Friday, January 27, 2017

8 Engaging ELA Activities for Google Docs

Google Docs is a wonderful word processor, but is much more than just that!

Although we can certainly use it to type up a report, take notes, or write an article, we can also get creative with the features and functions built into the program to make some fun learning activities.

Recently I did a video training webinar where I took a look at eight creative ways to use regular Google Docs features in new fun ways to practice and develop literacy skills. These include:

🟨 Highlighting for summarization
⬛ Creating blackout poetry
😀 Emojis for writing and summarizing
📘 Cloze reading activities
🐉 Making "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories
💡 Prewriting with embedded graphic organizers
✍️ Writing less to write better
⌨️ Generating punctuation practice

See below for the recorded training video, as well as resources, ideas, and templates for each of the activities.

▶️ Training Video (55 minutes)

🧰 Session Resources

🟨 Highlighting for Summarization

Description: In this activity students use the highlighter tool to black out any text that is not critical, leaving behind just the main ideas.


⬛ Creating Blackout Poetry

Description: In this activity students write poetry by using the highlighting tool to choose words they want to keep from a starting text, and then blacking out everything else.


😀 Emojis for Writing and Summarizing

Description: In this activity students use emojis in Google Docs to create summaries, write rebus stories, explore character emotions, and more.


📘 Cloze Reading Activities

Description: In this activity you can create a "Cloze Reading" activity in Google Docs using the dropdown chips feature.


🐉 Making "Choose Your Own Adventure" Stories

Description: In this activity students can create an interactive "Choose Your Own Adventure" story in Google Docs using internal hyperlinks.


💡 Prewriting with Embedded Graphic Organizers

Description: In this activity students can use Google Drawings as graphic organizers embedded right into their Google Doc to brainstorm and plan when doing a writing project.


✍️ Writing Less to Write Better

Description: in this activity students use the word count tool to write within a character limit or word limit.

  • Blog post - "Have Students Write Better by Writing Less with Google Docs" - Website link

⌨️ Generating Punctuation Practice

Description: In this activity you can create punctuation practices for students by using tools in Google Docs to remove capitalization and strip out all punctuation.


🏁 Conclusion

If you do any of these activities with your students, I would love to hear how they go, as well as see examples of the products they create. Also please feel free to share ideas you have for other ways to use Google Docs for activities. I would love to learn from you!

Post by Eric Curts
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  1. Thank you for an excellent webinar on 4 easily replicated literacy activities. I do not work in a Google environment, as my district has gone to Microsoft OneNote and the Office 365 suite of tools. However, I was pausing the the video and trying out the strategies you were illustrating. With little or no difficulty am able "translate" the activities in Microsoft tools - Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Good stuff.

  2. Thanks for the information with regards to the activities (highlighter tool, word count, choose your own adventure & special character tool). As I read through your suggestions I was drawn toward two of them, the word count and choose your own adventure, activities. I am always trying to have my students either add more details or take away details in their writing that are not needed. I plan on using the word count as a tool for these students to learn how to say what they need and want to say with the right words. This skill with certainly help them with their writing, especially when they are writing summaries to the stories they are reading. The choose your own adventure idea is the one that intrigued me the most. I am going to be studying the Underground Railroad in a couple of weeks and I am planning on having students create their own choose your own adventure focused around slaves escaping from the south. Students will research the obstacles that occurred in real life for the slaves and they add them to their adventure. It should be a lot of fun and entertaining.

  3. Many people have used an online rephrase tool, did not appreciate the results, and thus turned to to assist them. At the end of the day, we provide that human touch that a written document deserves. online rephrasing tool