What to do With Google Slides in an Elementary Classroom

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So you want to start using Google Slides with your elementary students?  But don't know where to get started?  Here are 5 quick ways to get started with Google Slides! This is not a How-To on how to use Google Slides, but rather ideas for using Google Slides with elementary students.  I use Google Slides in conjunction with Google Classroom. Google Classroom I use to assign the work as a file which each student gets.  When they are done with their assignment, they just turn it in and I can instantly grade it online.




Here are 5 ways I am currently using Google Slides in my classroom:
  1. to enhance vocabulary instruction
  2. to do character analysis
  3. to work in online Interactive Notebooks for Social Studies
  4. to give a quick assessment
  5. to have students take notes

These are many ways to use Google Slides in a classroom, but first, the teacher needs to feel comfortable in finding ways to incorporate the use of Google Slides in the everyday classroom. Believe it or not, you are probably already familiar with using Google Slides if you are already using Microsoft Office PowerPoint.  They very much function the same way.  As a caveat, I do use PowerPoint to create all my backgrounds that I incorporate into Google Slides because it is easier that way.  So now it's time to think of ways of replacing paper and pencil tasks with online, Google Slides ready tasks!

Enhancing Vocabulary Instruction


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Just recently, my third graders were learning about Greek and Latin roots as we addressed the Common Core State Standard L.3.4c.  After I had done some instruction on a set of Greek and Latin roots in tandem with a paper and pencil graphic organizer, I created a template for my students to use to show their understanding of at least 4 roots.  They had to give the meaning of the root, example words, and example sentence using one of the words and find a picture to represent the root.  Google Slides is wonderful for finding images.   All the student has to do is INSERT IMAGE and then chose SEARCH.  It will allow the student to search for images that can be reused (that is....respecting copyrights).  Once inserted, it's just a matter of resizing it to fit the template.  Once all the slides are done, the student can then present his work as a slide show presentation to the class.


Character Analysis

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I have a group of students reading The Tale of Despereaux.  If you are familiar with the story, we are in Book 2 and have met almost all the major characters, except Miggery.  So I decided that since we needed to practice Common Core State Standard RL.3.3, I would have the students create a socio-gram in Google Slides.  All I had to do was create a template with the character names.  Then I put instructions on the page to have the students connect the characters using the LINE TOOL in Google Slides.  They also had to describe each character with at least 3 words using the BULLET TOOL.  Once the sociogram is complete I plan on having students show their slide and defend how they showed relationships between the characters.  I suspect as we read the story, relationships will change and we can update the slide as that happens.


Interactive Online Notebooks for Social Studies

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This is the one I am most excited about!  Imagine a parent who comes to Open House to see a child's project on the American Revolution or America's Symbols.  Instead of looking through a book the child has produced, the parent is treated to his/her child's slide show presentation on the American Revolution!  What's even better is that the child can show the parent the slide show at any time because it is in the cloud....with a Google account the child can access all Google Apps and Drive from anywhere, including home.  The above was an example of some pages I created as templates for the students to show what they've learned about America's symbols (the flag, the eagle, and the Liberty Bell).  The Interactive Notebooks that I'm creating average about 5 - 10 slides, depending what I want to add (timelines, description, compare and contrast, listing, explaining, etc).  I am thoroughly testing out all these Interactive Notebooks I'm creating with my third graders before offering them in my store.  I want to make sure everything works as planned.  I also want to make sure that they have educational value and are not some flashy online "pony and magic show" intended to justify the expenditure of district funds....you know what I mean!

A Quick Assessment

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Elapsed time is a very difficult concept for most 8 and 9-year-olds. We have been learning and practicing finding elapsed time in many different ways, including using those nice little plastic clocks that came with the math program.  The students used them to count the minutes as time elapsed.  But we all know that when the students take their ONLINE standardized test, there will be no little plastic clock to manipulate.  Instead, the clock will probably be on the screen in front of them.  So I wanted to make sure that the students could use a clock on the screen to figure out elapsed time.  I created an animated GIF which I put into Google Slides that shows time elapsing.  Then the student had to figure out start and end times, show elapsed time and then create a word problem that would fit the elapsed time.  It is only one problem, but in this one problem I have assessed whether the student can tell time to the minute, find elapsed time and relate it to real life.


Taking Notes

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I previously blogged about how my students use a Google Slides template to take notes.  I created a FREEBIE and it's available HERE.  This will take you to a PDF with download link and instructions for putting the Note Taking Google Slides Template on your Google Drive.  You must have a Google Account (which is FREE to set up at google.com).

I use this template when either I am presenting information to them and they take notes, or they take notes on a video (very important skill as they will be doing the same on the SBAC or PARCC!!), or they take notes on what they read.  This is great practice for Common Core State Standard W.3.8 which does state to "take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories."

I hope that this post has inspired you to venture into incorporating Google Slides into your student's daily work and learning.  I have recently started creating resources to put in my store on TpT.  The first resource is a math resource for Comparing and Ordering Fractions.  It is designed to be used in Google Slides.

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Here’s how it works:

  • create a new assignment in Google Classroom
  • assign the Comparing and Ordering Fractions file
  • students open their assignment and begin!


The slides are meant to be interactive in which the student manipulates objects on the screen by dragging them to form fractions strips so they can compare fractions. Then students order the fractions by dragging them in the right order. All the comparing is based on using the Numerator or Denominator Strategies (explanation slides included!)


There are 8 problems divided between using the Numerator Strategy and Denominator Strategy. There are also 2-word problems for application.  If the slide is interactive, it means there are places for the students to either:

  • manipulate and drag fractions strips to compare fractions
  • manipulate and drag fractions to order them
  • text boxes to type and explain


Finally, there’s a self-assessment for the student to gauge understanding of how to compare and order fractions.  Head on over to MY STORE and check it out!  Also, check out my Pinterest Board "Google in the Classroom" and consider following it for more great ideas, resources, tips, and strategies. 





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