Google Activities for the Elementary Classroom and Ways to Distribute Them

Friday, June 17, 2016

Are you a GAFE school and/or possibly going 1:1 this upcoming school year? I hear MANY schools (yes, even elementary!) are getting Chromebooks as well as other devices and there is a great need for meaningful, academic activities that can be completed in Google Drive. Google Drive is great for taking notes, making presentations, graphing and documenting data in spreadsheets, sketching as well as a variety of other amazing, student centered activities. However, every now and then teachers, especially elementary, need activities with a little more structure.

Google digital activities that can be completed in the elementary classroom.

Look no further! Here is a list of my digital products that can be completed in Google Drive and found in my TpT store. There are even some time saving products created just for teachers. Some of these are FREE so be sure to check them out :) Then read on to find out different ways you can distribute these activities to your students. All of my Google products will be 15% OFF through Monday, June 20th!
Google Products
View more lists from Julie Goode Smith

I will be adding a lot more to the list in the next few months!

Often times I get questions from teachers about how they can distribute these digital activities to their students. Well, you have options...

5 ways you can distribute Google digital activities to your students.

If I were a classroom teacher then Google Classroom would be my choice for distributing digital materials to my students. Why? Because you can link in a file and set it to automatically make a copy when the student clicks on the link. Google Classroom sends the file (that is automatically renamed with the assignment name as well as the student's first and last name) straight to a Google Classroom folder in THEIR Drive as well as a folder in the TEACHER'S Drive. Google Classroom is very easy to set up and your students can join by simply entering a code or you can add their email address. *Currently you have to have Google Apps for Education to access Google Classroom*.  HERE are some directions an ITRT in my county put together to help teachers get setup.

Once you have your Google Classroom class set up, be sure the file you want to distribute is in your Drive.
Google digital activities that can be completed in the elementary classroom.

Next, click on "Create Assignment".
Google Classroom for elementary digital activities
This screenshot is from an actual 5th grade Google Classroom. Notice how I could also be a "teacher". Teacher admin privileges are not limited to just one teacher :)

Then type in the name of your assignment and click on the Drive icon.

Google Classroom for elementary digital activities

Locate your file in your Drive and click the blue "Add" button.

Decide if you want a "due" date. Often times I do not include a due date for elementary students since we don't always have access to devices.

Google Classroom for elementary digital activities

Finally, select "Make a copy for each student" from the dropdown menu and click "Assign".

Google Classroom for elementary digital activities

It will then appear in your Google Classroom feed for students to access.

If Google Classroom isn't your "thing" then you can send the assignment straight to your students by sharing with their Google accounts. Many school systems have distribution lists already in place so that you don't have to type each students' Google address into the "Share" box. If you are not aware if you have a distribution list set up for your class, first check "Groups":

Setting up distribution list in Google Apps

Then click "My Groups".

Setting up distribution list in Google Apps

If no group addresses exist, then I would take the time to create a group with all of your student Google addresses. This will save time down the road. Then, whatever you end up naming your group is what you would type in the "Share" box. To share, open the activity you want to send your students and click the blue SHARE button.

Sharing digital activities in Google

If you would like for your students to edit what you are sharing with them, change the "Anyone with the link can..." dropdown to say EDIT. If you just want them to VIEW it, leave it on "can view". Afterwards, type the name of your contact group into the box under "People".
Sharing digital activities in Google

This option works well when you want your students to collaborate on the SAME doc or presentation. However, if you want them to work on their own, they would need to go to File>Make a Copy and rename their file. Then if YOU, the teacher, wanted to see their work, they would have to share it back to you. Whew. Too many steps for me!

Before Google Classroom launched, many of my teachers used Shared folders to distribute and collect work in Drive. You can create and shared a folder with all of your students. Then, whatever you put in that folder will automatically pop up on their end.  Students would need to go to File>Make a Copy if you wanted them to work on their own assignment. They would then need to drop the copy they made back into a shared folder they have with you, the teacher. You could set up folders for each student WITHIN the one shared class folder but this would mean all of the students in the class would have access (code for CAN DELETE) each other's work. Or, students can create a folder to share with the teacher's email address and the teacher only has access to the files. 

Another way to distribute digital Google activities would be to place a link to the product that you set to automatically make a copy when the students clicks the link on your class blog, website, server or Learning Platform. To do this, open your digital activity. Highlight the word "edit" and everything after in the url.

Automatically "Make a Copy" trick

Replace the highlighted text with the word "copy".

Now when the link is clicked, you are prompted to make a copy.
Automatically "Make a Copy" trick

This is how I distribute my Google products to my customers. Once they make a copy and rename it, the product is sent straight to their Drive and I don't have to worry about anyone disrupting my original file. Note: If you choose to use this method with your students, be sure to have them sign into their Google account FIRST. 

Did you know that you can still use Google Apps even if your students do not have accounts? The benefit of this method is that anyone you share the activity link with can view and/or edit without having to login. This is GREAT for those K/1 students who haven't quite mastered typing in their incredibly long username and password. Just set the sharing privileges to anyone with the link can view or edit (depending on what you want them to accomplish) and add the link of the activity to the area your students go to access links/websites you share. If you are having your students edit/manipulate anything on the activity you share, be aware that they will all be on the SAME document working collaboratively. You would have to create a copy for EVERY child and add EVERY link to each copy to your "go to" website/link area if you want each child to work on their own activity. 

Students can manipulate shapes/images as well as add text even though they don't have a Google account. They just can't insert their own images.

If you haven't implemented digital activities in your classroom, I highly encourage you to give it a try!
Implement Digital Activities in your Classroom with Google Drive

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5 End of the Year TECHIE Activities

Monday, May 30, 2016

Be sure to check out my guest post over at Classroom Tested Resources about 5 EASY End of the Year Technology Activities you can use with your students :) Click the image below to take you to the post.

5 Easy End of the Year Digital Technology Activities for Students

10 Things Siri Can Do for Teachers & Students

Saturday, May 28, 2016

10 Things Siri can do in the classroom for you and your students

"Hey Siri!" My husband continues to roll his eyes every time he hears me call my girl. However, I have to be honest...I haven't always used Siri. This is more of a recent habit that I have fallen into, quickly. Every day it seems like I learn something new about what Siri can do. She is one smart cookie!

Have you ever thought about using Siri in the classroom? I use her occasionally on my iPhone; however, why couldn't we use her on our classroom iPads or iPods?

To activate Siri to work on your device(s), simply go to Settings>General>Siri and turn her on! Hold down the home button (what I like to refer to as the belly button) of your device and up pops Siri.

I like to have the "Allow Hey Siri" option ON when using my personal cell phone. This lets me be completely hands free (like when I am driving across the county in between schools) and I can control everything with just MY voice.

I wouldn't have students use this option on school devices unless I was in a one to one classroom.

Here is a list of 10 things that Siri can do for YOU and even your students during your busy days in the classroom.

10 Things Siri can do in the classroom for you and your students

Students can use Siri to help with spelling and definitions of wordsStudents can grab an iPad or iPod Touch and ask Siri to spell words or give definitions for vocabulary terms. This can help assist and promote independence during Writing Workshop, Reading Centers, Vocabulary Development and more. It is also a great tool to use to practice dictionary skills in a more engaging way :)

What to say: "How do you spell ________?" or "What is the definition for ________?"

Use Siri for all kinds of mathematical calculations

That's right teachers! You can have Siri do all of your math while you are on the move. She can add, subtract, multiply and divide. Siri can even convert measurements. Have her figure out a grade percentage (or even tips on a bill when you are out to eat.) This Siri tip is one I would refrain from sharing with my students unless I wanted them to check their work; however, I'm sure they would figure it out in a snap.

Yesterday I had to add up a huge list of numbers so I just read them off to Siri and she did the calculation for me. It was beautiful because my fat fingers often times hit other numbers on my keyboard when I use the calculator app. What I like about using Siri for this is that the final screen shows me all of the numbers calculated as well as the sum.

What to say: "What is 8x7?" or "32 plus 44 plus 22.5 plus 4" or "What's a 20% tip on $92.00?"

Siri can set reminders for you in the matter of seconds
Teachers are constantly on the G-O and don't have much time to stop and write things down. Have Siri set reminders for you. I use this Siri feature all of the time when I am driving and think of things I need to be reminded of throughout my day.  If you are one to one, have students set their own reminders!

What to say: "Remind me tomorrow at 7:30 am to pass out field trip permission slips."

You can even set up location based reminders (you have to enter the addresses in your contacts). This allows you to say things like "Remind me to call Larry when I leave school." As soon as you pull out of the parking lot, DING!

Students and teachers can get Siri to add events to their calendars

Have Siri instantly add events to your calendar. Once you ask her to add an event, you can confirm that all of the details are correct before it is added to your calendar. If you are one to one, have students add their assignment due dates to their own calendar.

What to say: "Add __(event name)__ to my calendar for __(date)__ and __(time)__."

Siri can help assist decision making! Flip a coin or roll a die...
Siri can flip a coin or roll a die! The die can have any number of sides you like: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20... This could come in handy when students need a quick way to decide who is going first, speak, etc.

What to say:
"Flip a coin." or "Roll a die with 6 sides."

Siri can be a weather forecaster
Siri can help Pre-K through 1st grade teachers who do calendar time or anyone studying weather. Have her tell you what the forecast will be or what temperature it is outside.

What to say: "What's the temperature outside?" "What is the weather forecast?"

Students can use Siri for research. She will even read aloud the information which is great for younger students!
Invite Siri to help with research, especially with the younger kids. She will even read the information out loud.  

What to say: "When did ______ happen?" or "What was _______?" or "Who was _________?"

Here is one that I need to use more often when I need to focus on specific tasks at work/home! Teachers, tell Siri to not disturb you so you can focus on the joys of being a teacher. You know, writing those lesson plans, filling out report cards, grading assignments...

What to say: "Do not disturb." or "Airplane mode".

Siri can set alarms for you
Have Siri set an alarm for you/your students in seconds. I always had to remember when to send students to the nurse after lunch to take their medicine or brush their teeth. I needed Siri in my life back then.

This really comes in handy when I want to take a quick nap after a long day of work.

What to say: "Set an alarm for____" or "Wake me up at____".

This is different from a reminder because your alarm will ring until you turn it off. Reminders just make one sound when they pop up.

Have Siri refer to you as any nickname: "Mr. Wonderful", "Beautiful", "Mrs. Incredible"
Sometimes teachers just need a little pick me up. Train Siri to call you something like Mrs. Wonderful, Beautiful Goddess, Mr. is the small things that can make a teacher smile. "Mrs. Incredible" has already been taken

What to say: "Call me ______ from now on."

*Many students don't know about this one. When you feel like they are outsmarting you, show them this trick!*

So there are 10 ways you can use Siri in your life/classroom! What other ways could teachers and students use Siri?

Follow me on Pinterest to get more techie ideas:

Getting Started with TeachersPayTeachers Summer Seminar

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Have you been wondering how to get started with designing curriculum and selling it through Teachers Pay Teachers but not exactly sure what's involved or the best way to do it? Carla from Comprehension Connection and I are offering a Saturday seminar this June to help you get started the right way. We will be sharing with you design tips for formatting, how to secure your files, how to create product descriptions that will highlight your hardwork, social media and blogging tips, how to collaborate with other TpTers, and answer any of your questions!

Does this sound like something you would be interested in? We hope the answer is an enthusiastic, "Yes!"

Saturday, June 18th
Hanover, Virginia
Randolph-Macon College
$65 per person

What you will need:
  • a laptop with PowerPoint installed
  • (Optional) Adobe Acrobat Pro which is used to secure your files

We will provide you with a link to our digital Seller's Guidebook for Creating, Securing, Promoting and Selling Teaching Curriculum. This is going to be a very interactive session using your laptop so you will learn how to create and post a product from start to finish!

Also, there will be...

Glitter Words

Here is a map of Randolph-Macon College (You can click on the corner where it says "Google Slides" and go to File>Print if you would like a print out)

If you are interested in attending, please click the link below to take you to the registration page: Digital Classroom Tool

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Hey everyone! I just posted my last blog post EVERπŸ˜‚ over at the Virginia is for Teachers collaborative blog (since I am moving to Michigan in a few weeks) and I didn't want YOU to miss out on this EASY to use digital tool that your students will absolutely love...

Adults love emojis. Teens love emojis. Kids LOVE emojis! Emojis are everywhere, not just in our text messages.

Commercials are emoji-ing....

Richmond's local news channel has an weather emojicast...

Not only are emojis are in the media, they are also a commercial draw for our kiddos:

Therefore, let's immerse our emoji pop culture into our classrooms!

I have one E-A-S-Y to use techie tool for you that you can use in your classroom in a variety of ways. 
Learn how to use the digital tool,, in your classroom for academic purposes.

This tool is called Basically, it is an emoji whiteboard. You can create ANYTHING with the emojis that pop up when you launch the website. Kids GASP with excitement when
Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.
pops up on the screen. I actually get giddy every time I show a child/adult this website. Yep, I finally feel C😎😎L.

To use, all you have to do it go to the website and click on any emoji. The screen will go white and this will be your work board. 

Move the toggle in the lower right hand corner to change the size of your emoji:

If you want to add a different emoji to your work board, simply press the space bar.

When you are finished with your creation, click the "Save Image" button in the lower left hand corner:

The "Save Image" button doesn't actually save your creation to your desktop. From here you either have to drag and drop your creation to your desktop (it will save as a png image!) or take a screenshot.

The website does work on tablets; however, I find it a little more difficult when you want to change emojis. It also doesn't save to the Camera Roll. You would need to take a screenshot.

Here are 12 ways you could use this web-tool ACADEMICALLY to hit those Standards of Learning:

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.
Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.
Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Check out these ACADEMIC ways you can use the digital tool,, in the classroom.

Can you think of any other ways we could use this in our classrooms? If so, leave your idea in the comments below!


Need MORE? Check out my emoji products on TpT:

Create Your Own Emoji Project in Google Slides: Emojis in the Classroom

Create Your Own Emoji Project: Emojis in the Classroom

Create pictographs in Google Slides: Emojis in the Classroom
This is also available in PowerPoint

Create line plots in Google Slides: Emojis in the Classroom
This is also available in PowerPoint

Erintegration also has some fabulous emoji products for iPads in her store. Click {HERE}.