Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ways to Help a Classroom after a Hurricane

It's been an extremely difficult few weeks for the millions of folks who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. The storms also coincided with back to school so many teachers have been wondering - how do I help? Or what can my school/classroom do to help? Since so many ideas are going around, I felt it might be helpful to put together a blog post with a compilation of ideas.
In order to help, first you have to find a classroom or or teacher who needs help. The quickest place is probably to look online and on social media. If you are in a Facebook teacher's group look for posts there. I found a comment on another teacher's Instagram story about a google doc sign up for adopting a classroom and used that. I also noticed there is a website called Adopt-a-Classroom.  My teacher blogger friend Barbara Balius sent me a message about her school's GoFund Me page. You can also go directly to GoFund Me because when I looked there there were plenty of places that needed to still raise funds. You can also reach out to your teacher friends. You probably know, especially via Facebook, people in areas affected by hurricane and other natural disasters. Send a message, see if they are okay, ask how their classroom is an find out what they need.

After adopting a classroom, if that is the route you are going, you will likely either get an email address for the teacher in need and/or a Amazon wish list. The teacher I adopted had both so I reached out via e-mail first. I also asked her what else is on her wish list besides what she posted on Amazon. From what I can tell, being affected by a natural disaster and losing everything in your classroom (or almost everything) is very overwhelming. Teachers may also be involved in the clean up and rebuilding efforts. My teacher was and so she was spending 8 hours a day at the school gutting it and told me she was more exhausted than she had ever been and felt like she had little time to make a mental list of what she would need.  So I thought of about ten high use items in my room and asked her if she needed them. Also, many teachers may be displaced from their room and be teaching in a different location or even a building that is not a school. My teacher's school is borrowing space from a church but they have to carry in and carry out what they will use every single day. Rebuilidng is tough, but teachers are very appreciative of help and support from anyone willing to give it.
 I started by discussing things with my principal and grade level team. A fellow teacher decided to adopt the teacher from Texas with me, since I felt she had a need for so much and we felt it was more like she would get more help if we worked to together. As a school we began discussing what we could do. We are a PreK-2 school so we decided that directly discussing the hurricane and showing images might be too scary for our littlest kids, so we are doing a coin drive and providing a link for parents to donate directly through the Red Cross. Our principal felt comfortable with the older students being more involved and adopting classrooms. I also reached out to my students' parents, explaining in an e-mail and detailed blog post what we are doing and how adopting a classroom works. I received some positive feedback and right away a few folks got our Texas teacher some of her wish list items.
I read some advice on different websites about how to talk to your class. has an article with some good advice.They state "While children may seek and benefit form basic information about what happened so that they can understand what is happening in their word, they (and adults) do not benefit from graphic details or exposure to disturbing images and sounds".  When I discussed the hurricane with my class, they all knew about it and I explained that because of the storm, there were terrible floods and that some classrooms were completely flooded and everything in the classroom was ruined. We talked about how the teacher and students might feel and how we would feel if it happened to us. The American Academy of Pediatrics also has a terrific post here. They mention the importance of acknowledging the children's feelings. They stress the importance of "listening and responding in an honest, consistent and supportive manner".
If you connect with a specific teacher, you will likely get an official Amazon wish list or a wish list via e-mail. Amazon is easy! I just looked up her wishlist, found an item to send, and added it to my cart. Then, once I went into the cart, her wishlist address popped up on the left in my addresses options, so I clicked that and proceeded to send and ship it (free with Prime).  Also because Amazon wish lists have a nice link, I just included that in my e-mail to parents and the blog post on our classroom blog.
Another idea I had was using Scholastic Book Points to send books to her. Here is a  quick (less than two minutes) video explaining it!
And if you are not a video fan, here is it in a nutshell. My students suggested books to send. I looked them up on the Scholastic Book Club site. If I found one I "saved" it by hitting the heart button and then choosing "wish list" (basically like favoriting it). Then I am going to go today and submit our own classroom order, which will give us more book club points. After that, I will put as many books as I can in an order, use the book club points so it won't cost a penny. *Additional information. I was just ordering the books for her, and technically you need one paid item to get free shipping, so I ordered one copy of Ralph S. Mouse, which cost $1.00! And another glitch - Scholastic Book Clubs does not seem to allow you to change your mailing address so the books will just have to be sent to me and I will take the box to the Post Office. I think they could go media mail which is the cheapest.   Still, I was able to get 29 free books for our Texas Teacher and just have to pay to ship them from the post office! Yay!
If it is a challenge to find a way to donate hard goods, you can do a coin drive with your class or school, you can encourage students and parents to donate to an organization with a good reputation like the Red Cross or use a site like GoFund Me to donate money. My school also one did a fund drive with a Hat Day. Students were allowed to wear hats but had to donate $1.00 or 50 cents and that money went to relief for the disaster in Haiti. There are definitely many ways to be creative with it!

So, do these ideas help or inspire you? What are some others ways that you and your class have helped out? Please comment and share them! Thank you!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

25 More Pop Songs to Use with Students

I love music - I love listening to it, singing along, and I play a bunch of instruments too... and I love to share music and incorporate music with my second grade students. Plus, many of my friends have young kids and I know parents are always trying to find popular songs that are acceptable for their kids to listen to. When you look and listen closely to lyrics though, many are not acceptable, especially for younger elementary students. So, as a follow up to my previous blog post from a few years ago, 25 Pop Songs to Use with Students, I searched and found 25 more that will be okay for use with elementary school students or younger children.

How did I find them? Well, I listen to lots of music so as I was listening to the radio the last month or so, I kept a running list of ideas on my phone. Then I looked up about 60 songs on AZ Lyrics to see which ones could make the list. I had to eliminate more than half for reasons like such as curse words which I didn't know about, or they were about romance. The lyrics needed to be applicable and/or acceptable to students. My disclaimer is pretty much the same as in my previous blog posts about using music in the classroom. You should always listen to the entire song and read the lyrics yourself before playing it in class - the same thing you probably do when you play a video from Youtube for your students. And this list is for music only - I am not recommending playing any videos in class. I put the videos in the post so you can have a quick listen to the songs yourself only.

For each song, I included a brief summary of my interpretation and anything I think you should know about the song. You might also like to check out my blog post called 25 Oldies to Use with Kids if you are also a music lover and if if you just want to mix it up!

CAN'T STOP THE FEELING by Justin Timberlake
I really don't need to explain this one, right? Just listen and enjoy!
CENTURIES  by Fall Out Boy
The centuries in this song refer to how long the singer will be known. It's about being a legend beyond your own time.
SOLDIER by Gavin DeGraw
The video is also worth a watch. It's all about helping others and includes people who have faced hard times, those who come together to hep others, mentions of charitable organizations that you can donate to, and also includes Ed, a "schoolteacher who believes education matters". Preach, Gavin!
I'M BORN TO RUN by American Authors
This is a fun, upbeat song about traveling the world, meeting and befriending others, and living life to the fullest. The only caveat, is it may only be appropriate for older elementary students because of the line in the chorus: "I''m gonna live my life like I'm gone die young".  It's awfully catchy though! If this one doesn't work your class, try their song "Best Day of my Life".
BE ALRIGHT by Ariana Grande
This song is pretty much what the title implies - that even through hard times, we will be alright. It also talks about you can have some control over how things go by having a positive attitude and staying determined.

This song was also featured in the movie Pitch Perfect 2, so if it sounds familiar, that may be why. It's another tune about someone who supports others and how that can help others remain strong in tough times. A lot of these songs seems to have this theme, don't they? I think things in our world are pretty challenging right now and that may be why so many artists put this theme into their songs. This song could apply to friendship, family, or a love relationship. You can also play the Hailee Steinfeld version, whom some students may be more familiar with.

EYES CLOSER by In Real Life
This song was pretty high on iTunes this week. I had never heard of them, but they are just getting famous thanks to their appearance on the reality show Boy Band. The song is about a love interest, but it also has the possibility of applying to anyone. The chorus is, "even with my eyes close you're beautiful" and "I wish you could see what I'm seeing'. Basically, what is inside is more important.
THE FIGHTER by Keith Urban with Carrie Underwood
This song! It does not sound like a country song - definitely more like a pop/dance song. And is all about (again) supporting another person and staying strong for them, to help them stay strong. This may be one of my favorites on the list!

WELCOME TO NEW YORK  by Taylor Swift
I don't think she had an official music video for this song, but this might be just right for you if you teach or live in NYC or New York, or if you are heading on a field trip!  Sort of like with Frank Sinatra's New York, New York, it's all about the excitement of getting to the city and the possibilities of building a life here. You can also play the less dance-y, poppy version by Ryan Adams. He covered her entire album, 1989.
AIN'T NO MAN by the Avett Brothers
This is a very fun , catchy song by the Avett Brothers who have had a following for a while (did you know the dog food line I and Love and You was named after one of their songs?) but hadn't become well known until now. The theme is about staying positive, sharing love and not letting anything hold you back.

PRICE TAG by Jessie J
This song has been around a while but it's another one that might work in the classroom. In today's material - driven world, it's about focusing on happiness and joy (basically, in the form of "we just want to make the world dance"). You could play a version with or without the rap from B.O.B. depending on how you feel about it.
Apparently I missed the update when Pink became P!nk but on her Vevo channel, she has the exclamation point. My interpretation is the song is saying if you are your unique, powerful self, you will be able to do amazing things, and reminds you to not let the haters get you down!
HOW FAR I'LL GO by Alessia Cara
Yes, this song is from the Moana soundtrack, but don't knock it. Cara is becoming a hugely popular singer and  this song was in the iTunes top songs. This song is about being yourself and being true to what you love. It also reflects on the struggles so many of us have when we are torn between what our families and communities expect from us and what we really want to do with our lives.
This meaning of this song is a little hard to figure out so I did some research. It is about a fight that singer Isaac Slade had with his brother and former fellow bandmate. One verse is told from each brother's perspective. Slade said sometimes you just have to fight things out with someone and that now "he's one of my best friends today".
LOST BOY by Ruth B.
This song is, as you can tell, is a musical interpretation of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys and about finding a home and support from kind, friendly others. This song is unique because it's a young woman singing about being a lost boy, and a fourth grader sang a beautiful version of this at one of our school assemblies.
WHAT'S MY NAME? by China Anne McClain
This one is also about being confident and determined and is from the soundtrack of Descendants 2, which seems to have a lot of catchy, popular songs.
MOONLIGHT by Grace Vanderwaal
She has a beautiful voice and unique style which is sort of a cross between pop and folk. The chorus is "The light from your eyes makes me feel like we were dancin' in the moonlight". Take a listen for yourself! It seems to be about having fun with friends and loved ones.
BELIEVER by Imagine Dragons
This is a really fun song that has become really popular. If you read the lyrics, it is a little confusing by my interpretation is that it expressing one's feelings (good and bad) through writing and art and that his drive to succeed, life and love came from getting through the pain of the past. I did read that the lead singer has ankylosing spondylitis and depression which has caused him a lot of suffering for many years.  His mental and physical health has done a 180 recently, however, which is why their new songs have a positive, powerful energy. The only caveat with this song is that there is a a lyric: "Oh let the bullets fly", however, the way the song is sung, it is really hard to tell. Up to you if you use it!
THUNDER by Imagine Dragons
Yes, another one by Imagine Dragons, because their new songs are terrific! Thunder is a great song which is basically about a comeback. The singer makes reference to being made fun of in school but now he is happy and loving performing on stage.
BELIEVE by Shawn Mendes
This cute, fun song is about believing in yourself and going for your dreams!
SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS by Chainsmokers with Coldplay
You don't even have to look up the lyrics because this creative video includes them! The video has a child's artwork with chalk lettered words and in it, the child becomes the superhero. Plus the song is uplifting and makes people want to dance!
I'M STILL STANDING by Taron Egerton
Yes, I know this is an "oldie" from Elton John but it has gotten new life with it's cover by Taron Egerton for the Sing Soundtrack and is now on the iTunes top 200. Plus, it's so positive and another set of lyrics that reinforces that we can go though tough times and get through them,
HEARTBEAT SONG by Kelly Clarkson
This is pretty much just a happy song, perhaps about coming out of tough times - or maybe Kelly had been feeling down and found new happiness in life. I think it was written when she was pregnant, so the heartbeat may have been that of her daughter, but it could have been interpreted as one's own heartbeat or that of any loved one.
I'M SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON  by Dropkick Murphys
Like Welcome to New York, this would be great for those of you who live in a certain area- Boston or New England. The song is is a huge deal at Boston sporting events. The only caveat is that the sailor in the song lost his leg in an accident which is a little unpleasant, so the reason he is going up to Boston is to get his wooden leg.

I hope you enjoyed this list and if you have any songs I should add to my next list, please let me know! 
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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tip: What to do with Incomplete Work

 I have a quick and easy tip for you! With my student desks, the students would have folders where they were supposed to keep their incomplete work in there. Of course some students did and  some just shoved their papers in their desks. I found this idea somewhere on the internet five or more years ago. Just take a large plastic bag and tape it with packing tape to the side of your students' desks. I wrote on the side "Incomplete Work" with a sharpie. Then you can see exactly what students need to complete.

And another piece of advice - initially I tried taping it horizontally along the top edge of the gallon size plastic bag, but if a student got more than a few papers in in their sleeve, or bumped into it or they were a little rough when they pulled stuff out, the bag would fall so I added the less attractive vertical pieces of tape. Hey, it holds, though! Also, it is easy for parents at conferences to see how much work their students have to catch up which can help you if you are concerned. It is also a cinch to just reach in, pull the papers out and right there at the desk, and review them with the student.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

15 Halloween Costume Ideas for Teachers

I know some of you have already gone back to school, and you know what that means? Halloween will be approaching fast! If you're looking for some Halloween costume ideas, I have rounded up a couple of my own ideas and many terrific Halloween costume ideas for teachers from around the internet! The ideas that folks come up with are so creative! Also make sure to scroll down and grab a Halloween teaching freebie!

First, here I am dressed as a 100 year old lady for the 100th Day of School! Why couldn't you do the same, but on Halloween. It was easy and my only money spent was on the wig and about 5 years ago I bought a cane so I keep that in my closet at school - very handy!
Get with a buddy and be Thing 1 and Thing 2! Here is my teaching buddy and I being just that two years ago! I even saw that you could get decals to make your own Thing 3, Thing 4 and so on shirts! I got the shirts pictures here from Amazon and this is the headband we got, too!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie costume!  Cute and easy idea from The Reading Room. Click on the pin and any pin below to learn how to put it together!

Another clever book character costume idea - this one from Angela Watson's The Cornerstone for Teachers.

An adorable one suggested at The Cornerstone for Teachers is this Grouchy Ladybug getup!

SIX Also found this super fun idea for Where's Waldo's costumes, and a family who wore them all at that! The idea was originally here.

Not sure of the origin of this one but it sure is clever, easy and a great group costume idea!

This clever idea was from the blog Couldn't Get Michael Kors. I love my Starbucks! This would be great for me!

Here's a great DIY popcorn costume idea from Studio DIY!

You could be a giant emoji for Halloween like this gal!

I was the Grammar Police for Halloween a couple years ago but I couldn't find a picture. I bought the T shirt from Amazonthat this lady has from Amazon, and a Police hat, sunglasses, and plastic handcuffs were all I needed!

Miss Viola Swamp costume from the book Miss Nelson is Missing!

There are a ton of ideas for Ms. Frizzle costumes out there! Here's just one to inspire you!

Looking for a healthy costume? Try this salad costume! Totally doable for an adult!

This is adorable, but less healthy - from the blog Cute Girl Hairstyles.

And how about this last one? Are you a Snapchat addict and love their filters? Well you could turn yourself into a real life filter with something like this! Don't know where the original went but I bet you could buy or make one!

Now, here's your Halloween freebie! Help your kiddos practice place value with a fun Halloween theme! Click here or on the image below to grab it! If you love the freebie, check out the full pack here!
Also,  if you're looking for something else Halloween or fall themed for your class, check out my Fall Themed Story Problem Pack!   Plenty of addition and subtraction practice for your students!
Also this Spooky Writing Prompt Collection is not Halloween themed, but perfectly spooky for the season!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Revamping A Classroom Library and More

It's that time of year, teachers! It's time to get back into school and set up your classroom again! As for me, I had to pack almost everything away in boxes because our floor was getting redone, so there will be a ton of set up!

When we get back into the classroom, we often change things up, right? Some things we replace every year and some things we keep for as long as we can. Well, I have had the same classroom book baskets for many years. Some of them I got back when I was a new teacher- dishwashing pans from Bradlees and KMart (remember them?) and purple plastic containers from Walmart. About 8-10 years ago I got some new ones in colors like purple, brown (random, huh?), red, yellow and more,  to replace and add to what I had. So this year, when unpacking, I decided it was time to revamp my classroom library. I found these super cute neon baskets from Learn 365 by Oriental Trading Company (they have a ton of amazing teacher classroom supplies) for my books. They are almost the same style as some of the baskets I still plan to use so they were a great match, and they come in super cute bright colors!

Take a look at the baskets below after I got them out of the box! The baskets are 11" long, 8" wide and 4 1/2/" high.
I tested out a couple of the books I had at home first, and the large hardcover picture books do fit if you put them in sideways, which is what I already do with some of my current book bins.
Then as soon as I could get access to my classroom, I  headed in and found my old book bins. I took a snapshot and the moved the books into the new bins and voila.... 
I also took some close up pictures of the old and new book bins. Take a look!
Here's a shot of the old ones! Some of them are a little warped, but the colors are dated. Primary colors were stylish at the time that I got them. But that green- blah!
So check out the dishwashing bins I sometimes used for book bins! That one has some kind of emergency handwritten label.  They are sturdy and good for holding the large books, though!
And... here are the new bins! So cute and colorful! I realized I could just have some bins displayed sideways so that even when the books are large, students can still easily browse through the titles. 
I should note, they are a little smaller than the previous baskets I used, so they don't fit as many books. For example, the Joy Berry books no longer fit in one bin, so I might have to spread them out into two bins. Another option is to still use the extra large dishwashing bins or rotate books in and out during the year. 
A few books did not quite fit into the book bins. Here they are, so note if you have very wide or large books like these, you might need an alternative! 

Now, onto the next item I found! This was not something I was looking for specifically, but caught my eye. They are called Easy Clean Flat Trays and measure 16"x12"x1 and come in a bunch of fun colors. Their suggested use is for classroom crafts, projects and painting, but I immediately thought they were perfect to contain center materials during reading and math rotations! Here is a look at them fresh out of the box!
The first thing I thought of was they would work so well to corral the TOOTHY games and materials while students played, and also outside of reading and math workshop, they would be terrific to hold all of those pieces for STEM centers! I have one set of six trays but may have to go back and get another set!

Finally, check out what I found for birthdays from Learn 365 by Oriental Trading Company! I am one of those teachers who does not have a routine for student birthdays but I have done different things like given out birthday pencils, bookmarks etc. I saw these birthday medals and immediately thought - BAM! Perfect! They come in sets of a dozen and they are all bundled up nicely so they don't get tangled in transit! You get 6 blue and black ribbons with yellow and blue medals, and 6 red and black ribbons with red and blue medals, which is nice because kiddos can choose which one they want! And I know they will love wearing them proudly all day on their birthday!
The ribbons are generous in size (32" long) so they will work for taller kids and can easily be tied to a shorter length if you prefer!
So what new items are you trying in your class this fall and how do you think they will help you and your students?

Disclaimer: These products were provided to me in exchange for my honest review. I will always share my honest opinion and only will share with you products that are beneficial to teachers. For more information, please see my Disclosure page.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

FAQs: Using Google Drive in the Classroom

Using Google Drive and other digital resources in the classroom is an amazing way to approach teaching, but at times questions can come up and you might be looking for answers!  I know that before I even began using Google Slides, Docs, etc. with my second graders that I had a bunch of questions. Well, I gathered a few top questions you might have when using Google Drive in the classroom with your elementary school students and now you can have all the answers in one place!! 
This is a common question, especially for folks who have never seen a resource for elementary students on Google Drive/in person. An easy way to get an idea  is to look on Teachers Pay Teachers and search for "Google Drive"  or "Digital". Let me show you a few examples here though of the digital resources I have created! 

Here you can compare some printables and a cut and glue activity  from my paper and pencil Cause and Effect Pack with the Digital Cause and Effect. The highlighted blue areas on the digital version show moveable pieces that a student has just clicked and dragged to where they should be. Also don't forget, if you're hoping to use less paper, Google and Digital resources are paperless!
 Yes, any Google Apps are accessible on iPads, tablets, and any device with internet including laptops, smart phones, and desktops!
Yes, Google Drive resources can be used in  One Drive/Microsoft Classroom and many other top Ed Apps. It is not hard to export and download the resources to One Drive, and in fact if you end up purchasing one of my digital resources, zipped into the file will be a detailed guide on how exactly to do that! I learned a lot and the resource will be shared with you  thanks to the amazing Danielle Knight from Study all Knight!  Which platforms can you move your Google Drive teaching lessons to? Here is a list of the ones I know of:

  • One Drive/Microsoft Classroom
  • Seesaw
  • Nearpod
  • Edmodo
  • Padlet
  • Schoolology
  • Canvas
  • Notability 
  • Pic Collage
  • Blackboard
  • EvernoteYES,  they can!  You just click on the print button like in the example below. Just a note, all my Google Drive resources and most that are from other folks are very colorful so have the colored ink handy if you want the print outs to come out like the slides/docs. If you don't mind having them come out black and white, select that option when printing to save colored ink. Just a note, some digital activities will not work on paper, but many of mine will. Just cut and paste or write instead of click and drag or type.

Students will accidentally delete or change the size or orientation of moveable pieces, and other teachers have asked me  if the moveable pieces can be locked in some way to prevent this. Unfortunately, nope. If they were then they wouldn't be moveable. BUT as I mentioned in a previous blog post (Tips and Tricks for Helping Students Work in Google Drive), the undo (and redo) button is incredibly helpful. You will need to model moving pieces around and students will improve after they have tried it a few times, but you will always have kiddos accidentally enlarge, shrink, or delete moveable pieces. Undo solves my second graders' moveable piece problems 99% or more of the time!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to comment if you have additional questions that I might be able to answer for you!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Five Ways to Use Google Drive For Writing Activities

Maybe you have already used Google Drive for writing with your students. You might be looking for new ideas! Or you could be a newbie and want to get started using Google Drive for writing in class this year! Whichever one describes you, these ideas will help! I have been using Google Drive for a few years and I have five ideas to use Google Drive for writing activities that  I'd like to share with you!

Seems simple, but it is often overlooked! Many students love free writing and last year, once I added it as a choice for when kids were done with other Google Drive assignments (if you need ideas, check out this post), students did a LOT more free writing! My students always loved working on free write in their paper writing journals but there was something about having the option to type in Google Drive that got students extra excited. Students would even ask me if they could use Chrome Books when the Chrome Books were put away. It also definitely made it easier for those reluctant writers to write on their own. And if you are wondering if students can plan their writing in Google Drive by using graphic organizers, brainstorms, etc., of course! There are already resources for you out there,  so just search Teachers Pay Teachers and some you can use with your students are there. However this year, even my students who often needed a lot of support getting their ideas onto paper had much less trouble when it came to just opening up a new doc in Google Drive or finding a Doc that they had already begun and saved! Don't forgot to remind your students to change the title of their Docs though - otherwise they will end up with a bunch of Docs all called "Untitled" and it will be very tough to find what they want! If you want more details on how to do that and other tips, also read my post with tips for helping students work in Google Drive here.
A terrific and fairly easy way to incorporate writing with Google Drive is to use writing prompts that are already Google Docs. After you find some on Teachers Pay Teachers that you like, all you have to do is assign them in Google Classroom or share in a shared folder or in whatever manner you usually share Google Drive activities with your students.  Here's a peek at an example of a writing prompt from my Digital Writing Prompt Collection. It's set up so the prompt is right there and students can read, and reread it as needed and there is also a second page if they end up writing a lot. I find students write more on the computer than on paper! All students have to do is click in the text boxes (where it says TYPE HERE) and delete those words and start their own writing!
If you want to get a closer look at the Digital Writing Prompt Collection, just click on either of the images  to get more details!
Google Drive allows students who are on different devices to access the same doc (or slide, sheet, etc.)  at the same time. This is a great way to have either students who are sitting together or across the room (or even someone who is home sick) work together on a project. I Googled some ideas to try with my second graders and searched on Teachers Pay Teachers and some of the ideas I found included designing a book cover, designing an app, or creating a book. There are so may other options too, and as the teacher, you can decide if you want students to work in pairs, small groups or even do something as a whole class, like create a whole class book! I don't have anything like this in my own Teachers Pay Teachers store, but you know I will be brainstorming and coming up with an idea, so stay tuned!

Clever little aspects of Drive make it easy and fun for students to collaborate. For example, different colors can be assigned to each student so it is easy for them (and you) to keep track of who contributed what to the project. Students can use the chat feature to discuss the writing piece and discuss making changes. There is also a "suggestion" feature which comes in handy (suggestions can be accepted or rejected )  and the teacher can use the Comments section for feedback in the margin. Revisions are saved too, so students can revert back to an earlier version if they would like to. As with anything in Google Drive, you as the teacher will need to model using these tools and have the students practice first.
You know when you are doing a complete start to finish writing project with students and they have so much paperwork? Brainstorm, rough draft, second draft, final draft, etc? And inevitably some students lose important parts of the project like the rough draft and end up wasting valuable time by starting over? Even I have misplaced student papers. Grr! And it is so tough to keep track of who is doing what. Well, Google Drive allows students to keep every single step of the writing process in one place! YAY!  Students can plan/brainstorm, write a draft, edit and have a final copy either all in one doc, or in two different docs in Drive (depending on what the project is, you may want to have a separate final copy as its own file. Some clever teachers have been creating templates to make this easier for your kids, and you know I have something up my sleeve too, so check out Teachers Pay Teachers and search on Google for resources! Keep all steps of the writing process together!

Google Drive is great to use for project based learning, which will allow for  students to have more choice and be more invested in what they learn. It will also help you differentiate and Google Drive has some tools that can help enrich student projects and help students be more independent when trying to gather facts or learn about a topic for a project!

Check out my Youtube video on two cool tools that you could share with your students!
Also, if students want to go multimedia, I like Google Slides because they can combine text/writing, photos AND videos! Google Drive makes it easy for students to take notes too, and they will never lose their notes if they are in a Doc or Slides presentation in Drive!

If you have not checked out Adobe Spark. do so! It got even my most reluctant writers excited to complete a "writing" piece telling all about how they spent their vacation. I mention it here because I think you need to log in with a Google account to use it, so my students simply used their Google Drive logins and got going!

If you want more information on how Google Drive can transform your classroom and your students' learning, check out some of my other posts here!


I have some Google Drive and Classroom resources which  can all be found at my TPT Store general link. If you want to look at all of the digital resources only, click here. Since we have been talking about writing, you may want to check out  my Digital Writing Prompt Collection. Click on the image covers to get more details!

Be sure to let me know how you use Google Drive for your writing activities! I am always looking for new idea and new inspiration!

Polka Dot page dividers by the talented Paula Kim Studio!