Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Collaborative Google Slides Bell Ringer

bell ringer
Collaborative Google Slides Bell Ringer

bell ringer

YouTube video

Google Slides Warm Up

“I do not use Google Slides to give information, I use it to GET information.”

Collaborative Google Slides is really one of my favorite favorite things to use in the classroom. Collaborative documents allow me to open up ONE digital file instead of 30. I am able to see students work while they work. I can comment and give feedback quickly, NOW. Students are able to provide feedback on each other’s slides.

Bell Ringer

I was asked by a teacher about grading bell ringers when using Google Forms. I love Google Forms, best thing since sliced bread, but is the best tool for a morning warm up? Maybe. Since the question was specifically about grading, a bell ringer should be something quick students do to get warmed up and you use that formative assessment to help guide the instruction for the day. What is awesome about Google Forms is the summary charts it provides when students submit. This allows you to quickly respond when students are not understanding (or better yet, when they are and you can move on). For multiple choice, Google Forms is amazing for a bell ringer. Try out the sample bell ringer below and review the chart of answers. I recommend at the end of each class period going over to the Responses tab and deleting the responses (you can save them in the spreadsheet automatically.) This allows you to view the summary chart for each period without mixing in the previous period’s responses.

View Summary of Responses

Not Multiple Choice

If students are not answering a quick short answer or multiple choice, Google Slides may be a better choice. Each student adds their own slide to the same Slides presentation. This allows you to review the warm ups super fast. A warm up should not take up that much class time and the purpose is not to collect a grade but rather to get that formative assessment to help guide the lesson.

Create Slides

The easiest way to do this is to create Google Slides. You can do that from your phone’s mobile Slides app, from Google Drive or from slides.google/com/create. Most of the time I just have completely blank slides. Students open the Slides presentation, that has edit access, and add a slide. I have them put their name in the speaker notes.

Create a bell ringer in Slides

Add a slide with response

Unlike Google Forms, I do not have to wait for students to submit to view their responses. I can watch students as they type their answers. Unlike other mediums, students can take advantage of the canvas like space of a Google Slide. They can add a picture to go along with their answer. Students can use other tools to respond (for example use Desmos to graph something) and take a screenshot and put it on the slide. Students can sketch an answer onto a quarter sheet of paper and hold it up to the webcam to insert their response.

Insert a picture of answer

If students use the Webcam Record Chrome extension or Screencastify the video is automatically added to Google Drive. This allows students to video record their warm up and use the Insert menu to insert video from Google Drive.

insert video from Google Drive


While students are responding you can insert feedback comments to the students. And they can reply back! Students should be expected to “critique the reasoning of others” and provide feedback to peers as well. I like to use the keyboard shortcut Control Alt M to insert a comment and Control Enter to save the comment.
Insert feedback comments


Google Slides makes it super easy to review student answers as a class. Click the Present button and you can highlight any particular slide.

Get Fancy

There is no need to get fancy, blank slides works pretty dang good. Why do extra work if the extra learning is minimal? If you want to get fancy you can modify the Slide master. Click on the View menu and choose “Master.”
view master

Text boxes

You can delete extra layouts and customize the layouts. When adding text boxes, there are 2 types. Creating a textbox on the slide locks down the text. When students add a slide with that layout, any “Text box” text is uneditable. Clicking on the tiny triangle next to the text box icon reveals 3 other options. Title placeholder, Subtitle placeholder, and Body text placeholder. These allow you to place a spot for students to add text to the slide.
Text box placeholder

YouTube video

Multiple Classes

If you have multiple classes you may need multiple copies of the bell ringer Google Slides. Maybe. Do you need to save them? Think about whiteboards, we don’t save what the student’s wrote on those. At the end of class use the File menu and choose “Version history” and “See version history.” Restore the version of the slides before the students edited the presentation.
see version history

You can also “Name current version.” At the end of 1st period, name it “1st period.” Then use version history to reverse the slides to the pre-edited version. At the end of second period, name the version “2nd period.” This way you have all periods in the same one document. It is easy to go back to see what 1st period put, “See version history” and choose the 1st period version.

Copy Docs Classes

If you prefer a copy per class try my Add-on script Copy Docs Classes.


This will create a copy per class and append the class name to the document.

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