Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ready, Set, Go(ogle)!

Google Tool Bar Scavenger Hunt 
My school year has been flying by. Or so it seems. We started our year back in early August and I can't believe it's already October. We are in the full swing of things with our 1:1 Chromebooks. So far I'm loving the transition to these nifty devices since we are a GAFE district. This means my students have access to school gmail accounts, which we now use like second nature for submitting assignments and projects. Here's a glimpse of what we've done so far.

1) Getting Acquainted with our Chromebooks- As with any device I implement, I go through procedures and guidelines for both handling and assigning devices. Students that have gmail accounts (upper grades) have assigned devices that they log into with their gmail accounts, which gives them access to their Google Drive and Google Classroom. My lower grades log in as guests and only use web-based programs that I will later get into.

2)  Google Classroom-After my students logged into their assigned device, I let them jump right into Google Classroom. Following a quick tour, I then had them complete their Inner Selfie Project, which was inspired by this lesson. For this particular project, students were not only using Google Docs for the first time, but also importing their selfie through their gmail, and then submitting the final project in Classroom.

3) Google 101-Each week as we complete assignments and projects in Google Classroom, I also introduce different Google apps/tools (also known as GAFE).  I usually post an assignment that has students explore the app and then create a quick product (or assignment) to show me that they know how to use that app. This idea was inspired by a Growing Up Google presentation I attended at the last Google Summit in Atlanta. Some apps they will explore in greater detail are: Google Drive (Folders), Gmail, Google Forms, and Google Slides.

4) Programs We Use- Along with Classroom, we have also used a variety of other programs with our new devices.

  • Digital Passport (Blended Course)- My 2nd-4th graders complete a module each week and the accompanying activity in the Student Handbook. 
  • Everfi- My 5th graders are going through a module each week. Because this course is higher level, I let them go back and review their module before they take their post quiz to move on the next one. 
  • Typing.com- I signed up all my 3-5 graders to this site to practice basic keyboarding skills. As students progress, I encourage them to take the quizzes to test their speed and accuracy. 
  • BBC Dancemat Typing Games- I have all my 2nd graders start with this course to practice their keyboarding skills and once they finish it, I will sign them up to typing.com 
  • Code.org- I have all my students on this site and each have different courses they start on. My 2nd graders start with Course 1, while the rest of my grades start on Course 2. Once students complete their course, they move on to the next course at their own pace. I also have students explore other tutorials for the Hour of Code if time permits to design their own patterns (Frozen), create their own stories (Play Lab), to actually using coding (Khan Academy). 
So there you go! Are you a 1:1 Chromebook gifted classroom? I would love to see what you are doing with your students and what has and has not worked for you.