Sunday, October 26, 2014

Google Drive in the 3rd Grade Classroom

Our district went Google this year and I've been wanting to take advantage of all the ways Google Drive allows for collaboration and creation.  So a few weeks ago we jumped in. I set up a doc and shared it with various groups of kids to work on.  Everyone signed in at once and it was a chaotic disaster.  I realized that I had forgotten one of the most important things I've learned as a 3rd grade teacher when it comes to new tools--that a shared experience is the best way for kids to see what is possible.  Instead of just sending kids off to explore a tool that they know nothing about, using the tools in shared experience can often give them a vision for what is possible.  So this week, we used Google Docs in two ways.

We did a Google Hangout with Colby Sharp's class on Friday.  We are trying to get together via Skye or GHO regularly about math and this week my students taught his students a math game. It was a game that requires a board and guessing. So, before the Hangout began, I shared the board with Colby in Google Drive. When we were in the Google Hangout, we shared the document on the screen so both classes could fill out the board and watch the game progress. (This is a game where one player/class guesses a number and the other player/class lets them know how many digits and numbers are correct. The kids enjoyed playing but were really excited about the way we both shared the same board and we could see Mr. Sharp's class adding a guess to the board.

Another thing we did this week was to preview our next read aloud.  We'll be starting The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane this week and I wanted to give kids time to preview the book before we begin. So I took photos of each piece of the book that one would preview (the epigraph, cover, illustrations before the title page, first page of the book). I included these in a Google Doc and gave kids the link for commenting.

These two things have given kids ideas for what is possible.  Doing a few things in a shared way always gets kids to play around and then imagine what else can be done with a tool.  This week in math, we'll use Google Forms for some surveying with a data lesson.  There are so many tools I am comfortable with and that I really don't even need to think about using in this shared way. Google is not one of those tools....yet. So I am trying to be better about embedding it naturally into what we do so students can see what is possible for their independent work.

My husband, Scott Sibberson, has lots on his blog about what Google offers. I need  to really dig into this more over the next few weeks.


  1. First, I had to laugh about the chaotic disaster because that's exactly what happened the first time I used Google docs with my kids last year. :) That shared experience is so important. You've shared some great ideas on how to get started. It's amazing what the kids will come up with once they become familiar with the different tools and can use them independently. This is one of those times I miss having my own class. I'll look forward to hearing more about how you use Google in your classroom.

  2. I like that you used introduced a new read aloud in this way. Thanks for the link to Scott's blog, too, I think I need to spend a little time there exploring what can be used by public librarians to share!

  3. Can you link this post up to DigiLit Sunday?
    I'm sure there are others trying Google docs in their classrooms.

  4. Very cool! I just started using Google Docs for my school this year (I'm homeschooled), and I know I've barely scratched the surface of all it has to offer. I haven't even attempted to use Google Hangout yet! I just love how convenient it is. I can start writing my English essay on the downstairs computer, edit it on the laptop, and fine-tune and turn it in on my iPad Mini. It's wonderful!

  5. I too have launched using Google Drive in second and now I have a post to write, sharing our experience. Thanks for sharing yours and for an idea to introduce commenting.

  6. Reflecting on your post and this is probably a simple question, but I'm going to confirm my thinking. Did you scan the read aloud images or take a photo and put that into google drive?

    1. I took photos and popped them in --seemed easiest and it worked!

    2. Thanks, that's what I was thinking but wanted to double check to make my life easier. Trying to save time. :)

  7. Hello all,

    I would like to share an idea from a colleague of mine about implementing technology in the classroom. She suggests resisting the urge to embed curriculum when the kids are just learning to use a new tool, in this case Google Apps for Education. Give the students a bit of time investigate the tool and build some expertise... for Grade 2s, invite them to learn as mush as they can about Drawings, Docs and Slides. Then, when the teacher introduces curriculum, the students will inevitably ask, "Which tool should we use?". The is the greatest question a teacher can hear.


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