Torina Blackmond, a third grade teacher at John Muir Elementary, chose Google Classroom as the one new tech tool to focus on this year, and without a doubt, she’s fully embraced it. She’s posting her writing assignments in Classroom along with additional resources for students to refer back to in order to review key skills.
|Torina approached me about helping students focus on formatting when they revise their work. I suggested leading an activity created by Anna Speiglman (fifth grade teacher at Malcolm X) to explicitly teach formatting tools and then have students practice by writing an acrostic poem using their name. Early that morning before my visit, Torina created a model, found a YouTube video as a resource, and posted an assignment in Classroom. Torina’s tinkering and deep dive into figuring out this technology impressed me. And now she’s adding comments and returning work to her students to revise — all electronically and paperless!|
Students enjoyed playing with the font styles and text colors. As a result, their acrostic poems were filled with personality.
Around the same time across town at Thousand Oaks Elementary, Lorna Cross, another third grade teacher, invited me into her class to see students using Chromebooks for their animal reports. She posted the links students needed to conduct their research in Google Classroom. Students created Google Docs to type up each chapter and insert related images. They also included a table of contents, headings, and a glossary.
During my first visit when students were wrapping up their writing, Lorna asked if I could introduce her class to Google Slides. After a quick mini-lesson, her third graders leaped right in. When many students were asking how to put pieces of their animal reports into Slides, Lorna jumped onto the projector to show students step-by-step through her own trial and error until she got it right. It was cool to see how she models learning and exploring the technology in front of her third graders. Her students were eager to explore and make use of technology to showcase what they’ve learned about animals. Indeed, Lorna was able to use Google Apps as a way to establish an encouraging and active cooperative learning environment in her classroom.
– Mia Gittlen, K-8 Instructional Technology TSA