Posts Tagged ‘Google Docs’

Add columns feature in Google Docs


Adding columns to a Google Doc is easy-peasy. From the “FORMAT” menu, choose “COLUMNS” and decide how many columns you’d like your document split into – the max is three regardless of page orientation.
Screenshot 2017-11-29 at 9.22.49 AM

You can also click “more options” and customize the columns further.

Screenshot 2017-11-29 at 12.12.09 PM

 

 

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Digital feedback using comments and ‘paint formatting’ tool.


My students do the majority of their writing using Google Docs. This allows me to provide feedback at any time during the writing process. I use two Google Docs tools most often when giving feedback.

First is the COMMENT feature: I select the text I wish to comment upon, click the comment icon that appears (or [command+option+m]), and leave my feedback.

Second is the PAINT FORMAT feature: I use blue highlighting to indicate to the student that there is something wrong that needs fixing, whether it is spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or some other issue. This, hopefully, makes the student think critically about the writing and problem solve. Once I’ve highlighted one area, I can use the ‘paint formatting’ tool to quickly identify other areas of concern.

Watch an example of both of these tools in action:

Staying Organized using Google Apps for Ed. in the classroom


(Scroll to the bottom to skip to the video)

I was recently asked (twice in the same week) to share how I organize student work shared with me via Google Apps for Education. At nErDcamp Northern New England I attended a session on using Google Apps to give feedback to students (See the session notes here) and shared how I organize all the documents that students share with me.

-A side note: As an 8th grade teacher in Maine, each of my students has a MacBook Air to use. We are also a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) District which has allowed me to be a mostly paperless classroom.

When I began using GAFE in the classroom the document list was much easier to navigate, but when the format changed I knew that I had to as well.

I always have students make two folders – an “LA” folder and a “LA Pass in” folder, they share the “LA pass in” folder with me and put it in folder inside the LA folder. This serves a couple of purposes: 1. It provides students with some structure for their own files (I actually lead them through this process for each of their classes). 2. It provides an easy way to share and see what is shared with me – after the folder is shared with me, EVERYTHING they put in there becomes shared with me.

–Another side note: I have strict naming protocols, EVERY DOCUMENT (and folder) must follow this format: [Last name, First initial NAME OF ASSIGNMENT]. I don’t look at anything named “untitled document”.

When an assignment is ready to be passed in they fill out a form I create using GAFE. It asks for their Name (a separate question for last and first), class section, and a link to their shared document. Now, I often will include other items – a question that forces them to go through a formatting checklist, a reminder to put the assignment into their “LA Pass in” folder. I have recently began including a grid question that recreates the rubric so they can self evaluate on the assignment and I also include questions that make them reflect on the process of the assignment.

The student accounts (and so the account I use to interact with them) are managed and I am unable to share the exact forms I use with students but here is a link to a PDF of the form students used to submit the final draft of their poetry essay.

The brilliance of using a form to collect student work like this is that I then end up with a spreadsheet with a link to the assignment that I can sort by last name, class section, or by how they scored themselves.

Watch the video below to see the form, the spreadsheet it creates, and how I use it.

The poetry of 8th grade


The students made this slide show collaboratively using Gdocs, each of them took one of the poems they wrote and created a slide to add to the show! The fact that this would be made public was motivational to many students. Once the district is fully transitioned to Google Apps then this project will be much easier.

This time I created a Google Presentation Doc and put a link to it on the Language Arts site. I had students create the slide first in Keynote (they all have Macbooks thanks to MLTI) and then realized that Gdocs only allow PowerPoint slides to be imported. Luckily Keynote allows you to save a presentation as a .PPT and then students were able to import their slide into the class presentation. This conversion and importing left its mark on some student’s work, odd characters, missing images and so on. Next time I will have them sign in to GApps, create a slide and import that slide, or just create a slide within the group presentation – to be honest I don’t know why I didn’t do that to begin with. . . lesson learned.

To see the 8th grade poetry book click here: http://bit.ly/poetrybook2010 If clicking doesn’t seem to work copy and paste the address.

 

When you’re done come back and leave me a comment about what you thought. I’ll pass them on to the kids.

First day of 2010-11 school year


It is rapidly approaching. I see tweets and blog posts everywhere about teachers and students who have already begun the school year. This will be my third year as an 8th grade English teacher (I’m trying to shift the vocabulary at my middle school to call it English in 8th grade instead of Language Arts, even though LA is a more appropriate title -I haven’t told anyone about my plans yet. More on this as it develops) and I am PSYCHED!  As a third year teacher I feel pretty confident in the content and can really work on my delivery and integration of technology, especially collaborative technology.

The word in the district is that we’ll be set up with Google for Education this year – I’ve been hoping, mentioning this since I started, along with some of my colleagues. This means Google docs – can I go paperless this year? I think that I’ll certainly use less. The blog helped with this goal and Google apps will further it. It will also fit nicely in with my belief that learning is collaborative – real-time collaboration is so effective. The class wiki is good (I use Wetpaint) but real-time collaboration can be tricky when people start saving and exiting the editing tools.

The other exciting thing that is happening in the 8th grade is Expeditionary Learning. You can read this previous entry about how this new model unfolded. We have done the bulk of the planning for a Spring expedition that is modeled after one we saw at King Middle School called Truth and Consequence. The team is on board, the administration is on board, and I’m certain that the students will be on board. I will be blogging about the process once we start in February.

There is also construction going on at the school. We recently changed from a 6-8 school to a 4-8 school and construction should be finished by February break (hey that’s when we’re kicking off our expedition, good unplanned timing!). The hallway to the new addition is going between 8th grade social studies room and 6th grade math room. These two rooms were gutted over the summer. A permanent wall was erected between my room and the SS room where before there was a movable wall. Most of my room is covered in dust and everything is smooshed against the opposite wall. This does have a plus side though, I can put things against this wall now. I think I will change the set up of my room and put the SmartBoard against this new room and make a horseshoe seating arrangement (I didn’t have the space for that before and had seating pods).

I’d love to hear about what you are going to do this year. Trying something new? Changing how you teach a lesson? Let me know!

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