Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sailing in Uncharted Waters with Google

Setting sail in uncharted waters isn’t my favorite part of teaching. Our district is becoming a Google district, and we have had 2/3 of our teacher training. Honestly I am quite excited about this opportunity because several colleagues I know use Google, and I don’t. When I have done presentations with friends outside of Ohio, we have used Google, and I have taught myself although not well. 

I met with our tech support team twice to discuss how to implement Google in 5th grade. I am sure all of you have been involved in conversations that you just listen and shake your head in compliance. I however tend to write continuously in those situations. I listened and spoke about how I envisioned using Google. I was told “Your class will be fine with Google – they will know it – just give them the chance.”  On a side note, 5 out of 23 students were familiar with Google and had any previous experiences.  I heard frequently – switching the instructional approach is the key for “flip learning.”  At that point, I was drowning, but I had a life raft in a friend sitting across the table who kept smiling at me. Those conversations ended, and again I remembered my OLW (choice) my classroom = my choice for instruction.

I finally jumped into the pool (not quite ready for the wide open ocean) on Friday.  I explained to my students that we’re going to have a unique opportunity be able to connect out of school. We’re going to have 24/7 conversations, and they were ecstatic. I couldn’t have asked for better responses. “You mean we can talk to you on Saturday?” “Can I send you the words I am collecting from my JR books?”  Of course with a huge smile and a bit of relief I said, “Yes!”
Mary  sent these to let me know that she was adding them to her word notebook
There is a difference especially when you are swimming in waters that typically are a bit rocky and could occasionally come crashing down.  (Ask my friend, Bill, about the fans on the roof or my teaching partner, Sarah about how many times we loose our Internet connection) Again I held strong to what I was comfortable with –- starting small which has always been my best choice.  All students have their Google addresses, and I asked them to send me an email this weekend so we could talk.  They were super excited and as this posts I have already heard from ½ my class, which was my #1 goal for me to start sailing in unknown waters.  

And then you get this from one of your students - wow!


  1. How does your district handle kids who don't have computers or internet at home?

  2. When possible, I print out what students would need for that night. I always allow students to write their assignment instead of posting. I have found if students don't have a computer most of the time a parent has an iPhone that they could use for a shorter assignment. Great question though still something to consider as we move forward in our classrooms.

  3. Good for you Maria. I love using Google with my kids. We don't connect via email, but they are able to share their work with me and collaborate with others. Many of my students chose to use Google Apps for their presentations of their Google 20% projects.

  4. I'd like to hear more about this. What does it mean to be a Google district? I also run in to the problem of no computer access at home. Some of my students use their phones, but it's not as easy. I have not tried making online assignments. Wave of the future I'm still trying to catch on.

  5. Please link up on my round-up:

  6. See Julie you just taught me something...they are writing in drive and I'm commenting this weekend. They aren't emailing me. I am getting emails to let me know they have posted. So much to learn.....

  7. We're a Google district, too, and I LOVE it!


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