Google docs offers so many options for educators to enhance the learning of their students. Google docs can be used to create projects, classwork assignments, or even assessments. I have used google docs to differentiate some worksheets for my special education students, since the original could not be edited. I like that google docs can provide collaboration amongst peers and teacher to student. I have only used the basic formats and templates provided. Are there more applications on google docs that could benefit a middle school inclusion math classroom?
Google Docs are a great way to help create different classroom assignments and allow for differentiation. Another way that you may be able to use Google Docs to differentiate is through the links that you put in the different documents. When I was working with various levels of students. I would color coordinate the link that I wanted the student to start with and give them an index card with the matching color. This way students were not necessarily aware of the level given, and it could change based on the different understandings of math skills. I find so many games that work well for some students and are too easy or difficult for others. By inserting the different links, this can easily allow for differentiation. I also let the students know when they finish their required activity, then can try one of the others. Just a thought. Hope this helps!
I agree that Google Docs are great for differentiation. When I create assignments for my students on Google Docs, I often have them click on their name, which takes them to their own personalized area. Even though the work they're doing is the same (I'm not creating several different assignments!) there are some minor differences for some of their assignments. I teach English as a Second Language, and a few of my students are newcomers and don't speak much English. For them, I build in more support for their assignments, and include word banks and sentence starters. Sometimes I even add a little bit of Spanish translation. One of the best features of Docs is the ability to instantly make copies of your work, and then make appropriate changes to the copies to allow for differentiation.
I really like the idea of color coded activities based on the students individual level. I also think I could add additional links to videos or screencasts for them to watch my instruction or modeling of a problem for support. This method of differentiation is more effective than me walking around to certain students and explaining to them the specifics for them to complete the assignment. For example, let's have you complete the first three before moving on or when you get done you can practice on Khan. Sometimes when the other students hear my requests for certain students they begin to question why? The color coded system could represent a range of activities and could mean something different for each color each time I implement the links into the docs. I love the idea of not creating multiple assignments, just modifying the original one. Sarah made an excellent point about copying the doc, then I could change it again depending on the class need the following period or year. Thanks for the responses, I really enjoyed learning a new strategy to incorporate into the classroom.
I love the idea of incorporating some links to videos or screencasts to watch you instruct or model. Another feature that I like is using Google Forms to create quick assessments. It's easy to analyze the results to check for understanding as a formative assessment. There is also the option where the student is directed to a different page depending on their answer. So let's say they answer a question incorrectly--you can have it set up so that they are directed to a website, video, or document that further instructs them on that topic. Google is very ideal for differentiation, in my opinion!
Google Docs does offer a lot of options for creating assignments, projects, and assessments for your classroom. I like the idea I read on here earlier about color coding links and students having colored index cards so they know which link they are using. I think this a great way for others to not be aware of the levels and for those students with different colors to really not know what the other students are working on.
I created a Math project-based activity using Google Docs for my special education classes on planning their dream vacation. The students loved going on and researching their areas of expertise and sharing with their group members what they had found. Docs is great for collaboration. They were amazed at how their group documents changed as others worked on the same document. They had to use the Google Search within Docs, Slides (to create a PowerPoint presentation) and forms. It was time consuming and I had to first teach them how to use the different programs/apps but they eventually were able to complete the assignment.
Some other apps I use with my sixth graders are Khan Academy and Google Classroom. I really like Google Classroom because the assignments you create, you can assign them to students individually and give them due dates. Students complete the assignments and submit them right back to you in the classroom. There is no need for printing pages out and handing them out, as long as your students have access to the computer sometime during the class period. We have to use centers to get all of our students on them. As students submit their work, you can grade them in Classroom and send their grades through the program back to them. If you are like me, I always have a bag full of papers going with me to grade when I leave school and go home. These assignments through Google Classroom can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have access to the internet! This definitely cuts down on everything I have to carry with me. I am slowly trying to switch over, so everything in Google is still somewhat new, but each day I'm learning a bit more. I would also like to hear of other ways and apps to use with students in the classroom!
What a great activity, to have students plan their dream vacations. What grade level did you use this activity for? The color-coding system has worked well in my class as I always mix up the colors. Student levels also change depending on their strengths and weaknesses identified in different informal assessments. I also like the idea of placing different clips and videos to help teach the skill.
An app that I love to use in math that is not a Google app is the ShowMe app. This is a free app that students can show their work while verbally explaining their thinking when solving a problem. The students create the recording, and after assessing, we post the best videos to our class website to use as a resource. A link to the ShowMe presentations could also be inserted into a Google doc and viewed at a later time for remediation.
Has anyone found a way to track student activity when using Google docs? I would like for my students to collaborate however I want to be able to hold students accountable for their work and effort in a project. How do you monitor and encourage student activity?
In the beginning I felt as if differentiating instruction via Google Drive would be a huge pain. Once I started messing around with Google Docs and Google Slides I noticed how simple it would be to incorporate my RTI and small groups. All I did was take the grade level performance tasks that we use in math and I would modify the task to meet every group. My below level students would have the performance task, but the formulas/steps to solve the problems would already be set up. My middle level students would have less modifications and my higher level students would have none. I have my students organized in groups of five and each would have their own group name. All they need to do is go to the main page of the assignment, click on their group project, and it leads them to their own set of instructions, resources, and worksheets that is designed just for their learning level.
The last one I used with my students was planning a field trip. The students needed to decide on costs for the trip, buses, lunches, etc. It was really neat for the students to see because they were able to take their knowledge of decimal operations and apply them to real world situations.
Again, I really love the idea of Google Docs and Google Slides for assignments with my students. Once you get the hang of organizing different links and folders for each group it gets easier. My students love the ability to use the computers and I love that they are very independent.
I think Google docs are a great resource for differentiating instruction. Unfortunately, this year, my district does not have unlimited access to Google resources - Google drive can not be accessed from desktops, only laptops. However, I have used Google and its apps to create and design assignments and projects. I think it is a wonderful teacher tool! I teach in two inclusions math classrooms and I value the ease of access to Google docs. It is so easy to share resources! My special education co-teacher can easily access any links that may lead to lesson plans or student assignments. This is great for differentiation! My special education teacher and preview the lessons and edit plans accordingly. She can even insert links to videos or resources she believes could be helpful to our students. In some of our exchanges, she has found some instructional Khan Academy videos that our special education students used to preview concepts. Once, while feeling very ambitious, I shared a flipped classroom model which students were able to view prior to my introduction of the unit.
I thank those who shared their additional ideas for differentiating. I think color coding activities and assignments based on students' levels is a wonderful idea! This would help both regular education and special education teachers!
I love using Google apps for education but I find it hard to incorporate this technology into math sometimes. I teach primarily Geometry so it's hard for me to come up with relevant activities on Google drive. If you teach graphing in middle school, it would be cool to have students gather data simultaneously on a spreadsheet to create different types of graphs to analyze. They could also gather data and discuss measures of central tendency. You could use Google forms to have students create their own polls to gather data. I'd also look into Google read/write for special education. This app is great because it reads the site to students instead of having to have a teacher read to them. I think this gives students a sense of independence when they can access materials like these without the teacher interfering.