Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Surveys with Grade Twos Using Forms

Surveys with Grade Twos

As part of our data analysis unit in math this year, my students did surveys using Google Forms. The specific outcome from the Alberta math curriculum is: gather and record data about self and others to answer questions.

In Class Paper Surveys First

Students started with doing a paper survey in class first as a part of centres. We discussed how disruptive it was for the people being surveyed as they were constantly being interrupted. We discussed that doing a digital survey would allow people to do the survey when they had time. 

Planning Step

The first step I had my students do was plan their questions and answers on paper. I helped students edit and revise as necessary. 


This was the first time my students had made a form, so I led them through a step by step lesson of how to create a new form. To keep things simple, I had them select all the boxes for checkmarks at the top and have none selected at the bottom. Next time I would likely change these options. By selecting all the checkmarks at the top, it limited our surveys to EPSB staff and students only.

Email, Twitter, Google+

Once the students had completed their forms, they had to send it to me, so that I had the link. I created a page on my class website with link to all the surveys. I emailed, tweeted and posted the link the website to my contacts so that students would have more than just their peers answer. 

I also gave students time to answer their classmates surveys, which they enjoyed.

The Results Show

After a week or so, I had my students look at the results of their surveys. To do this, they opened their form again. At the top, they select Responses which had the number of people who had completed their survey in brackets. They then selected Summary of responses. This opens a new tab with a pie chart, percentages and whole numbers about the data. 

Students used the information from the Summary of responses page to answer questions about their survey: Reading Your Results. This was completed as a pencil and paper activity.


One weird thing that happened was the status bar. I told students that the status bar showed 100% when you had completed a survey, so it was a good way to keep track of which surveys you had answered and which you had not if you lost track. However, what we noticed is that it showed 100% as soon as they opened up a new survey to take.

Next Year

I will definitely do this again next year. It needs some refinement. I would love to hear tips and suggestions!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Reflection: Getting Started With Google Drawing

Show Me The Potential

I had not used Google Drawing at all with students prior to the Alberta GAFE Summit and dismissed it as something similar to Microsoft Paint but online. I decided to go to the session Getting Started With Google Drawing to see if there was more potential for use with my grade twos than my assumption led me to believe. 

First The Basics

Michelle Armstrong gave a good all around session. She started with a simple how to that reviewed the standard Google Apps toolbar and the Drawing specific toolbar features. One of the tips that I thought was useful was about page set up- she suggested setting it to letter paper size.

If you want to learn the basics you may want to start by watching this short video. More resources are listed below.

Classroom Use

Once she covered the basics, she got to the part I was there for - classroom use.  She modeled two group activities and had use the participants complete the tasks:

  1. Share a drawing of something that requires labels and have the class/group complete it together.
  2. Share a table of items that require sorting and have the class/group sort it together.

Then she shared other possible classroom uses.

She also suggested people check out the Google Templates. She shared many examples. Here are the ones that could be possibly used in division one (links goes to Michelle's copy of the templates):

She ended with some useful resources:


I left with more ideas than I remember. Michelle's session definitely did was I had hoped - showed me the potential of Google Drawings for useful, meaningful and practical use in the division one classroom. Below are some examples of what I have tried so far. 

Social Studies Natural Resources Poster

I had my students use a template that I created to make a Google Drawing about the natural resources in Nova Scotia. First they had to do research and record their ideas on paper using a template I created in Google Drawing. Using Doctopus, I shared with them Natural Resources In Meteghan Student Online Template (when sharing with them I just called it Natural Resources). They had to type a sentence in each box and have a picture that went with it. 

Partner Poetry and Brainstorming

As I wrote about in the post Partner Acrostic Planning and Writing on Google Drawing - Successes And An Oops, I had students use Google Drawing for planning and creating a collaborative acrostic.

More Reflections and A Bookmark

After writing the first draft of this post, I came across a blog post that, interestingly enough, was reshared by Michelle: Overlooked Opportunities. Much like me, the author had initially dismissed Google Drawing but after attending a session at a GAFE summit he changed his mind. I like how he described it: overlooked opportunities. "I saw Drawings as a somewhat rudimentary tool...they've redefined my vision of how to use Drawing." Like me, he was impressed with what could be done with Google Drawings. 

More importantly, his blog/reflection led me to a new blog by a Canadian grade two teacher: New Fluencies. Check it out if you want some division one activities that integrate technology meaningfully. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Reflection on: Redefine the Elementary Classroom with GAFE

The Shoe Is On The Other Foot
(Reflecting on how I use tech in my grade two class.)

Holly Clark's session, Redefine the Elementary Classroom with GAFE, at The second annual EdTechTeam Alberta Summit featuring Google for Education left me more frustrated than inspired at first. She had great ideas but I found myself thinking "who seriously has the time to be able to do all that?" which is what I often here when I speak to colleagues about what I do using GAFE in the elementary classroom. This disconnect within my own attitude agitated me. Why?

I think it is because I consider myself a fairly motivated person when it comes to the integration of educational technology and differentiation, yet the possibility of achieving much of what she shared feels somewhat out of my control and/or overwhelming:
  1. access to adequate technology (and here I include bandwidth)
  2. time to effectively redesign what we teach in our classroom
  3. time to learn the technology/programs
I also think that when it comes to technology integration, many of my technology peers are on the same page as I am, so my PLN is a bit of an echo chamber. 

Looking back on her slides from her presentation, I can contemplate, with less agitation, on her message and suggestions. And so, I reflect.

Tomorrow's Literate Person

One of the things she discussed was the difference in what a literate person will need in the future. "If they can do the worksheet, they don't need it. If they can't, it won't help them." She used a Marc Pensky's example to illustrate this (see the image on the right). I would argue that this already almost outdated and we need a fourth column ... What is coming next? And that's the challenge in education at the moment isn't it? It's hard to predict what tomorrow's literate person will need because technology is changing so rapidly. The bigger issue is that so much of our instruction is still in the first column. She challenged us to think like Wayne Gretzky as teachers, we need to teach to the future.  

I Am Tomorrow's Literate Person... Sort Of

So why do I think this is already outdated? Because I already am tomorrow's literate person... well, almost.  

  1. Okay, so I do not work in a virtual community but I do collaborate in a virtual community and the majority of  my PLN is on Google+ and Twitter. 
  2. I make videos for my classroom. While my kids think it's "cool" that I make videos, none have gone viral. 
  3. I have not yet written a program, but I have thought about making my own classroom games a number of times.   :-)

Sam's Arm? SAMR!

Like almost every other session at the Summit, SAMR was discussed. As I am still new to the SAMR model, I really appreciated the examples Holly gave for each 'rung on the ladder'. I would have loved more examples at different grade levels because, as always, I sometimes find thinking about how/if/when to implement technology into division one is a challenge. That said, I appreciated that Holly did given a video example of technology being used in a kindergarten classroom to illustrate redefinition. 

Her other examples were:

  • Substitution: Writing a paper -> Doing it in Word or Google Doc
  • Substitution: Reading from a textbook -> Reading from a PDF
  • Augmentation: Writing a paper -> Writing a paper with “comment coaching” from your teacher
  • Augmentation: Writing a persuasive letter -> Writing a persuasive e-mail
  • Augmentation: Retelling what you learn in social studies -> Use Google Docs Story Builder to retell
  • Modification: Writing a paper -> Collaboratively Writing a Paper with Another Classmate
  • Modification: Readers' Circle -> YouTube Book Talk Channel
  • Modification: Retelling what you learn in social studies -> Use Tellagami to retell. 
  • Redefinition: Writing a paper -> Collaboratively with a Classroom in Australia
  • Redefinition: Reading from a textbook -> Reading Collaboratively and collecting responses right in the document to help crowdsource comprehension.

Resources Recommendation

At the end of her session, Holly offered some recommendations and resources. 


First of all, she suggested that teachers limit the number of extension they have students use. I agree with her here. I would add, the younger the student, the less extensions. Her suggestions included:


Agitatedly Inspired?

Many of the sessions at the GAFE Summit inspired me to try something specific in my class. Despite my initial discomposure, I have to say Holly's session was the one that caused me the most reflection of my overall teaching practice and philosophy when it comes to educational technology. Additionally, but making her presentation available online, I was able to look back over her messages and examples again. 

I'll end with an image (by Wesley Fryer) she shared near the end of her presentation (labeled for reuse according to Google search!) and ask you: what do you want your students to create today? And how are you going help them do so?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


One of the biggest obstacles for teachers to integrate Google Apps for Education is time.  

Just think of what would happen if we shared our Google Docs that we used in class? It would cut down on the time factor. With that in mind, Div Edtech in EPSB would like to present a new Google Site: Division One Collaboration Site for Educational Technology. Here we will upload our Google Documents, Presentations, Forms and Drawings that we have used with students. If you are interested in being a contributor, please leave a comment and we will be in touch!