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The Calming Corner: Using Google Drive for session notes, contact logs and more!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Using Google Drive for session notes, contact logs and more!

A while back I wrote a post on using Google Drive to track student data and more.  I've just wrapped up my third year of keeping track of things this day.  Documentation is still no fun, and I'm not perfect, but Google Drive is my favorite way to do so.  I figured I would share the documents I use now for all to benefit from!

Some of the top reasons I love it?

  • As School Psychologists, we are never in one place, so I love this method because it's convenient.  I can enter data from my desktop right after a phone call, on my iPad during a meeting or right after a session, or from home.  
  • I can't lose it.  How many times do you write notes down from a meeting and then can't find them afterwards?  Ooomph.

I had been working on this from day one, and never found a solution.  I needed a way of documenting my "regular" kids I see, but also, all the other kids, and parent phone calls and meetings.  I had tried notebooks for everything, binders for each kid, marking a time for it on my calendar, folders, creating my own forms, and a spreadsheet on my computer, but nothing was successful.  The main reason?  It wasn't accessible when I needed it.  Truth be told, as much as I would love to get all my paperwork done at school, sometimes I just can't.  And by the time I returned, I had something else to do and had forgotten about it.

Here are my go-to forms that I use all the time.  If you click on them, it will create a copy of your own!

Here is how to create your own:
Log into your google drive account, or start one for yourself (I actually created one just for school, so I could keep things separate).  Click on the "Create" button in the left hand corner, and choose "form".
This will bring you to a brand spankin' new form template where you can name your form.  For this example, I'll change the Untitled form name to "Times I See my students" by clicking on the words and typing over them.

Then you are free to go on and start creating questions.  I always start my forms with the date/time.  It just makes things easier and ensures I don't forget.  In the box "Question Title" you type the words you want to appear on your form.  In this case, still just "date".  I don't use the "help text" box, because I'm only using these forms for myself.  The "Question Type" is one of my favorite features.  You can choose anything that pertains to that question.  Here are the ones I use:

Date:  when, of course, I need to mark the date.  I also check the box that says "time".  
Text:  a short text box.  Helpful for the name of a student, or a "follow up" box
Paragraph Text:  for summaries of interaction with students, phone calls, etc.  Any time I will be using a lot of text.
Multiple Choice:  when you only need the option to choose one thing (ex:  setting...group or individual).  Make sure to check the "add other" feature here, in case there are those times that none of the choices quite fit!
Checkboxes:  when you need to make multiple choices (ex:  for my phone call/meeting form, I have parent, student, teacher, etc. on there).  

After you are finished with your question, click the "add item" to add to the next question.

You can completely customize the questions to your needs.  Here is what I include in some samples of my 3 main types of docs I use:
Non-IEP student:  Date, Student Name, Setting, Reason for Referral, Summary of Incident, Follow-up Required
Meeting Notes:  Date, Student, People spoken to, Summary of call/meeting, follow up needed
Student Data:  Date, Summary, setting, a question for each goal/objective I have.

Once you are done, scroll to the top of the page and click "view live form".

This will take you to your very own form (you can also change the theme and make it colorful and pretty if you'd like).  Save the link to this document!  You can always go back to it, but saving this link on my computer favorites and iPad allows me to quickly bring it up anytime I need it.

Enter data whenever you see fit and submit.  Viola!  There it is!  All your data is then saved securely in google drive, where you can access it when you need it.  To create a spreadsheet of your responses, go back to your editable form and click "view responses", where you will be taken to a Google Doc spreadsheet of your responses.

And that's it!  Although it takes a few minutes to set up, I have found that this system is well worth it for the time that it saves me in documentation.  I can access these documents from any computer and save the links to the forms anywhere.

What is your system that works?

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