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.