I continue to venture into creating more and more resources for Google Slides as I make my journey to a semi-paperless classroom. My latest attempt involved creating a template in Google Slides for my students to practice opinion writing (CCSS 3.1).
There are many resources available on the internet, including TpT for teaching students to write an opinion piece. But with our rapidly changing world, teachers need to be flexible and begin transitioning traditional paper and pencil tasks to an online or cloud based format. Google Slides is an excellent tool for accomplishing this task. If you know how to use PowerPoint, then you will know how to use Google Slides. If you need a tutorial on using Google Slides, just pop on over to YouTube and search “how to use Google Slides” and you will find many excellent resources for learning Google Slides.
You might also want to consider following my Google in the Classroom Pinterest Board for more ideas, tips, resources and tutorials on how to use all things Google.
Our first step to writing an opinion was to pose a question: Was George Washington a great leader?
I chose this question because we had just concluded our Social Studies unit on the American Revolutions so the students were very familiar with Washington. The first slide I created, though, was a note taking slide for students to watch videos about George Washington and take notes about what made him a great leader.
I created links in the slide for the students to click on and go directly to YouTube videos I had chosen. As they watched the video, they would pause it and go back to the slide and use the bullet feature in Google Slides to take notes about Washington’s leadership.
After we had done this, we came together as a class as I projected the same slide and ask students what information they had recorded. Then I typed the info onto my slide. This gave those students who did not have many notes to add to their notes by just copying from my slide.
The next step was to use a graphic organizer to construct our paragraph. If you are familiar with the OREO graphic organizer, I made a Google Slide template to replicate that organizer: opinion, reason 1 and evidence, reason 2 and evidence, reason 3 and evidence and conclusion. Each part was a separate text box for the students to type into. Since there was our first time to complete this graphic organizer on the Chrome Books, I decided to do it with them and so I projected the slide onto the screen. We started by typing in our opinion. Then I had the students review the notes and find the most or best reason to show that Washington was a great leader. Then we typed that into the text box for reason 1 and added evidence to support it.
We continued this procedure until all the reasons and evidence were typed in, followed by the concluding sentence. Now, came the tricky part for my students. I wanted them to learn how to properly COPY and PASTE the text from each text box into a Google Docs page so that it could be formatted to look like a paragraph, revised, edited for spelling and then copied and pasted back onto the final slide. When using technology, there are always seem to be new or unfamiliar tasks that the students have to do. Though my students knew how to COPY and PASTE, they had to learn to paste each sentence in order and learn proper spacing (2 spaces after period, etc.). But they were so happy to learn to do this because they thought they would have to retype each sentence into the document again!
Finally, when their paragraph was slide-ready, I showed them how to COPY and PASTE the paragraph back into the third slide into a text box. Then I showed them how to insert a picture. They searched online (Google Slides allows you to import a picture, take a picture, or search for a picture all within the INSERT picture function) for a picture of George Washington looking like or acting like a leader. They had to find 2 pictures and then their slide was complete. Since this project was in Google Classroom, when they were done the final step as to turn in the assignment via Google Classroom so I could see it.
You might ask how is this different from just a pencil and paper task? I don’t know about your students, by mine will be taking the California online state test called CAASPP (which is just the SBAC with the CA logo on it). On that test, there will be a writing performance task in which the students will be given one of three genres to use to complete the task: informative, narrative or opinion. Then entire class does NOT get the same genre writing task. The computer apparently assigns the genre randomly. So the students need to be prepared to write an opinion piece! Last year I wrote about the type of test prep needed before taking the SBAC or PARCC. You can read about it HERE. Oh, and sorry about the typo…it’s PARCC not PAARC!
Part of the task will probably involve the student reading an online article, or watching a video or listening to an audio presentation to take notes. The notes are then used to complete the writing task. Students can use paper to take notes and make their own graphic organizer before typing their writing into the computer. So I believe the task I created for them in Google Slides is a good practice for this performance task. I’m going to continue creating Google Slides writing projects so the students become more comfortable with this type of task before testing begins in May.
You might want to check out my previous post about the SBAC. I wrote it last year but many of the tips are still relevant! Check it out!