A 'How To' Project to Get Rocking with Google Slides

Are your students ready to start creating and learning with Google Slides?  Are they expert keyboarders and know all the ins and outs of Google Slides menus?  If you're like me, I just completed my first full week with my new class of third graders....and no they were not ready!  You kind of forget just how much there is to learn in Google Slides so that your students can work independently on that platform.

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But I was prepared to get them up to speed! My team and I decided that we needed a short project that could be completed in about a week that would teach the students the basics of using Google Slides (Here's a link to add the project to YOUR Google Drive).   But wait, they also have to learn to log on...then log on to Google Classroom and then open their assignment!  So there's more than just learning how to type here.

Read the rest by clicking below on Read More

Being Cyber Savvy

We also decided that the first week would also be a good week to teach the Cyber Savvy curriculum that we are required to teach in California (AB 307 states that teachers and students receive instruction on internet safety and ethical uses).  My district was lent some very good resources by the Santa Ana Unified School District on this important topic.  The curriculum teaches students to ask adults for permission to go on the internet, not talk to strangers on the internet, about copyright and plagiarism, and many other important safety lessons.  We taught the Cyber Savvy curriculum lessons every day right before launching into the Chrome Books and our project.

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After that, my first task was to teach the students to log on to their district provided accounts.  Then I showed the students how to join my Google Classroom.  I have separate classes set up for each subject area. I've blogged about this valuable tip here.  It just makes it easier for you and the students to find assignments.  We also practiced logging off the computer and also understanding that if you just close the lid of the Chrome Book, you will also be logged off.  I also taught them that when I'm teaching them something about using the Chrome Book or Google Slides, their Chrome Books should either be completely closed or at a 45-degree angle so that they are focused on my instruction.

Beginning the Project

Now it was time to begin learning some important skills for using Google Slides.  Google Slides has a lot of menus and features.  More than any student could learn in a week or more.  But it's not necessary.  Just focus on the power skills or features.  These will be needed throughout the year.

What are they?

  1. inserting and typing text
  2. enlarging or decreasing text size
  3. centering text
  4. changing font style
  5. inserting an image
  6. searching for an image
  7. resizing images
  8. repositioning images

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These are skills that must be mastered and are used continuously.  All of these skills can be taught with this Google Slides Starter Project.  As projects go, it is straightforward and timely for the beginning of the school year.  Students will be filling information about themselves which they can then share with the class or a classmate (through Google Slides presentation mode or by emailing it to another student).  There are a total of 6 slides:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Favorite Food
  3. When I Grow Up
  4. One Thing I Dislike
  5. Something Special
  6. Blank Page

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I use the first 2 slides to directly teach these skills.  The first slide involves using the built-in webcam of the Chrome Book to take a selfie snapshot that can the be inserted as the image.  The other slides require the student to search using Google (which is a built-in feature of Google Slides).  This is an excellent opportunity to talk about copyright and what is allowed to be used.  Google allows image searches to be filtered by personal use and commercial use.  Image resizing and repositioning are important skills as well because most images inserted are usually too large to fit on the slide.  Knowing the difference between the resizing cursor and the repositioning cursor is vital.

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Learning to choose appropriate images is important.

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Teaching students about copyright.

Students Do Make Mistakes

At this point, let me tell you that I had at least 5 students delete slides by accident.  How does this happen?  It's because they have the slide selected, and not the text selected.  Then they start hitting the backspace key.  They see that nothing is happening, so they keep hitting it.  Before you know it, most of their slides are deleted.    Don't panic!  This is another teachable moment!  Teach your students how to use the undo keys and if necessary, how to restore previous versions.  Again, I've blogged about this important issue HERE.

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If necessary, I would continue instruction with the next slide if I see my students are having difficulty mastering these skills.  If not, I let them independently continue with the slides and fill in the necessary information for each slide.  For those very proficient students, I always include a blank slide that has the same theme template.  I tell them to design their own slide by continuing the "book" about themselves.  I want them on their own to discover some of the drawing and shape tools (those will be later lessons, but it always helps if some students already know how to use some of these tools).

If you would like to try out the project with your own students, go to this link.  It will force copy it to your Google Drive.  Once on your Google Drive, you can add it as an assignment in Google Classroom or email the file to the students.  I'd like to give a big shout out to Graphics from the Pond on TpT for the great template border!

Parent Connection

At Back to School Night, I plan on having parents log on to their child's account and see this assignment.  It will be my segue into internet safety (just like I taught my students) and how I plan on transitioning some of the paper and pencil homework tasks to Google Slides and other Google Apps. I also will be letting parents know that many forms that they will need to fill out will now be done through Google Forms.  They will also have a chance to sign up for the remind app, which I use for messages and announcements.  It's a very techy world and they need to join it!

If you're looking for more ideas, tips, and resources for using Google in your classroom, check out my Pinterest Boards.  Also, check out my TpT Store for Interactive Digital Notebooks on Google Slides for social studies and science.  I've also created math practice for fractions, area, and perimeter using Google Slides.

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