Mini-posters in Google Draw

I’ve just created some Google Draw templates for my students to use to create mini-templates. I got the idea from creating my mini poster (see previous blog post). One of the things I want my class to be aware of is creative commons licensing and to make sure they don’t use other people’s images without attribution. To get them started I chose 5 of my own photos (taken last year as part of my 365 photo challenge) which are all freely available on Flickr under a creative commons share alike basis (much the same as this site is licensed).

Google docs makes it easy to submit these as templates so that students are able to access them and use them. (Create new-from template-submit template.) Hopefully next week there will be some student examples to display.

I want to encourage my students to start taking their own photos and using them for drawings like this and also for presentations using the Google Presentations tool.

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

Using Google Docs as part of teaching

I’m out of my classroom this morning for a literacy workshop. I’m not sure who the relief teacher will be but that’s ok – all my work is already online waiting for my students.

When my students arrive they turn the computers on and open up their assigned browser (long story!). Their home page is the class work blog. They read through the schedule for the day and then usually go on to play one of their favourite maths activities.

blog1208

Today they will do the same but I won’t be there to see them through the first 1-1/2 hours. They can still do their work though and the relief teacher won’t have to do anything except manage the class.

I use google docs to plan my week. Then I publish it as a web page – this puts it into a format that is easily shared with my class (and others).

plan1

I hyperlink other work so that as I am demonstrating things for the class it’s easy to find them. The lessons are done the same way – I type up instructions – format them – and then publish as webpages – this makes it easy to hyperlink them in the class blog as well.

This is a shot from today’s maths:

frac1

I also set up maths activities (aka games) for the week and have them linked from one page:

mathact1

When I come back into the class later in the morning the work is ready to go – I have this week’s spelling words linked as well as our reading activity for the day:

readlang

I’ve become a fan of google docs and find it frustrating when I have to use Word or even Open Office. One of the great things is I can still edit as I go – these are all living documents. Sometimes when several students ask me a question I then go back and write the answer up as part of the instructions. I do this quite openly in front of the students – it’s part of their teaching and learning as well as mine.

I’m happy to share the actual links with people so please let me know if you want to see the working documents.

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