Have you ever been to a last-minute potluck where the host told you to just bring something? With no direction, you whip up a HUGE batch of your grandma’s killer potato salad recipe. Eager to wow the crowd, you go all out with the garnishments! Once you arrive at the potluck, you’re irritated to find that five other people brought potato salad.
Why didn’t the host say something? If they had just asked people to bring certain items, you would’ve known to bring your killer macaroni salad instead.
Maybe you’re going on a field trip, and bus sign-ups have ALWAYS been a disaster! Somehow too many kids signed up for Bus 1, and you end up wasting time the day of the field trip trying to sort it out.
If you’re an elementary school teacher, I bet you have parent-teacher conferences! While there are a host of sign up programs online, maybe you want something that syncs with your own student database and doesn’t require parents to sign up for yet another program.
Or how about this: do you have that one (or several) student who always uses the bathroom during class? They keep saying it’s an emergency, perhaps you’ve complained to the parents, who think it’s not that big of a deal, and you’re tired of the disruption.
Choice Eliminator solves these problems!
As many of you know, Google Forms is a powerful tool to use in a wide variety of situations. One popular application is using it as a sign-up form or scheduling appointments. Users would simply choose from a list of options, and the answers are recorded in a spreadsheet.
Here’s an example of a form we used for students to sign up to work shifts for our Multicultural Fair:
Since we wanted to evenly distribute the 50 groups among the shifts, I used an add-on called Choice Eliminator. With this tool, you set the number of responses you’ll accept for each choice, and as someone selects it, one spot is magically eliminated. Once all of the spots are taken, that option will disappear from your Google Form.
No more double-booking. No more mixups with busses. You can set the number of times your students can use the bathroom in a certain time period, and track them by having them sign out electronically.
And no more multiple sets of potato salad. Because yours was the best, and nobody ate it.
Choice Eliminator is genius and works really well if you set it up correctly.
Setting it up
You need to start out in a Google Form that is already populated with questions and multiple choices. Be sure to create unique choices, which means you can’t have two different 3:00 PM spots on the form. When the add-on runs, it won’t know which of those 3:00 PM spots to eliminate the choices from!
Get the Add-on
1. While in your Google Form, the three vertical dogs beside your picture or initials. Then select “Add-ons.”
2. You’ll most likely find Choice Eliminator 2 in the top row due to its popularity. If not, just type it in the “Search Add-ons” box. When you see it, click on the blue “+Free” button to select it.
3. Choice Eliminator 2 is now one of your add-ons and can be accessed by clicking on the puzzle piece on the top menu.
Using Choice Eliminator
- In your Google Form, create a question with multiple options (multiple choice works best).
- Click on the “Add-ons” puzzle piece icon.
- Select “Choice Eliminator 2” and then “Configure.”
- In the mini box to the right, click on your first question. Then select “Eliminate Choices.” It will take a few seconds to process.
- Click on the cog to the right for “Choice Options.”
7. Another window will open. This is where you will set the answer limit for each choice. This means that if you only want two people to bring plates, then set it to two (see the example above). Once two people have signed up for plates, then “plates” will disappear from your Google Form, and they’ll need to choose another option.When you’re done, hover your mouse over the green circle, and then click on the red X.
Test it out
1. At the top of your Google Form, go to “Send” and then click on the “Link” icon in the middle. Copy the link and paste it in a new tab or window.
2. Claim one of the spots by completing the form. I usually go into the form again and claim that same spot multiple times.
3. After you’ve claimed all of the spots, that choice should no longer appear on the next attempt. As I explained above, since I only had two spots for napkins, on the third time I completed the form “napkins” didn’t appear.
4. If you follow steps 2-7 above, you will be led back to the popup where you set the limit for your choices. It will indicate that one spot is taken.
Look at your responses
- Go back to your Google Form. You should see a number beside “Responses.” Click on it.
- You will have the option to see a summary or individual responses. If you click on the green rectangle to the right, a spreadsheet with your responses will appear.
Resetting your options
After testing it out, be sure to launch the add-on again and repopulate the choices!
- At the top of your form, click on the “Add-ons” puzzle piece icon.
- Select “Choice Eliminator 2” and then “Configure”
- You will see a note from the author. Close out of the window.
- In the popup window to the right, click on your first question. The select “Eliminate Choices.” It will take a few seconds to process.
- Click on the cog to the right “Choice Options.”
- Another window will open. This is where you originally set the limit for the number of choices available. To reset it, hover your mouse over the green circle, and then click on the box with the arrow. You will see “Restore Choices.”
- Your counts are now set to zero. Hover your mouse over the green circle and click on the red X.
Possible uses for this:
Remember that student who keeps going to the bathroom? I bet you’re wondering how this add-on can help with that!
It can actually help with accountability for all of your students! You can create a bathroom sign-out form with each of your students’ names and then set the add-on for a set number (like three times per quarter). Whenever someone wants to go to the bathroom, they’ll have to sign out, which will eliminate one of their “choices.” After the third trip, they won’t be able to sign out anymore until you reset it.
To set this up, you’d have each student’s name as an “option” in your form, and then after you launch the add-on, set the number of times each student can go per time period (such as per month, grading period, etc.) You can also set the form to collect email addresses (which is especially useful if your school uses Google Apps for Education), so that nobody is “stealing” each other’s bathroom spot.
This also creates a time stamp in a Google Sheet. If you see suspicious behavior happening in the bathroom, you can look at the time stamps to see who was out at that time!
As mentioned above, you can set appointments, especially for parent or in-class conferences. Since you’re using a Google Form, you can also have fields for other information such as parent concerns they’d like to address, if they’re interested in volunteering for the Fall Festival, etc.
Another benefit is if you’re having students do choice projects. You can save your sanity and have them pick from certain topics. This way you’ll only have maybe five per subject instead of 170 of the SAME one!
Finally, if you’re holding a conference or event, you can limit the number of participants in a session based on space and to allow for more individualized attention.
The creator of the add-on has a Google+ community where he answers any questions about Choice Eliminator.
You can also download my cheat sheet that walks you through these same steps, but is printable so that you can have it right beside you! Just click on the image below to grab your copy!
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