How to Streamline Behavior Documentation in a Middle School Classroom

March 26, 2016

How to Streamline Behavior Documentation in a Middle School Classroom

March 26, 2016
This process has SAVED my team's sanity! How to Streamline Behavior Documentation in a Middle School Classroom
I can’t believe it has been about 2 months since my last post! I came running back to the blog tonight because I have to share something I found on Pinterest (of course) that is streamlining some behavior documentation in my classroom and on my team: Using QR Codes with Google Forms. 
If you’re not tech savvy and the terms “QR Codes” and “Google Forms” scare you…just hear me out! 
How to Streamline Behavior Documentation in a Middle School Classroom

What It Is

On the original post I saw (shoutout to! Check her out!), the teacher who has a 1:1 iPad classroom uses QR codes to help her document missing homework assignments from students. The students come in, and those who don’t have their homework scan a QR code that is on a poster on her wall, fill out the Google Form and boom! She has everything documented in one spreadsheet! This got my mind rolling. Now, I definitely don’t have a 1:1 iPad classroom (I have 3 desktops and no tablets) but I knew I could somehow use this to make life easier for me and my team. It hit me: team behavior documentation!
Let me backtrack a minute. . . as an 8th grade teacher, my school works in teams. One ELA teacher, one math teacher, one social studies teacher and one science teacher all share the same students. Previously, we were spending a good chunk of time documenting and tracking behaviors that we needed to follow up on like who was tardy to class, who was out of dress code, who needed to take a break in another classroom, who has lunch detentions, etc. Now, this is NO MORE!

What I Did

I made a Google Form to correspond with anything I wanted to track, and then linked that to a QR code. I then printed it on a half sheet of colored paper, laminated, and put it on a key ring to keep it together. Now, if someone is tardy to class (or whatever else happens that I scan for) I can quickly fill in the information I want and done! The best thing about this is that when any of my teammates do this as well, it all goes to a shared spreadsheet I can access in my Google Drive! 
Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.02.31 PM
  How to Set It Up
  1. Download a QR Code reader on your smartphone. I have an iPhone and have “QR Reader for iPhone”.
  2. Go to your Google account and make a new Google Form for whatever you’re wanting to track and be able to scan.
  3. When you’re finished building the Google Form, copy the link that Google gives you that is attached to the form (the link you’d use to share it with someone else).
  4. Google a QR Code generator. I used this one:
  5. Select URL on the QR Code Generator and copy the link to the Google Form you made into the “Enter URL Here” box. From here, a custom QR Code should be made.
  6. Save the QR code that you just made.
  7. Insert the picture of the QR code you made onto a word document, label what the code is for and print.
  8. Use the QR Code reader on your phone and scan the QR code to test it. The Google Form you filled out should pull up on your phone or device.
  9. Fill out test information in the fields and then visit your Google Form response spreadsheet in your Google Drive to make sure everything shows up. If it does, you’re FINISHED!
So what do you think? Will this make anything easier for you in your classroom? I’d love to hear how you use Google Forms or QR codes in your classroom!

Again, shoutout to Amber at for the original post! 

Peppy Zesty Teacherista

*UPDATE: I’ve received many in-depth questions about how to do this, so I created a more in-depth Step-By-Step Guide! Check it out here.

Also, check out How to Differentiate Using Google Forms here

p.s. Want to start a teacher blog just like this one? I’d love to help you get started! Here is my most-read blog post about starting your own teacher blog.

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  • Teresa Harrison May 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    I so want to try this.

  • colleen May 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    This is an interesting idea. I'm not quite following how you connect the QR code to the kid and how does the kid's phone connect to your google doc. Does he or she scan with his or her phone? Or do you scan?

    I was thinking just now, that I could create a sheet of QR codes for each individual in the class for different things… tardy, off task, sent to hall etc…. and use my phone to scan and then those issues are recorded.

    It would, however, be more effective for the student to scan for themselves. Taking responsibility for his or her behavior or lack of it.

    Thanks for sharing

  • Kelsey Hayes May 14, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Colleen! When you create a Google form, you can put whatever you'd like in the Google form so, to your idea, YES you can create one for each kid! You could create a drop down menu that has any behavior you'd like to track so all you'd have to do is scan the correct code and then select the behavior!

    I do not have my students scan, just because of time, and because I am not in a 1:1 classroom. Yes, the majority of my students have phones, but they aren't out unless it is for a specific activity. In the original post I saw, from PeppyZestyTeacherista (linked in post), the teacher DOES have the students scan (they all have iPads).

    Hope this helps!

  • Kelsey Hayes May 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Let me know how it goes! I want to expand this concept next year even more!

  • Janetta Rogers May 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this blog. I saw this and immediately decided to try it out. I am going to have students scan it themselves unless they don't have a device and then I will do it with my phone.
    I love that it updates the google spreadsheet immediately.

  • Unknown May 30, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Thanks this is awesome!! But I made one form/QR code per class and used a multi grid question. It works really well. We are also a team of teachers that teach the same class so this is amazing. We have no linked this to a reward / certificate system.

  • Sarah Miller May 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    What all did you create a QR code for?

  • Kelsey Hayes May 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    This year, since it was a trial run for me to figure out if I could keep up with the scanning, I only created them for dress code, tardy's and tab outs. Next year, however, I'm going to create one per kid with a drop down menu on the Google form that has multiple behaviors. Then I will have a spreadsheet per kid and my team can track student behaviors across classes in an intentional way! I will also share those spreadsheets with parents who have email/internet access at home so they can see their child's behavior log at any time.

    • Amanda Gonzales-Jackson October 6, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      I am super interested in this idea, especially with the parental contact. Have you implemented this and if so, how’s it working out?

  • Kelsey Hayes May 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Fantastic! I think I'm going to do something similar to how you're doing it for next year. I'm excited just thinking about all of the time this saves!

  • Kelsey Hayes May 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Awesome! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Amy Johnson June 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Kelsey,
    I love this idea! Need a little help, when you create a Google Form do you put the behavior you are tracking in as the question?

  • Amy Johnson June 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Oh and did you do separate forms for each thing you are tracking? Thank you for your help! I have been elementary for 8 years and am moving to middle school next year!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Hey Amy! You can do it a couple of different ways. Since this year was the first year I did it, I made a separate card for the specific things I was tracking (like Tardy to Class, Dress Code, etc.). When you go to make your form, you just put the Behavior in as the title and make the Google Form include whatever information you'd like to collect. For "Tardy to Class", for example, I just had a spot to write the name, and then it was multiple choice to choose which class period. I also left a "note" spot to fill in a reason or any other info to include.

    I think I'm going to tweak this for next year. I think me and my team are going to make a card for each kid. So, if I want to record something for a certain kid, I can scan their card and then select (from a drop down menu I make on the Google Form) the behavior to record! That way, a student's behavior across classes can be all in one place. I can also "Add Rows" on the spreadsheet if I want to include any interventions (like Parent Called) or something to show the interventions that happened as the behaviors were happening.

    Keep me posted and let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Jamie Best July 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm

      This is an awesome idea! I am trying to figure out how to do this for my kiddos. If you make a card/QR code for each individual student, do you have a separate spreadsheet for each kid? I don’t really want to navigate through 100 spreadsheets.

      • kelseynhayes August 5, 2019 at 5:19 pm

        The way that my team has done it is to create 1 QR code per class. Then, we have a drop down of specific behaviors, and we leave the name blank (or you could create a drop down menu). Then, all you have to do is sort by name to see all entries for a student together.

        I hope this helps!

  • Amy Johnson June 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I just tested it out and it worked…mind blown! This is so great! I love the idea of doing a separate card for each student too. I will definitely need to play around with it. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Amazing! It seriously helped save me and my team so.much.time. instead of taking time at the end of each day to document!

    I just created a Middle School Teachers/Bloggers Community Pinterest Board. If you'd be interested in being a collaborator, find me on Pinterest and I'll add you!

  • Unknown June 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Hi! My mom and I are middle school teachers at the same school and we love this idea!! I was just wondering which form you used and how did you adjust it to fit your needs?

  • Sheila Jones June 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Kelsey, Thank you for this post. I am moving to a new team this year and I will definitely suggest this to them. I want to thank you, too, for answering everyone's questions. I had some of the same questions and you have already answered them. Of course, I may have to call on you again once I begin figuring this out.

  • Sheila Jones June 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Kelsey, Thank you for posting this. I am moving to a new team this year and I will definitely suggest this to them. I also wanted to thank you for your responses to everyone's questions. I had some of the same questions and you answered most of them. I will probably have more so I may call on you later.

  • Mrs.McClaughry June 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I guess I need more guidance, I'm a newbie to Google…first you create a form and how do you connect that to a spreadsheet? Do you have any step by step directions for slower learners like me?…thanks

  • Kelsey Hayes June 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Hello! Thanks for the question! Once you create the form, you can go back into your Google Drive and there will be a spreadsheet already made that keeps the responses that are input on the Google form! So, once you make you form and attach it to the QR Code, go ahead and scan the code using your device and put in test information. Go back to your google drive and you should see a spreadsheet titled whatever you titled your form (so in the case of the pictures I showed, I had a spreadsheet that said "Tardy to Class Responses"). Again, I didn't have to make that sheet…Google does it when you start to use the form!

    I've had many, many questions on this so I'm actually going to write a post today detailing it step-by-step to beginning to end. I'll send that link your way when it's finished, or you can subscribe by clicking the mail chimp logo on the right of my page and it will be emailed to you when it is posted!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 8, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Fantastic! Thank you for your comment 🙂 I'd love to stay connected with you! Subscribe to the blog or follow me on a social media platform and I will connect with you back! Have a great summer.

  • Kelsey Hayes June 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Hello! I'm going to write a post today with step-by-step instructions of how I did it because I've been getting a lot of Google questions lately. I'll post the link here when it is finished!

  • mere1128 June 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Awesome! Thank you so much! This is awesome and we are so excited to use it!!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 8, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Just posted! Hopefully this Step-By-Step guide helps!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 8, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I just posted a step-by-step guide. Check it out here:

  • Kelsey Hayes June 8, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Here it is! A step-by-step guide on how to set it up. Once you do it once it is super easy!

  • Sandy June 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Love this idea. I especially like the individualized QR codes for each student. If nothing else, I'm going to try this for documenting accommodations for students with IEPs and 504 Plans. I'm envisioning a Google form with a drop down menu. LOTS of possibilities, and thanks for the reminder to start small:)

  • CG June 16, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Love this idea. Thanks for sharing your lovely, detailed instructions. Do you happen to know how to get the time stamp to give the date/time in normal time format?

  • Unknown June 19, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Please do the step by step…I love this. I am new to QR codes and I have to admit I still do not understand how one QR code can identfy different students…I know I am missing something somewhere! My system is android, I have one computer in my room, If I was math or ELA I would have 1:1 by now but I teach science and my principal is doing his best to get me chrome books. A math teacher friend is going to let me borrow his when I can. I will have about 180-190 kids in 7 classes but I would lie to be able to record the minor infractions by student, then I would have facts in front of me when I call parents or for parent conferences. Thank you! I am following you, on Pinterest too!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 19, 2016 at 2:21 am

    OMG! I had never even thought about doing it for accommodations. I think I may do that too! I can add a section on the Google Form for that student! You're a genius.

  • Kelsey Hayes June 19, 2016 at 2:21 am

    I actually have no idea! But I'm pretty sure there is a way. I'll investigate and get back to you. 🙂

  • Kelsey Hayes June 19, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Hey there! I did the step by step, and you can check it out on my page, or by going here: (sorry it isn't a hyperlink, not sure how to do that in the comments).

    When you make your form, you can just title it for different students. If you're going to use the same form, but have one for each student (but the forms are the same), I'm pretty sure you can make the form once for a student, copy it, name it for the next student, etc. etc.

    I have an iPhone, and in my class we have 3 old school desktops so I am far from 1:1 as well! It will be awesome if you get Chromebooks! On your android though, in the meantime, there should be some QR code reader apps for free that you can still use to do this so you should be all set!

    And yes, that is exactly one reason why I use the form. My documentation was getting more lax as the year went on, and I would make notes to myself to record in a spreadsheet later and it was piling up. This has seriously been a game changer for me!.

  • Jenise Freeland June 26, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    OK…I love this idea, but here's my concern that I need a work around for…we are not allowed to have anything that could identify a student on anything other than our district server…we cannot use google docs…any other idea?

  • Kelsey Hayes June 26, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Hey Jenise!

    Hmm…I'm lucky because my district has a Google Apps for Education "account" or whatever it is called, because my district email is my login for it. So, this info is on our server for me.

    What email server and stuff do y'all use? Microsoft Outlook? Email me!

  • Kelly Ksiazek June 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm


    This is such a great idea! I teach 5th and we are rolling out Google Apps for Education this coming year. I'll be using this idea to track missing homework. Thank you so much for sharing the awesome things you are doing in your classroom!


  • Kelsey Hayes June 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    You are going to LOVE GAFE! I am not a 1:1 classroom but I used Google Classroom for a few things last year where kids could use their phones, etc. I'm looking to use it on a more regular basis this year…you will definitely wonder how you always taught with all of that paper before! Life changer 🙂

  • Stefani June 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Kelsey,

    I don't know if I missed this, but what do you do if a student doesn't have their own device? Or are YOU doing the scanning? I am trying to figure out how to make it so my students can scan and fill the form out themselves but not all of my 7th graders have their own device. I'm toying with leaving one of my desktops open with the links to the different docs and having those students fill it out on the computer but I'm not sure how that will work either. If you have any ideas or suggestions I would love to hear them! Thank you!!

  • Kelsey Hayes June 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Hey there! I do the scanning because I am in the same boat as you…I only have 3 desktops in my room. I scan and fill in the info as I am talking (b/c it becomes like second nature once you get used to it), or I will make a note of the kids name and do it when I have a moment in class.

    I could have the kids scan, but then if there is a log-in problem, or a kid's phone is slow, I would have to deal with questions. So, I just do it 🙂 Also, I would probably have kids be nosy and look at other kids info listed on the spreadsheet, (or click to another kid's sheet is you have one per kid) so that is another reason why I just do the scanning.

    I do know some teachers that have mentioned they're going to have kids scan when they don't have their HW, but I haven't done that yet!

  • Denise A June 29, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Could you assign each student a random number and then use that number on Google Forms? It's a shame everything has to be on your server. Google is awesome. Every grade 7-12 student in my district is given a Google account. I know we have access to Google Classroom, but I don't use it. Since I teach ICT (computers), I use Canvas.

  • Anonymous July 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Only if this can be linked to a positives. In my experience if I do not focus on this stuff, it has less power. I always seem to pay a price when I give it weight and power, because it takes my attention away from what is really important. Why not track the positives instead- that is what counts and causes change. I wish all my students did their homework, but it does not always correlate to learning as we know. Tardy and dress code often goes away when a student is confronted in a positive away and is asked to problem solve with a teacher.

  • Kelsey Hayes July 13, 2016 at 11:30 am

    You can absolutely track whatever you want. This isn't necessarily just for negative behaviors. Dress code and tardy to class were just the 2 we chose to "test" the system with last year!

  • Anonymous August 6, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    I use QR codes in my special education classroom all of the time. It's amazing! I am lucky to be in a room where each of my kids has access to a chromebook and an ipad. I use them at the end of the day with Google forms for students to assess how their day was and their good classes and difficult classes. I also use Google forms to keep track of behavior chart data, and it gives fantastic pie charts when you use the multiple choice options.

    I was getting ready to set up my room for the new school year and I saw that Google forms now has a quiz option. You can use QR codes to differentiate quizzes in the classroom as well if you are using Google forms for the quiz.

    I use QR codes to differentiate lessons or videos as well. Using qrstuff you can enter plain text or regular pictures associate with the lesson and differentiate group work.

  • Kelsey Hayes August 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    That sounds awesome! I am so jealous that you have devices in your classroom!

  • Tahquetta Hunter August 18, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Just recently we did this and we added the students names. No name typing makes it a tad easier.

  • Colleen Monahan August 28, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks for adding the more detailed how-to! I'm very tech savvy, but was not connecting how to get the QR code onto paper! DUH! A screen shot! Sometimes, it's the little things that take up so much brain space! lol! Thank you! Happy school year! 🙂

  • Kelsey Hayes August 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Happy school year to you too! 🙂

  • Nicole Calderbank September 30, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    This is a mind blowing classroom tip! I made one document with a drop down menu of documentation notes so I don't have to carry QR around with me, but would not have thought about a Google form until reading this post. Thank you!

  • Gretchen Kafer January 26, 2017 at 1:21 am

    This is AWESOME- just think of the possibilities!! Thank you for sharing this great idea!

  • Heather Holtman April 10, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    We have used this system for two years at my school. I teach 4th grade with 3 other teachers. We are departmentalized so it is a must to collaborate about discipline. We only have one QR for each homeroom. Student know to always scan his/her homeroom no matter what class he/she currently are in. On the google form the student must type in name, class the discipline occurred (mult. Choice) then we have 7 choices that they could select (out of seat, incomplete assignment, disrespectful, other, etc) then the student has a comment box to type exactly what occurred. I think this gives the students ownership of their discipline because they are typing out what they are in trouble for. Then we, as teachers, can have access to all 4 teachers homeroom forms to check on any student at any time. This works SOOOOO well with parent/teacher conferences because I have every misconduct for the entire year for that student easily obtainable. LOVE THIS SYSTEM!!!

  • Annie Gervais April 16, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Just an FYI- iPhones don’t require a QR code reader app because the camera recognizes them. Just open the camera.

    • kelseynhayes May 11, 2018 at 9:22 am

      OMG! I. had. no. idea. Thanks!

  • Anne Smith June 28, 2018 at 12:23 am

    So each student carries their own QR codes from classroom to classroom? What if they misplace it, or forgot it at home? This is a great idea by the way! Thank you!

    • kelseynhayes July 8, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Hey! No, the kiddos don’t keep them. The teachers do! So, I had a key ring one year that had one for each student. This past year I just had 1 per class and typed the kids names in! Then, the data was sorted by class and fewer cards to keep up with!

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