Showing posts with label Google Docs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Docs. Show all posts

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Going Paperless in the Classroom

Now that my class and I have 1:1 iPads, I have slowly begun the process of going paperless in my classroom.  This has been a slow process for me, as it is a major change from what we (students, parents, and I) know as "normal".  However, the more I have played around with Google Drive, the more I am finding just how easy it is.

For years, I have used Google Docs and Forms in my classroom. But for this week's part of Google Bootcamp for Teachers, I have decided to focus my efforts on the many ways you can use the Docs and Spreadsheets portion of Google in the classroom.  But be sure to check out all the posts that relate to Google Drive below.  I know that Jen, from Tech with Jen, did a fabulous post on creating quizzes using Google Forms so be sure to look at that!  She geared it towards primary teachers but trust me, you can easily adapt it to the older grades too.

Let's cover the basics on what Google Docs and Spreadsheets does allow you to do:

  • You can create Microsoft Word like documents (complete with images, tables, etc).
  • You can share these documents with other teachers, students, parents, etc.
  • You can choose to allow others to just view the documents, edit them, or allow them to comment on them.  
  • You can share these documents without email address but with a URL.
There is a lot of different things you can do but those are the basics of it.  :-)  

I'm huge in creating rubrics right now and one of my favorite ways of doing it is through spreadsheets.  I input all the information I want into the form and then in the last few columns I create a way for the student to self-assess themselves (I'm starting to do this on all my newer rubrics and slowly switching over my older ones to include it) and another column for me to assess them.  Depending on how I weighted the specific component, I may have another column with a formula to calculate it all.  Below is an example of the science fair rubric. 

You can see how whatever I input in the orange column is then multiplied by the weight I've decided on and computed into the blue column.  It is then calculated into a total score and percentage at the bottom.

The students like when I do the rubrics on Spreadsheets and share them with them so they always have a record of how they scored (parents like it too). And I like it since it is calculated up for me, saving me that step.

Now with Google Docs, I have used them in a variety of ways, but one of my favorites is with my students writing.  My students will complete a writing assignment and share the document with me, giving me the ability to either edit.  By doing this, I am able to read over their work, highlight certain parts of it and add a comment on the side as your can see below.

Doing this is quite simple.  I made a quick video tutorial to show you exactly how to do it.  :-)  

Hopefully you found some ways to add Google Spreadsheet and Docs within your classroom.  


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Paperless Student Survey

Since I will be going to a 1:1 iPad program within my classroom, I've been busy researching and planning ways to incorporate even more technology in my room.  Typically, my students would use our laptops about 4+ hours a week since we had to share them with the rest of the school.  While, I don't plan on making the iPads completely replace everything I do in the classroom, I do want it to substitute for certain projects, especially if it makes sense.

Every year during the first week of school, I always give my students an "About Me Survey" in which they tell me all sorts of little facts about themselves.  From what their favorite movie is all the way to what they are most excited about this school year.  Which means I have at least an entire class set of papers copies front to back for me to tote around when I get a chance to read them.  Typically, I read them in the beginning of the year and then file them away.  Of course, when I wish I had them to look something up about a student or to recommend a subject for their writing, I don't have the information readily available at my fingertips.

Enter my new Student Survey - available on Google Forms.  I ADORE the forms component of Google.  I've created tons of surveys and even successfully hold the student council elections using them.  It nicely collects all the data in an easy to read spread sheet and I can even use the built in graph maker that Google has.

Not only will switching my form over to Google save paper (which hey - who doesn't like to go Green when they can), it will also provide me a way to have the information available to me wherever I am as long as I have access to the internet.  

If you want to use this form in your classroom you can access it here:  All About Me Survey

What are some ways you use technology instead of paper in your classroom?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fifty State Studies

Western States
After diligently working all year in our Social Studies book, I like to end the school year with our State Study Unit.  During this time, students learn the location of all 50 states, their abbreviation and capital (including proper spelling).  This is also when I find many of my past students (we are a PreK-8 school) walking extremely slowly by my classroom.  Not because they are trying to get out of whatever is going on in their own classroom but because they hear a familiar tune.  Many will even stop outside my door to sing the song with my class......what song?  The Animaniacs Capital Song!!!!  I kick the unit off every year by giving my students a copy of the lyrics to this extremely catchy song to help aid my kids in memorizing the capitals.  If you have not heard this one yet, you need to listen to it!!!!  My kids absolutely LOVE this song and many times during their tests on the capitals I can hear them humming the tune.  It works!

I break the total unit into five weeks, with the aid of maps from  This website has divided the country into four regions: Northeastern, Midwest, Southern and Western.  I print out a copy of each map for my students and together we properly label the map for them to use as a study guide.  Each week we work on a new region.  Here is my breakdown:
Week 1:  Northeastern States
Week 2: Quiz on NE States and begin Southern States
Week 3: Quiz on the Southern States and begin the Midwest States
Week 4: Quiz on the Midwest States and begin the Western States
Week 5: Quiz on the Western States and final tests on the capitals, abbreviations and location of all 50 states
Final state location test
I created weekly quizzes for the students to complete for each region.  One quiz is for the abbreviations, another for capitals and yet another for location.  While it seems like a lot, my students have actually said they like it because they usually are successful on one or another (if not all three!)  During this time, I also print out some review sheets from Edhelper to create a packet that the students need to have completed by the end of the unit. also has great packets and sheets.  
NE Quiz
I also assign the State Project which is broken into two parts.  One part is a report that the students complete using Google Presentation, where they research an assigned state.  In addition to the report, students create a state float (think of a parade) which represents symbols and other things that state is known for.  These are SO MUCH fun to see and listen to the students present.  They get really creative.  
See an example report here:  Georgia

This is one unit the students really enjoy!  We play State Capital Bingo, a flashcard game and so much more.  Even my students who typically struggle in Social Studies, typically find success with this unit and enjoy all the hands on activities and games we play.

In addition, I have my students use my QR Code Task Cards to practice identifying the states based on outlines and the state capitals.  See them here in my TpT store.

What do you do for your State Study Unit?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The ABCs of the American Revolution

Example of ABC page
Every year my students learn about the American Revolution.  This is one of my favorite topics in our history book!  The students get to learn all about what started our great country.  I try to incorporate at least one big project per quarter within a couple of our subjects and the American Revolution is one of them.  This year, our school increased the number of days from 180 to 190 which means that I have 10 more schools day than I typically would.  This allowed me to have my students work on an assignment that they would 99% complete at school.  I prefer assignments like that because that let's me know that my students did the work themselves without their parents.  (Because we all know what parent "assisted" projects look like!) haha

As I searched for something new for my kids to do this year, I came across Mr. Viens project called ABC of American Revolution project.  While this project was geared towards 8th graders, I was able to make a few tweaks to suit my 5th graders.  However, I must admit I didn't cut out too much and was highly impressed with what was turned into me.  Students were required to first research the American Revolution using plain old fashion books.  They had their history textbook as well as about 15 books I have that have to do with the revolution.  Just like the ABC book series, they had to create a page for each letter of the alphabet.  There were some guidelines though - they needed to have the following:

  • 10 significant people of the American Revolution (listed in red on TOC)
  • 3 geographical locations (listed in green on TOC)
  • 7 key events (listed in blue on TOC)
  • 6 concepts (listed in purple on TOC)
Each page had to have a graphic on the page for the letter and 8 of them had to be self-created.  This proved to be a bit difficult for some of the groups and required some creativity on their part.  In addition to the letters A-Z, they needed to have a cover page, summary, dedication page, Table of Contents, a Did You Know Page, Significant Numbers of the Revolution and of course a bibliography.  Once they were done doing their rough draft on their note cards, they had to begin typing the final draft in Google Docs.  Overall, we took over 15 class hours for my students who worked in pairs on this project.  When finished, we printed and bound their books.
An example page created by one of my students with their own clipart.

The final outcome of the books were pretty awesome and I'll admit they came up with some information that I didn't even know.

Check out an example of one here: ABC American Revolution Book

Now that we are done with this, we get to go on our totally awesome field trip to Riley's Farm to experience the American Revolution.

What cool and fun projects do you do for the American Revolution?

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