Create Fluid Quizzes on Canvas

Do you have access to Canvas? There are some amazing features, aren’t there? So many, that it can be a bit overwhelming. The other side of that is the temptation to keep everything extremely basic, but that means you aren’t taking advantage of all of the bells and whistles at your disposal.

Why might fluid quizzes be helpful to you?

Do you:

  • teach multiple sections of the same class?
  • have students show mastery as they are ready, rather than all on the same day?
  • allow students multiple opportunities to show mastery?
  • want to safeguard against potential cheating?

If you answered yes to any of the above, fluid quizzes are for you.

What are fluid quizzes?

They are online quizzes that change within the parameters you have set so it is different each time it loads. Students are not guaranteed to have any of the same questions as their friends, and even if their question is the same, the order of the answer choices are scrambled.

How Do I Create a Fluid Quiz?

When you first create your quiz, scroll down on the details tab and check the box for “Shuffle Answers.” I also like to let students see their correct answers at a certain date, my standard is to make their answers visible the day after the quiz closes for submissions. You can also click “Allow Multiple Attempts.” Each attempt will potentially load different questions, and answer choices for questions that were on the original quiz will be shuffled.

detail options

Now it’s time to add the questions. Go to the “Questions” tab. Choose “New Question Group.”

new question group button

Click “Link to a Question Bank.” If you have made quizzes before, but not played with question banks, you probably have a whole lot of unfiled questions.

link to question bank

If you already have a question bank ready to go that only includes questions you would be happy to have on this quiz, select that title and click “Select Banks” at the bottom of the pop up window. If not, choose “View Course Question Banks.”

question bank list

On the far left, choose the button “Add Question Bank.” Give it a title and press enter.

add question banks

If you have questions you have used before that you would like to add to this question bank, open the “Unfiled questions” bank. If you have just one or two questions you want to move, you can just click “move/copy question to another bank” for those particular questions.

move question

If you have a lot of questions you want to move, you’re better off using the “Move Multiple Questions” tool on the far right.

move multiple questions

Clicking this will open a pop up window that lets you quickly click check boxes for all the questions you want to move, and send them all to the same question bank. You can send them to an existing bank, or create a new one right there.

move questions pop up

Keep in mind that you need to have more questions in your question bank than you intend to include on your quiz. The closer the number of questions are in your bank to the number of questions you plan to include on the quiz, the higher the probability that students will have the same question on their quizzes. I like to keep the number of questions in my bank at about double what I plan to include on my quiz.

To add questions, go to the question bank you want to edit, and click “Add question” on the right hand side. Edit your question bank until you are satisfied with it. If you work with a team, perhaps each person could be a teacher in a shared sandbox, and you can all contribute a certain number of questions to each question bank.

One word of caution

You want all of the questions in a question bank to be of a similar difficulty level. If your bank of questions has a range of skill levels, it is entirely possible that some students will luck out with all easy questions, some will have a mixture, and others will have all difficult questions. If you have a range of difficulty levels for questions on the same skill, you can make a different question bank for each level, and are able to allot more points to the more difficult questions if you want.

add a question

You can also include multiple question banks on the same quiz. For instance, I created a fluid quiz on rounding that includes 3 questions on rounding to the nearest ten, 3 questions on rounding to the nearest hundred, 1 question rounding to the nearest dollar, and 1 vocabulary question. I have four different question banks for that quiz.

multiple question banks

This quiz will load 8 questions for each student. I have 6 questions in the Round to the Nearest Ten bank, 1 question in the Round to the Nearest Dollar bank, 6 questions in the Round to the Nearest Hundred bank, and 2 questions in the Rounding Vocabulary bank. I know everyone will get the same question for rounding to the nearest dollar, and there is a 50/50 chance of students having the same question regarding vocabulary. The actual rounding practice questions will be fairly varied, so I’m happy with it as it is.

Results

I previewed the quiz and this is what loaded for the first 3 questions.

first two questions

When I closed the quiz and made no other changes except pressing the preview button again, this is what loaded for the first 3 questions.

first two questions - second try

Out of the 3 questions that loaded for each time I previewed quiz, there was only one repeat, and the order of the answers was scrambled. This means that even if a student has multiple attempts on the quiz, they are likely to get different questions for most of the quiz on their subsequent attempts than they did on their first.

Can I Do This On Google?

As far as I know, there isn’t a way to do something quite like this on Google Forms at this point. You can scramble the answer choices, and even scramble the order of the questions, but there isn’t a question bank feature. You can have the form set up to move to specific pages based on how certain questions are answered, which has its own benefits. For example, you can use a Google Form quiz to send students to easier or harder questions as they answer each question correctly or incorrectly. I can see that being really helpful when you give a pretest. It would allow you to find the upper limits of your students who are already knowledgeable on that topic without frustrating your students who have less prior knowledge.

 

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Using AutoCrat in the Classroom

At a training I attended a couple of months ago, I was shown how to use the add-on autoCrat for Google Sheets. It takes information from a Google Sheet and disseminates it into specified places on a Google Doc based on a template that includes <<merge tags>>. Once in the Doc, it can be emailed automatically to specific email addresses as a Doc or PDF, shared with specific people, or just kept in your Google Drive.

The possibilities are endless for how to use this, but here are a few ideas. Feel free to check out my AutoCrat Ideas folder in Google Drive. All of the files there are set up for you to have viewing access, but File>Make a copy will add a copy of it to your drive to edit for your own use.

  • At Meet the Teacher night, instead of trying to read information scrawled on the papers you left around the room, have parents completed a Google Form. From there, use an autocrat job to: send a personalized welcome email, and populate a student information sheet that you can print for your sub folder and teacher planner.
  • Alice Keeler had the brilliant idea to use AutoCrat to create personalized newsletters for each student. I have a sample in my folder. My sample was made very lazily, so there are options such as, “Student is doing social studies,” but it’s enough to give you the idea of how it works. For the newsletter, I have mine set up to not run the AutoCrat job until I manually go to the spreadsheet and push the run button. That way, no one gets their newsletter until I’m ready to send it to everyone. I made a Google Form for it, but some sections will be the same for every student (although, not for every newsletter), such as general information and important dates. I plan on completing that part of the form for the first student, then copying and pasting for the rest of the class in the spreadsheet. Another alternative would be to update the template before running the AutoCrat job for each edition of the newsletter, and just eliminating that question from the Form.
  • Filling out award certificates.
  • Sending emails to parents to inform them about an event regarding their child (positive message, missing work, etc.)
  • Sharing the questions and a student’s answers to a Google Forms quiz with their family in a neat document.
  • Awarding badges or certificates for completing specific tasks.

Do you already use autoCrat in your classroom? What are some other ideas you have for how to use it to make your life easier?

 

Growth Mindset and Always Learning

If you read so much as the title of my blog, you probably know I’m an educator, but I’m also a parent to 3 boys (all age 9 and under). Not long before the school year ended for my sons, we sat down and made some goals for the summer, because when you have a lot of time on your hands, it is sadly really easy to let it all slip away. Before we realize what has happened, it will be late July and we will have accomplished nothing more scintillating than watching a whole lot of Netflix if we don’t form some semblance of a plan.

They chose their own goals, but I gave them some suggestions. Some goals are things like working on belt loops for Cub Scouts, going to the local science museum and zoo, swimming, and reading a book now and again.

One of the things I know they need to work on is their fine motor skills and handwriting. While some kids may get really excited about practicing forming row after row of individual letters and contrived words, mine simply don’t. I knew that printing handwriting pages off the internet would only end in tears (more than likely mine). Instead, we have implemented Family Art Time. Each night one of us chooses a YouTube video that features “how to” step by step instructions for drawing a fairly simple picture, and all of us attempt to draw it…even the grown-ups. For now, we’ve been choosing from kidsarthub’s channel, but their last video was uploaded 2 years ago, so I know we’ll need to find another at some point. We each have our own little blank notebook to use as a sketchbook, and I hope that they realize at the end of the summer how much their drawing improves over time. We might even revisit some of our early videos in August to see how much better we are at drawing something familiar after so much practice.
We’re still very early in the summer, but so far the results are good. The boys are excited about family art time, they work to control their pencils carefully to create what the video shows, all of us are improving our drawing skills, and we’re spending time together as a family.

One of the things I love about Family Art Time is that it has given us a natural situation to nurture a growth mindset in our boys. They see Mom and Dad erasing when we make mistakes. We have already had one kid remark in frustration that he just isn’t very good at drawing the picture du jour, which led us into a conversation about how practicing is the best way to get better at things.

Want to follow my journey as an artist? I’ve been documenting it on Instagram @thecurriculumnerd.

How 1:1 Technology Changed My Classroom

This year, I was fortunate enough for my district to provide every student in my grade level a Chromebook that they could access throughout their school day.

First quarter, there were some hiccups. Not every student was allowed access for several weeks, as each student and their family attended the training regarding the expectations and acceptable usage of these devices, as well as the consequences for noncompliance. (Our technology lab is entirely comprised of Chromebooks, so students were already proficient on how to operate them.) Between this and all of the normal first quarter hullabaloo, I hardly used our Chromebooks, and I felt really guilty about it.

Around the beginning of second quarter, when things in the school year get a little less crazy, I began having students use their Chromebooks for pretty much everything. This was over the top, and not exactly best practices either.

For the remainder of the year, I’ve made it a point to strike a better balance, although it is still my preference for graded work to be turned in online, especially for tasks the take more than one class period.

Some of the benefits I’ve found of having 1:1 access to technology are:

  • Instant feedback for students – Whether students complete a self-checking quiz on Canvas/Google Forms, or work on a website that gives immediate feedback, students are able to realize their errors and correct their far more quickly than if they completed a worksheet and wait until I get around to grading it and hand them back.
  • Differentiation – A Google Forms quiz can be set up for students to be sent to a particular section depending upon how previous questions are answered, Canvas modules can be set up as Mastery Paths to give students “just right” work depending on their performance on the initial assignment. Obviously you don’t need technology to differentiate, but setting it up to run automatically is definitely a time-saver during implementation. I also like that it’s a little less obvious to students who is getting the easier work than it is when everyone has their paper on the table.
  • Save paper and copies – I have definitely used less paper than last year, and spent much less time standing at the copier waiting for it to print out the work for my class.
  • No lost papers – When you use less paper, there are fewer papers that can be misplaced! There is not a concern about whether you remembered to give a copy to the student who was absent the day a task was assigned, no making sure that you put that late paper in the same stack as the rest of the work from that task, and no one needing a second copy because they accidentally forgot their backpack at home that day. Students who are absent, sometimes return to school with the work they were absent for already completed. There is never a question about whether a student really did turn in an assignment, and work that has been turned in is marked with a time-stamp so you know exactly when it was submitted.
  • Paper planners are no longer the only way to keep track of assignments. – While some people function better with the paper planner, having work posted in Google Classroom or Canvas helps to keep track of assignments. You might only use it as a backup plan when the planner is forgotten, or as another layer of communication to keep families connected with what work students are doing in the classroom. Both Google Classroom and Canvas have a calendar function that show the due date for assignments. In addition to the calendar function, I have set up my Canvas classroom so that the landing page includes an embedded Google Slides file showing students what they need to work on that day, what work they can do to get ahead, and what students may do to keep learning when they have already completed all of the currently assigned work. I update that slideshow every morning before my class arrives so that I don’t need to embed new files each day.