Wow! What a thrilling past two weeks in 5th Grade ELA! The week before my team and I left to TCEA, my 5th grade ELA teacher and I planned for the week when I returned.To set the stage, this teacher LOVES using technology in her classroom, however she has been utilizing it in centers. I am all for centers and have seen some amazing things happen in her centers! However, during our planning meeting I asked her if she would be willing to "step out of her comfort zone" in an activity. She agreed to do so! When I asked her what was coming up, she said that her and her class have been doing a lot of writing and she wanted to focus on peer review. We thought of the different tools and apps that might be able to help her with this. We considered Explain Everything, but that didnt quite meet her and her student's needs. We then thought of Microsoft Word, however that would take a lot of time and consistency with students having to use the same laptop everyday. It would have been a good option, however time was a huge factor with this project. I then suggested to her to consider using Google Docs. This teacher had never used Docs before in a classroom setting, however both of her classes had used it before with a different teacher so they understood the basics of finding their document etc.
Here's a day by day:
Monday: On Monday, students were introduced to what they would be doing for that day. They learned how to use Google Draw (a really powerful tool within Google Docs) to create their own Graphic Organizer.
Tuesday: On Tuesday, students had written out 3 questions that they wanted to research about a person. On this particular day, they were going to bibliography.com to find their info. To be honest, this didnt go as well as we had hoped. Students struggled to find answers to their questions. After reflecting about how this went with the teacher, we decided to take a different approach for the next day.
Wednesday: Wanting today a be a better day, we decided to use the research tool that was built inside Google Docs to help students find answers to their research questions. Let's just say that today was a TOTAL 180 from Tuesday! Things were clicking, students were finding answers and things were getting done! The teacher and I agreed that using this feature would be best for the future! I think the students appreciated the fact that everything was more organized to!
Thursday: Thursday will be a day that I never forget in my life! This was the first time that we had ever used Google for peer review and honestly, I was extremely nervous! However, thanks to the teacher's excellent organization and tech-hungry 5th graders we made it work! Each student was given a partner's document to review. They had to leave one positive comment and one suggestion. You should have seen the look on the student's faces when they saw "someone else" in their document! However, students totally appreciated the feedback that was given!!