Thursday, October 27, 2016

Becoming a Better Writer with Google Drawings

Google Drawings is my favorite program to use with the Chromebook because it offers endless possibilities for student projects.  Basically anything that a student creates with a blank sheet of paper can also be created in Google Drawings.

Right now, my students are focusing on writing two or more sentences.  This is not an easy task for a first grader but practice makes perfect (or better in the case of a first grader who is still mastering the art of spelling).  Last week, we were blessed by a visit from two baby goats.  The students loved meeting the goats, so I thought it would be the perfect foundation for a writing activity.  Sometimes the best lessons happen by accident and never make it in your lesson plans.

I love teaching writing with technology.  This is an excellent opportunity to highlight focus on the capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and the period at the end because editing is super easy on the computer.  The students also love to correct their own spelling when the red squiggly line appears, telling them that they have made a mistake.

One thing that I have noticed with writing on the Chromebook is that misspelled words stick out like a sore thumb.  In my head, it is okay for students to misspell words when it is in their own handwriting, but when the students misspell words while typing, the teacher inside of me wants to correct it.  I am trying to work past this need to control my students and remind myself to let it be because it is their creation.

When using Google Drawings, students are given the freedom to pick their own fonts, colors, and shapes.  One of my favorite features of Google is the ability to write in a shape without having to add a text box.  It makes it easy to create professional quality work (so easy that a first grader can do it).

Lady is pretty. Prince is handsome.  I did not know that goats can climb.

The How To: This project was created by assigning a blank Google Drawings document in Google Classroom.  Each student had an individual picture taken with one of the goats.  All of these pictures were put in a folder in Google Drive and shared with the student's e-mail address so that the folder would appear in the student's Google Drive.  The instructional technologist on my campus created a group e-mail for my class so that I was able to quickly share the folder with all of my students using one e-mail address.

Another positive quality of Google Drawings is the ability to insert an image without leaving the program.  When the student inserts an image, they pick the option to insert an image from Google Drive.  From there, the students can choose the "shared with me" tab or the "recent" tab.  Here they are able to pick their picture and insert it into their project.  I thought this project was going to be a lot of steps for the students, but they quickly learned the steps to insert their individual picture.  Remember, slow and steady wins the race.  Start small and add a new technology feature with each new project.

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