Friday, 27 March 2015

Using Google Drive and Google Docs to Promote Peer Editing

Good afternoon everyone,

This week, I went the practical route in my post. I thought I would provide you with a concrete example of how to utilize Google Drive and Google Docs to promote peer editing and collaboration among your students. I have worked with quite a few teachers setting this up. We have found that the initial setup takes a bit of time but once it is organized it is an excellent way to promote peer editing and collaboration.

Step One: Have Students Create a Folder and Share it With You

The first step in this process is to have your students create a folder on their Google Drive and share it with you. By doing this, you will be able to see everything they put into that folder. I would suggest you have them build their writing in that folder directly. That way, they don't have to move anything. If they build their written piece using Google Docs in their shared folder, it keeps everything together and organized.

Step Two: Create Editing Groups

Once your students have a piece of writing in their folder, you can begin to create groupings of your students. Create folders for your groups. I would suggest naming them with either the names of the students in the group or Group 1, Group 2, etc. Once you have the folder created, share it with only the students in that group. Because you created the folder, you will be able to see everything they do in the folder.

Step Three: Have Students Put Their Work in the Group Folder

Have students make a copy of the work they have completed. They can then move the copy of their work into their shared group folder. Once their work is in that folder, they can begin the process of peer editing. How you decide to do this is entirely up to you. Students can suggest edits on the pieces or can comment on the work. Choose a strategy that works for you and for your students. 

Once the students have a piece that has been peer edited, they could make a copy of it and place it back into their original folder they shared with you. This becomes their final piece of writing. One further step could be for the students to share their final, peer edited piece with people outside of your classroom by publishing their piece on a blog or by sharing the piece through Google Drive with students or teachers outside of your class.

The End

The goal in this process is twofold. First, students write a piece and share it with you. They then share the piece with their peers and get feedback and incorporate the feedback into their writing. This process encourages collaboration and helps them develop peer editing skills. By sharing the finished piece through a blog or another format, the students can bring their writing to a wider audience.

If this is something you would be interested in doing with your students (no matter what grade they are in), let me know and I would be happy to help you set it up.

Have a great day!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Professional Learning Opportunities

One thing I have heard from many teachers is the desire to have more time to learn the tools related to Google Apps for Education. It is very difficult to find time during the day to "play" with the tools we have available to us in order to feel comfortable with them.

Tech Tuesday

Shawn Lachapelle, a teacher at Brooks Junior High, suggested the idea of a tech Tuesday, an evening where we can get together to have time to learn how to use some of the tools we have available through Google Apps for Education. I thought this was a great idea and through some work (mostly done by Mr. Lachapelle) we are able to invite you all to Tech Tuesday at 7PM on April 21. This meeting will take place at Brooks Junior High School in the library. Our hope is that we will be able to offer other evenings around the district so people have an opportunity to learn more about what they can do with the applications. We will have some teacher and student presentations, a Q and A session, and lots of time to use the computers in the library as well as the Chromebooks at the Junior High. 

If this is something you are interested in, please let me know by RSVPing to me at

If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

School Visits and Guest Blog

As of Monday, I will complete all of my school visits. I am in Tilley for the last one. My visits have been very beneficial. I have worked with students and teachers from grade 1 through 12. There are a lot of amazing things going on in the division that I would like to share with you all. If you didn't get a chance to work with me when I was in your school and would like me, please use the scheduling page on this blog or send me an email.

 This week, Lesley Dewar, a grade one teacher at Eastbrook Elementary is our Guest Blogger. If you would like more information about what she is doing please send her an email! If you would like to work with me, let me know: 

Hi, my name is Lesley Dewar.  For those of you that don’t know me, I wear many hats, most notably ATA treasurer and grade one teacher at Eastbrook Elementary.   Those of you that have worked with me know that I love technology and I love using technology with my grade ones.   I often find myself telling my students about how computers weren’t invented when I was their age and that I didn’t have a cell phone until I was an adult, which usually is greeted with a blank stare.  I guess this generation of kids can’t imagine a world without technology, and to be quite frank, I don’t think I can remember how I functioned as an adult without it.  I am a huge believer that kids need to learn digital citizenship as soon as they can, as most of them have access to this and can be used as a great teaching tool.  I don’t avoid technology with grade ones, I try to embrace it, incorporate it and use it to enrich our lives. 

Lately, I have been working on a book blog.  I used Google to set up a blogger website and have set the permissions to enable it to be only viewed by myself and invited others.  The blog runs much like a website.  At Eastbrook, we have a special “student of the week”, in my room, I let this student choose a book and read it to the class.  When they have practiced enough, I will record them reading their book to the class.   I have already asked permission from parents to “publish” the readings and I use my Google blog to do just that.  Each week I publish the reading onto the blog and we have a movie screening in class of the books.  I assign directors, sound technicians and crew.  It has developed into a small idea that I hoped would build self-esteem and promote literacy into something that ranges across many topics and has provided pivotal and powerful conversations within the class.  I am hoping that another teacher will be interested in joining me, and that I can share our class book blog with another class both inside and out with the division.  I am hoping that we can share book blogs, and perhaps meet online.  Here is a recent picture of my book blog:

Another technological venture that I am working towards is the world of Twitter.    As you may or may not know, up until recently Grasslands had blocked Twitter.  It is now open to use.  I have a Twitter account set up and have been talking about internet safety with my students.  Twitter is an amazing way to connect with the world and get real time information.  The next step in my plan is to set up a classroom board for our tweets.  I intend to give my students a paper with space for 160 characters, where a few times a week we will think and write some things we would like to Tweet.   As a class, we will review them and Tweet a few.  I am hoping to get this up and running in the next few days.  If you would like to follow us, our Twitter handle is @MsDewarsClass

Friday, 6 March 2015

Some Resources

Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education in Div I/II

Over the past few weeks, I have had a number of requests for resources for Division I and II classrooms. I have spoken to many of you about doing collaborative writing projects or peer editing projects. As well, we have discussed the idea that using Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks in a Division I and II classroom can be focused on helping the students build a digital skill base, just as we would have them build a literacy or numeracy skill base. 

I had the opportunity to hear a great teacher from Wolf Creek School Division describe how she uses the tools in her classroom. Kendall Johnson gave a presentation at a recent Google Apps for Education summit in Edmonton. She discussed a variety of ways to use the tools with younger students. As we couldn't all be there, I've included a web link to her presentation: If you have any questions about the information in the presentation you can definitely contact me. Or, you can contact Kendall directly. Her contact information is in her presentation.

Tech Tuesday 

A common concern I hear from teachers is about having the time to learn how to use the tools we have accessible to us. We are all very busy and finding the time during our day can be difficult. When I spoke with Shawn Lachapelle from Brooks Junior High about the issue, he suggested we hold a Tech Tuesday for teachers. The event will be an opportunity for all of us to learn together and share some of the things we are doing in classrooms across the division. We are still working out the overall agenda for the meeting, but, I can tell you it will take place at Brooks Junior High on April 21. The exact time will be determined shortly and I will send out an email to let you know the firm details. For now, please save the date and look forward to a great sharing and learning session!

Guest Blog

Last week, I sent out a request for guest bloggers to share their stories in this space. Jeff Mason from BCHS shared is thoughts and use of Google Classroom last week. This week, Boni Levie shares her thoughts and ideas of using Chromebooks in her grade one classroom. If you want to share the great things you are doing in your classroom, please send me an email. I would really like to include your stories. They do not have to be related to technology in the classroom. If you would like to read the rest of Boni's blog, you can find it here:

Diving off a cliff

Working with grade ones has proven to be challenging and highly rewarding using google. Yes all 19 can log onto Google Drive and then onto the Grade One google site (I have created for their use). I needed to create a platform where images could be clicked to guide students to multiple sites during any computer session (no typing of addresses). Computers are now apart of every subject area. Not just during a 30 or 40 minute class once a week. Chrome books are very dependable and do not have the time lags or complex sign in routines. For literacy, I am using the Daily 5 format for instruction. The chrome books are used during reading to self ( they can access RAZ kids site), for writing to self (Google Docs) and for phonetic work ( Starfall site). For Mathematics, they can access ICT games, IXL practice questions, NCTM apps for numeracy and the list goes on.

Logging on was the first hurdle in November was : How do you get kids to type out a 9 to 16 long string of letters when they may not even know their letters? Well....lots of practice!!! The first time took 1 hour and the second time took 30 min. Progress! For those wanting to know what it looked like... I made each child a card with their email and password on it. I highlighted one pink and one green so I could direct them to a color of text to type during directions. I could control the passwords and made it simple (bugXXXX). The X represents a 4 number combination I know).

Wow! they sure learned to match and check quickly.. Lots of motivation and their letter recognition increased due to the additional motivation to start the fun part sooner.

Once trained as a large group... all the kid can now do it themselves during centre time! Yahooo!

More later