Google Draw

One of the things I’m enjoying about the Google Apps environment in my classroom is that kids just find ways of doing things without you teaching them. Mine have been creating illustrations and brainstorms using Google Draw so I thought I’d better experiment a bit with it.

I read a post about some software available for schools/kids to use that looked interesting until I saw the price. There was one specific example that I wanted to try out (creating a colorful poster of related words) so I decided to see if I could do the same thing in Google Draw.

Here’s my result:

I used a photo I’d taken myself as the background and didn’t do too much tweaking of font type apart from size and color. I’m happy with the result and can see how the kids can use it to create word posters of their own. (Rugby comes to mind as a topic!)


Google Docs in the Classroom

I’m currently using Gdocs in my classroom as a draft writing book replacement. Here’s how it works:

1. Each student has their own account in our school Google Apps for Education system

2. I created a shared folder (simply called Room 12) which I then shared with all my students and my personal gmail account (that means I don’t have to swap out of one account and into another for marking purposes)

Various folders help to sort the contents into a manageable collection

3. Students are then taught that all work needs to be put into the shared folder (there are folders within that master folder for organizational purposes only)

This is a shot from my inbox showing where the stories have been shared

4. Once a student indicates that their work is finished I then go in and mark it – using the comment feature. Commenting allows me to suggest an alternative; guide a student to the correct spelling or grammar; or even to ask a question about the text.

I like to comment on beginnings or endings that are particularly great.
The text relating to my comments is automatically highlighted
In this case with a Maori word I've given the correct spelling

5. Students are then expected to go back in to check their work and fix up anything that needs fixing. I can see at a glance if the student has gone back in by viewing the ‘last modified’ list. (Both Me and Jo are actually me – it depends on which account I was in as to what shows up – my students know who I am)

Jo/Me indicates that the student hasn't done any more editing

6. I can then go back in and check the final story. From that point on students will usually post the story to their blog or their page on SuperClubsPlus.

Our class individual blogs on Kidblog
SuperClubsPlus - a great site for kids to learn about online presence

7. One feature that is particularly helpful is the revision history (File-See revision history) as I can see all the editing the student has done prior to my first look at the work. I can also see changes they’ve made in response to my suggestions. I also found that it was helpful while writing my writing comments for their reports as I could open their latest piece of writing and comment about their editing and proof-reading skills that showed up when view the revision history.

Pink text indicates new changes from the previous save


  • Google apps is ever improving – it’s certainly a better product now that it was a year ago.
  • Later this year my students will be working collaboratively with students in another city in New Zealand. They can work on the same document because it’s cloud based computing.
  • My friends and I always use Gdocs for shared note taking at various educamps and conferences – this helps our shared understanding of the day
  • I’m still discovering what I can do with Google apps – I’m looking forward to attending a Google Masterchef session at the upcoming Ulearn11 conference in Rotorua, NZ
Feel free to comment with any ideas I’ve not mentioned.
And I’d like to end with this presentation by Tom Barrett
Interesting ways to use Google Docs in the classroom

Using Google Wave in the classroom

Like many other educators I’ve been pondering how to use Google Wave in my classroom this year. Having created an account for use in my classroom I’ve come up with my first use.

I’ve created 3 private waves between my class and me.
1. How to use Google wave
2. Questions for me
3. Photography Task

#1 is obvious – it’s a wave showing things like formatting bar and reply button etc. #2 is for asking me questions about school work – I’ve used Edmodo in the past and will continue to but this is a way of also introducing wave to parents. #3 is for the students to let me know when they’ve finished a photography task so I can mark/assess/comment on it.

Most of us learn best by doing – this is a simple way to use Google Wave and to get the students used to the format of it.

Google Image search

For those of you who haven’t caught up – or for whom it is not yet enabled – a cool new feature is coming.

Google image search with a colour filter.

In the first example I searched for dragons.

Picture 5.png

In the second example I’ve clicked on the drop down box beside “any content” and specified PURPLE

Picture 6.png

This could be very handy if you’re searching for a specific image in a specific colour.