Virtual Voyage – It’s All About That Google

It appears Google has taken over – in the education world that is.  I began using Google Drive a few years ago with my class of second graders.  It was the BEST thing ever and I am not sure how I survived pre-drive days!  Here are a few ways I have used these things.

Google Drive
– Mainly used as the place where the students would submit their work, in the portfolio kind of way.
– I would monitor who had turned in work when I had a sub.
– It served as the perfect Open House showcase.  The students would open their drive and it was all right there.
– I was able to share pictures back and forth with parents and students through folders.
– My student intern and I shared lesson plans (another voyage badge assignment) through Google Docs in a Google Drive folder.  We both edited and made changes.  It was nice for her to see when I made changes the night before, and for me to see when she added things as well.
– The kids used Google Drive to share their stories they had written in Docs while editing and working together.

Google Classroom-
– I set this up and tried using a few times. Since I had run Google Drive since Day 1 of school, switching to this did not make sense to my first graders so we stuck with Drive.
– Is pretty much exactly the same in the sense of sending and sharing work, turning work in.  Only difference, which I imagine works well with upper grades, is that it will quickly check and list who has turned it in with a grading capability.  That was not necessary for lower grades, so we stuck with what we knew well.

– Google Classroom vs. Google Drive = To Each Their Own!

Google Forms-
– Love these!  Have used them in different situations and will continue using these whenever possible.  Feedback is so important and what an easy way to get this.
– Beginning of school form for parents to fill out Parent/Student Info.
– Beginning of school form for parents to sign up for Conferences.
– Form for parents to list their preferences in ways to receive communication.-

Google Power Searching Class-
WOW!  I had only dipped my toe into the pool of Google Searching before watching this class series.

The most powerful thing I learned was how important it is to enter key words in your search.  By entering extra words or other things it can lead your search a whole different direction.  It amazed me to see how to really hone in on similar pictures to what you are looking for you simply click a few buttons!  I was also amazed at all the ways to refine your search by clicking things I have seen there, but never really paid much attention to!

The funny thing is, even after going through this entire class on all the million ways to refine your search, I still go back to my old ways.  I try to remember it is more effective to try one of these new power searching techniques, but old habits die hard.  🙂

Virtual Voyage – Creation App

My new favorite creation app is Explain Everything!  I had used Doceri for a few years, and it is very similiar, until I decided one evening at home to check this app out that I had heard so much about, even if it does cost money.  I thought, “How can it really be that much better than Doceri, which is free?”  Well….it was!!  I bought it and instantly emailed my team about requesting it for our grade level.

For me, the biggest difference is how Kid Friendly it is, which really helps when you teach littles and also how easily everything they created uploaded into Google Drive.  It was very simple to save it to their Math folder in their drive, instead of saving everything to camera roll and then uploading it into google.  It was seamless and easy.  It became the go-to creation app in my class.  Some still used other apps of choice, but this was the one most of them used all the time.  It allows you to take pictures, take videos, import videos and pictures, type text, write text with your finger, and use arrows and such to label.  The possibilities are endless.

The kids would even ask me after I gave the assignment/task, “Can we just do that in Explain Everything?”  I would think, “Well, yeah, I guess you can.  I never thought of that.”

For me, this one creation app is a keeper!  Here are a few snapshots of how my students used this in math, working with words, and science!  In the first one and last one (although these are just pics), they also used voice to describe the process for me. It is nice to have the drawing and hear their voice telling you the thinking going on in their head.

21st Century Writing in Google Docs – with 1st graders!

So, I will begin by saying I am very blessed with an amazing student intern right now!  As we began our fairytale writing unit, we had our plan of how the gradual release would happen.  As they wrapped up their partner fairytale writing last Friday she said, “Hey, why don’t I take these home and type each of them up in Google docs and you can share them out to each of them.  We can do the edit and revise process through Docs and each kid can change up the story how they want.  They will probably even come out with different stories.”  I thought, oh that is awesome!  I have done this thing in 2nd grade, but this is 1st grade and they are still learning this process, but hey…..if you know me, I am up for anything challenging! Give them something and just see what they can do with it. Plus, isn’t this what we do when we write?

Sidenote: For these little ones, having to write an entire story (which can take multiple days), go back to edit and revise at a first grade level (once again, multiple days), THEN have to rewrite the final so that it is readable and presentable….well, it takes every ounce of the love of writing out as well as makes for some irritable children!  This experience opened eyes to new things!  It almost seemed that for once, they were engaged in the writing process because it meant something to them.  Not that this was the first time we had done this, but because it was on the IPAD!  Amazing, right?  This is an example of 21st century collaborating skills at their finest!  I cannot tell you how much more creative their stories turned out, as well as the language they used from taking the time to change words!  Friday afternoon we printed the story and began the illustrations.  I will post pictures of them when we read to our Kinder friends next week!  They are SOOO proud! I am glad Ms. Osen suggested it and I went for it.  Teamwork! 

That Monday, when the kids opened up their typed story I shared to their Google Drive, they went crazy! From that day on, every spare moment they wanted to change their stories and work on them.  It was hilarious to see their faces while they were working on it and Ms. Osen and I would pop in to see what they were doing or help them.  They would see our flashing cursor because we were also in the document.  They said, “This is just like Minecraft!  We are in the same world!”  Who knew, writing and Minecraft were alike?!

Here is a picture of them working on changing overused verbs and making them vivid verbs after a mini lesson we had. They wanted to use the resources, but no one wanted to take them and go so they pulled up a chair and working like a “movie theater” they said!  HA!  These kids crack me up!

More work in progress happening here.  They were reading and rereading, changing words to be more exciting, deleting phrases, and paying attention to what they were writing!

Open House

Snow and bad weather can’t stop us!  What an amazing turn out we had at Open House last week.  I loved seeing the children show their parents all of the work they are so proud of.  They were able to show their Google Drive full of exciting projects, as well as how much they have grown in their writing.  Seeing their faces light up was the best part of the night!  Thanks to all who were able to attend.

The kids started the night with a checklist.  Very similar style to our Student-Led Conferences, this was Student-Led Open House.  I must say, we are a class of list makers.  🙂  Here is the checklist we used.

Jonah showing off his cool moves.
Austin proud of his Dear Deer writing.
Dean showing off his timeline and the work of his classmates.

Gracie showing off her work on her Google Drive.

Lillian proud to show her writing to her family.

Karson showing off his Yellowlicious story.

Matthew showing off his writing and Google Drive work.

Caleb showing off his digital work.  Isaac showing off all of his stories he wrote.

In action – proud families!

More in action showing off and such sweet smiles!

Math and Technology

I thought I would share a little of the math we are doing in our classroom and link it to the technology being used.  Here are a few things we did this past week.

Writing our own story problems from an equation given using Pic Collage.  

During Math Workshop, the students draw a card that gives an amount of money and show they represent that amount of money with a picture and numbers using Schoolkit Math.  Since we are only officially counting like coins and not mixed, this takes it a step up to challenge those students ready for it!
Google Drive saves the day when I was unexpectedly absent on Groundhog Day.  I sent the sub a few activities to reinforce skills learned and had them send them to their Google Drive folder for me to check during the day!  Accountability at its best!

Every morning when they come in the first thing after unpacking is to get their iPad and take a picture of this blank page.  They go into Doceri and work on this from the number I have given them for the day.  They send this to their Google Drive Math folder after completing it!  Great way to reinforce number sense.