Google Apps Collaboration through ELA and Math

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TSWBAT annotate informational text and collaborate through Google Docs with a class at another school to write and solve ELA and Math questions.

Big Idea

One article, fifty-eight students, annotated work, and Google Docs to bring it all together.

Warm Up

25 minutes

We (the teachers) met to discuss how to bring our two classes together in a collaborative situation using technology. (SUSD BetterLesson Teachers Collaboration) The result was to integrate informational text that included both Math and ELA, the skill of using annotated symbols, and the ability to successfully navigate our classes through google docs.  Happy to say we hit the target on all accounts. 

In this lesson, the kids are practicing some key CCS shifts.  They are reading informational text to gain knowledge about a topic, and they must annotate this text to find the evidence. Using comprehension skills as well as analyzing and asking questions is crucial when reading and collecting data. To begin, each student is given an Annotation Symbols card, and two articles, "Water Bottle Pollution Facts," and "Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap," from Kids National Geographic.  With a partner, they read the article, compared information and use the annotation symbols to signify how they're reading the text  Students used annotation symbols to mark the text (points of interest, questions, unfamiliar terms and phrases, etc.)  Next, they create questions on notecards directly from the articles for their partner to contemplate and answer.  These questions are put onto index cards and the other students have the chance to move around the room to answer questions. They leave complements or new questions on a separate piece of paper.

Annotation symbols, marked text, questions

annotation symbols, marked text, questions 2



30 minutes

Here comes the exciting part! Our district has provided all students with a google docs account.  After activating, the kids have the opportunity to communicate through google docs. Students class and virtually. This is a new resource in our district, so everyone's learning together.  We visit the computer lab and the kids partner up with a student from another school.  Using google docs, the partners share a document simultaneously on their computers, look at questions and read responses from a students in another school. In our case, a student from DCES types in a question, the student from Redfield uses the text to locate the answer, and responds immediately in google docs.

Although they're using the annotated texts on Water Bottle Pollution Facts, and Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap? to write questions, the instruction today is as much a lesson on using google docs as communicating through the text.  The kids are experts on the topic after all their preliminary work, and sharing the knowledge with one another through the docs is icing on the cake.

Water Bottle Document

Printed Google Doc Documents


Present and Reflect

20 minutes

Once we're back in the classroom, the kids have a chance to reflect on the experience of working with a virtual partner through Google Docs.  In our case, it was actually the next day because we were in the computer lab until they went home.  A reflection on this activity is very beneficial because students were able to express both pros and cons of working with a virtual partner The kids have been exposed to something completely new, and everyone has a unique experience to share.  For example, there are eight kids who were unable to activate their google docs account from my class.  An easy fix- they partnered up with someone who could, and participated in a different way. 

Presentations are made using the information virtually created with a partner in Google Docs.  The student brings their document up on the computer, with the Smart Board connected. They discuss the actual questions from the text a little, the way they worked with their virtual partner, and any difficulties encountered.  They finish up with an opinion based statement about whether they will enjoy working with google docs in the future.