Family Insight Questionnaire, Student Surveys, and Contact Log with Google Forms and Sheets

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

― Maya Angelou

One of the most powerful things an educator can do at the beginning of the year is collect meaningful information from families and students. An online survey using Google Forms or Microsoft Forms allows you to capture this information in one place and export it to a spreadsheet that is all saved to the Cloud and can be easily accessed on multiple devices. You can then sort information quickly and get information about the student and family you otherwise may not have in the first days or weeks of school. The spreadsheet can then also be used as a contact log for you to keep track of who, how, when, and for what you reached out to the parent/guardian and/or student. Parents, guardians, and students have told me they truly appreciate being able to answer these questions, and they could see I “cared right away.” These surveys can, of course, be done on paper. We should also give an option to translate the survey with something like Google Translator for family members who do not speak English.

Family Insight Questionnaire Ideas in Google Forms:

  • Category #1: Parent Information and Communication
    • Optional at the beginning of the survey: Link the course information/syllabus for parent(s) and guardian(s) to review with their child
      • Ex: “I have read and reviewed the class syllabus for the class or classes my child is enrolled in with you (AVID and/or humanities). We are in agreement of the expectations, work habits, citizenship, including the expectations for digital citizenship.” If you haven’t, please do so and return to this question. Thank you so much for your partnership! 😀 Humanities: (insert link to class syllabus/information) AVID: (insert link to class syllabus/information)
    • Parent/Guardian contact information
      • Name(s)
      • Phone number(s)
      • E-mail(s)
      • Preferred method of contact (phone or email)
    • Classe(s) child is in (if you teach multiple subjects and/or periods)
    • Teacher contact information
      • Explain how parents can expect to hear from you (ex: “I understand I should expect to see your announcements through MyConnect on the first and third Monday of every month”)
    • Confirmation parents are receiving your messages
      • Send a message the first day of school through your Learning Management System and title it with a specific title. Then, add a question like this to it: “I received an e-mail on August 18, 2021 from Mrs. Reyes. If you did not receive a message notification, please add your email to “other” below:”
  • Category #2: Technology Access (Note: Now that my students are 1-1. I have removed some of these questions)
    • Type of device at school
    • Type of device at home
    • Rate your internet connection
    • Do you have a working printer at home?
  • Category #3: Student Information
    • Does your child have any issues with vision or eye sight?
    • What language(s) are spoken at home?
    • Would you like an English language translator to help facilitate any conversations we may have either through text (email) or voice (phone call or conference)?
    • Cultural Diversity: Is there anything you’d like to share about your family’s culture such as religion, holidays celebrated, or anything that can help me know and celebrate your child and family’s culture?
    • Does your child receive any outside services (speech therapy, physical/occupational therapy, counseling, etc.?)
    • Does your child live at one home or multiple homes? Please briefly explain so I can better support their needs and materials
    • Describe your child’s interests/hobbies
    • How did your child do during distance learning?
      • Checkboxes: A) Very well! B) Mediocre C) It was a huge struggle D) Other: Open answer
  • Category #4: Social and Emotional
    • What do you feel your child needs from me as a teacher?
    • My hopes and dreams for my child’s social and emotional development this year are:
    • My hopes and dreams for my child’s academic learning this year are:
    • What other information should I be aware of in order to best help him/her succeed?
  • Final Signature
    • Person/people who completed this form: (check all that apply)
    • I verify I am a parent/guardian (remember, siblings cannot complete this survey). By typing your name, you are signing that you reviewed the class information and syllabus and completed this form.
Example Questions

Resource: Family Insight Questionnaire

Student Survey Question Ideas in Google Forms:

  • Category #1: Student Information
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Name they prefer to go by
    • Preferred pronouns
      • she, her, hers (female gender binary)
      • he, him, his (male gender binary)
      • they, them, theirs (gender neutral)
    • Classes(es) student is in (if you teach multiple subjects and/or periods)
    • Birthday
    • Birthday and holidays: Do you celebrate your birthday and/or holidays?
      • Allow for a short answer text
  • Category #2: Home Life
    • I live with… (complete the sentence. If you go between homes, I’d like you to tell me about that ex: Monday-Thursday I live with my mom and two sisters, Friday-Sunday I live with my grandma and two sisters).
    • What language(s) do you speak at home starting with the primary language you speak. P.S. If you speak another language, I am jealous and would love to learn. Please teach me a few key words this year!
    • If you have siblings, please list their names and ages (ex: Sister Bella 6, brother Benji 5)
    • Do you have pets? If so, what kind and names?
    • Who are your best friends?
    • Last year, I went to school at
      • Option 1: Our school
      • Option 2: “Other” fill in the blank
    • Describe yourself in three or more words
  • Category #3: School Life
    • What do you enjoy most about school?
    • What is your favorite subject?
    • What is your elective class?
    • What do you find to be your most difficult subject and why?
    • Who is your favorite teacher of all-time and WHY?
    • Describe any struggles you have had related to school in the past that are NOT COVID-19 related
  • Category #4: Distance Learning and Technology (new)
    • How did you do last year with distance learning?
    • Describe your experience last year with distance learning in three or MORE sentences. Give me specific details. “I chose mediocre because __.
    • We all GREW last year through our struggles. What are three ways you found you grew?
    • Where is your primary work space after school? Where would you do homework?
    • Do you have internet access at home?
    • Do you have a working printer at home?
    • Which device do you have? (ex: School-issued, personal, both)
  • More information to help me teach you and reach you!
    • I learn best when… (fill in the blank – think of strategies you’ve used that work well for you to help you engage in your learning)
    • I struggle to learn when… (fill in the blank)
    • What are you most excited about for this school year?!
    • Career: Think ahead! What is your dream job? Or, if you don’t know, what is something you feel you are naturally good at and enjoy?
    • College: Think ahead! Do you have a dream college in mind yet? If not, do you have a specific location you are interested in (ex: near the beach, out of state, etc.)
    • Something my teacher should know about me… (For example: Learning disabilities, if you need to sit close to the board, issues that are going on at home, living situations, an after school activity you’re involved in, etc.). I will not tell ANYONE this information unless it involves your safety.

Resource: Student Survey and Insight Questions

Contact Log in Google Sheets

Google Forms and Microsoft Forms can be downloaded into a spreadsheet. As more people complete the form, the spreadsheet will automatically be updated because these apps are in the “Cloud.” You might consider utilizing this same spreadsheet as your contact log as well. Simply right click on column “A” on the top and select “Insert column to the left.” You can then type any notes in this column. As you contact parent(s)/guardian(s) multiple times, you can separate your notes by commas. The beauty of a spreadsheet is if you select on the cell you want to edit and ensure it is set to “Format –> Text Wrapping –> Overflow,” then the cell will remain the same size and you can simply double click to either add to your contact log or review your contact log. Each time you contact a parent, you will add text. This way, you can see that your blank white boxes are those who still need to be contacted. I like to give myself a goal of contacting every parent with a 1-1 email or phone call within the first month of school. With 120+ students, it’s quite the challenge but is worth every second.

You might also consider having a contact log with your students, especially within the first month. This can be similar to the above, or I’ve seen teachers simply put a tally next to each students’ name on their roster until they get to a certain number within the first 2-3 weeks of school to ensure they’re having that 1-1 connect with each and every student.

I hope this post will inspire educators to give student and family surveys and, if they already are, maybe some of these ideas have given you new inspiration. I update mine yearly. This year, the pronouns question as well as the “do you celebrate your birthday” is new for me as I continue to, as Mayo Angelou says, “know better, do better.”

Happy 2021-2022 school year!

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