school. With a toddler at home and another on the way, there is no such thing as down-time. I needed a better way.
I played with trying to solve this problem with some programming in Excel, and debated getting out my old programming books, but the answer was much more obvious: Google Forms.
If I could put all the typical feedback comments into a Google Form, I could just check the ones that apply to the student’s work. Genius!  Except it didn’t format nicely. That’s where the add-on docAppender comes in. It takes the data from the Google Form and puts it so nicely into a document.

How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity

What I love about this is that I can still give my students plenty of feedback. If the comment I want to include isn’t already in my form, I can always add more comments at the end of the feedback question. Plus, once I have this done for an assignment it won’t take much work to use it again for a different assignment or even for next year’s class. What a lifesaver!

It does take a while to do the first time, but the time savings when it comes to marking is worthwhile. Now when I do my Inquiry Projects, I can mark the entire classes work in one prep period!

Here’s how I do it:

First set up your folders, files, and forms in your Google Drive:
How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity
Next, make the form amazing by adding in the rubric, and all the comments you’d expect to be using for this assignment. This takes a while, but the beauty of this is when marking you’ll mostly just be clicking instead of writing by hand. Also, you can copy this form for your next assignment.
How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity
Now we need to set up docAppender. This is the add-on that makes the form’s data presentable, so you can just print out all of the comments instead of writing by hand.
How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity
Once docAppender is all set, try assessing an assignment. There is an extra little step to remove the commas that appear between each of the comments you check.
How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity
There you have it! Once you do this once, a lot of the work is done forever. You can copy forms and edit them for different assignments. It’s an upfront time investment, but I can’t even believe how many hours it has saved me in marking even on just the first few assignments. Oh, docAppender – I LOVE you!

This is so great for inquiry projects. If you want to save even more time, check out my Inquiry Project Package that you can use for ANY subject. It includes a Google Form template you can use (with comments and a rubric) to save you an incredible amount of time!

How Google Forms saved this teacher's sanity
Let me know if you’ve tried docAppender, or if you have any other tips for giving lots of feedback efficiently!

Mrs. Brosseau's Binder


Mrs Brosseau's BinderMichelle has been teaching Secondary Physics, Science, and Math since 2009 and is the author of the blog Mrs. Brosseau’s Binder. She lives in Ontario with three super handsome guys: her husband and two sons. There’s no question who Michelle’s favorite co-worker is; she is blessed to work alongside her amazing sister. Nothing excites Michelle like teaching her students about black holes and Nuclear Physics. You can see the fun going on in her Secondary Science and Physics classes on her Instagram accountPinterest page, and Facebook page. Check out the great resources at her TpT store.