Classroom visits formMule, observations, evaluations

Classroom visits from the principal vary in many ways. Terminology varies (evaluations, observations, walk-throughs, walk-abouts, visits, etc.). The length of the stay varies. How the visits impact employment for the coming year varies. The paperwork involved varies. Regardless, for the system to be productive, teachers must receive good feedback. Providing that feedback must be easy for the principal to provide if the system is going to be sustained. This post examines using a Google Sheets add-on called “formMule” to streamline the process.

The form your school uses for classroom visits may be comprised of a checklist, or it may be one where the principal simply makes open-ended comments. Regardless of how simple of how complex the instrument, what is described here will work.

Using Google Forms

Once of the most common uses of Google Forms for a principal is setting up an instrument to use during classroom visits. If you are new to Google Forms, here is an excellent video which provides the basics:


To use a Google Form for classroom visits, the principal would copy the link to the form and go to that URL on the whatever device will be used during the classroom visits. Many will choose to use a tablet for this purpose. After going to the URL to view the form, save that URL as a desktop shortcut. Now, one tap on the icon opens the form.

Each time the principal submits a form, it goes into a Google spreadsheet. One challenge remains: How can the principal send feedback to the teacher?

Using formMule

Rather than take the time to construct my own demo video, what you see here is an excellent tutorial from Mickie Mueller, Educational Technology Facilitator for Norfolk (Nebraska) Public Schools.


In the video, you saw a checklist being used for the form. If you simply want to make narrative comments, your form would look something like this:

Observation formMule


As you work through the process of configuring formMule to work with this spreadsheet, you will want the to set the Form Trigger to “send on form submit.” In other words, as soon as you submit the form, an email goes to the teacher. How is that for instant feedback?

formMule Discipline Referral


As you continue to work through the process, you will construct the template for the email message teachers will receive.  Here is an example I created where I will simply being making narrative comments:



All of your merge fields (the columns headers from your spreadsheet) are listed on the right-hand side of the screen. Clicking one inserts it into the email wherever the cursor is located. You will notice that when formMule inserts the merge field, it inserts both the name of the field and the merge field itself. For example, if you click on “Teacher, ” what will be entered into the email is: Teacher <<Teacher>>. You will manually highlight and delete the word “Teacher” and leave <<Teacher>>.

Would this approach make classroom visits easier to manage in your school? Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thanks again to Mickie Mueller for her permission to embed the videos into this blog post. You can view other tutorials she has created on her YouTube channel: Mickie Mueller NPS Ed Tech.