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!

DIGITAL WRITING IDEA 1: FREE WRITING
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.
           
DIGITAL WRITING IDEA 2: USE PROMPTS THAT ARE ALREADY IN GOOGLE DRIVE
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!
DIGITAL WRITING IDEA 3: COLLABORATIVE WRITING PROJECTS WITH PEERS
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.
DIGITAL WRITING IDEA 4: USE DRIVE FOR ALL STEPS OF THE WRITING PROJECT
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!

DIGITAL WRITING IDEA 5: PROJECT-BASED LEARNING 
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!

BONUS IDEA: ADOBE SPARK
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!

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