Monday Success: The Day the Chromebooks arrived

Nov 2, 2015 by

The Monday Success story this week comes from Dr. Cheryl Blau who is a teacher at New Morning School.  Below is her story about The Day the Chromebooks Arrived.

“Dr. Cheryl Blau here.  To refresh your memory, I attended your Detroit workshop last year at the same time that Google lent our tiny school enough Chromebooks so that each of my middle school students had his or her own to use in school for the remainder of the school year. As a result of the convergence of these two events, my students and I had opportunities to explore and experiment with a wide variety of new tools and applications which profoundly changed how teaching and learning happen in our classroom.  Although we regularly tapped into resources such as Newsela, Timemaps, Newsmap, and Instagrok, one of the most game-changing tools for us was Google Docs!
For instance,when our social studies textbook failed to adequately explain life in Ancient China, we used Google Docs to create our own E-Textbook on Ancient China.  Each student selected a topic of personal interest, researched it, wrote a chapter, added images, and then added it to our E-Textbook.  In addition to presenting their information and chapters to the class, students then read and reread each others’ chapters in preparation for a class Jeopardy challenge held at the conclusion of this unit of study.
I also found an innovative application of Google Docs to model for my students how to write literary analysis in a way that was far more engaging for students and far more effective than any of the ways I have taught this skill before.  One of my Comparative Literature groups was reading the novel Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Maas.  One afternoon, I gathered these six students around a table, each with our own Chromebook open to Google Docs.  I had created a single document which I had shared with all six of the students in this particular Literature Group.  I asked them to brainstorm qualities characteristic of the novel’s main character, listing their ideas in the common Google Doc.  Students eagerly jumped into this, quickly forming a shared descriptive list of this character’s qualities.
After a few minutes, I asked the students how they know this information about this character, to which they replied “author’s description” and “character dialogue”.  I then asked them to find examples of the author’s description and character dialogue from the text for each of the qualities on their list.  Before I could even finish giving these directions, students dove into their texts in search of examples to support their viewpoints!  From the examples they collected in the next few minutes, we collaborated to create three body paragraphs along with an introduction and conclusion so that by the time we were done with our collective literary analysis, students had a vivid understanding of how to use examples from the text to write this kind of essay.  They could hardly wait to apply this new learning to the writing of their own, individual character analysis essays!  And all of this from a simple Google Doc.”
Thank you for sharing, Cheryl!  This is a great example of a teacher trying new things and having a fantastic result!

Please keep sharing your Success Stories!

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Reply