Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Create "Cloze Reading" Activities with Google Docs Dropdown Chips

Cloze reading is an activity where a student is given a reading passage with certain words removed. Usually the student is also provided with a word bank, listing the missing words. The task is for the student to fill in the missing words.

This is a great activity to help develop and assess a student's reading comprehension skills. It is necessary for the student to read the passage carefully and consider the context to try to determine what words would best fill in the blanks.

There are lots of excellent resources online for creating your own cloze reading activities, but recently Google Docs has added a new feature called "dropdown chips" that makes it super easy to create a cloze reading activity right in Docs. This is especially helpful since many students are already familiar with Google Docs, and these activities can be pushed out through Google Classroom so each student gets their own copy.

See below for a short 8-minute tutorial video and detailed written directions on how to create a cloze reading activity in Docs using the new dropdown chips tool.

▶️ Tutorial Video (8 minutes)

📄 Step #1 - Put the original text in Google Docs

The first step is to create a new Google Doc and copy and paste in or type in the original text you want to use for the cloze reading activity. In my example I am taking a paragraph from a Wikipedia article about frogs.

As a quick tech tip, if you are copying and pasting from another source, it is helpful to paste without formatting so you do not bring in all of the formatting from the original website. To do this click "Edit" then "Paste without formatting" or press Ctrl+Shift+V.

💰 Step #2 - Pull out the words into your word bank

Now that you have the original text, you will want to read through it and choose the words to remove. My suggestion is to create a "Word Bank" section in your document and then simply select and drag the words from the text down into your word bank.

After the words have been moved to your word bank, you can rearrange them randomly or alphabetically. One quick way to alphabetize the word bank is to use the add-on called "Docs Tools" which has an option to "Sort the selection ascending".

For a final step with the word bank, I would suggest selecting the words and then clicking the "Checklist" button in the top menu bar. That way the students can check off the words as they use them to help keep track.

⬇️ Step 3 - Add the dropdown chips for the word choices

We are now ready to use a feature in Google Docs called "dropdown chips" to add the word choices back into the original text. This will allow the students to choose the missing words from a convenient dropdown list.
  • First click in the text passage where the first missing word should go.
  • Now click "Insert" and then "Dropdown".
  • Next choose "New dropdown" from the pop-up menu.
  • If you want to name this list of words, feel free to change "Configuration 1" to something like "Word list" but this is totally optional.
  • For "Option 1" I would recommend putting in something like [select] or [choose word] so the students know they still need to make a choice.
  • For the rest of the options in the word list simply type in or copy and paste in the words from your word bank.
  • When you need more spaces for more words, just click the "+New option" link to add another.
  • If you want to color-code the words, feel free to click the "Color" dropdown to the left of each word.
  • If needed you can click the trashcan icon to delete a word, or you can click and drag the words to rearrange them.
  • Click "Save" when done.

The dropdown chip will now be inserted into the document. When you click on the chip, you will get a list of all the words in the word bank and can select from the list to replace the missing word. Of course for now you will want to leave these on the [select] option so the students will have to make the choices later.

You will now need to add this same dropdown chip to every spot in the document where there is a missing word.

One option to do this is to:
  • Click in the spot where the dropdown chip is needed.
  • Then click "Insert" and then "Dropdown".
  • And then simply choose the word list you created earlier in the pop-up menu.

Or for a quicker option, you can simply copy and paste the dropdown chip anywhere you need it:
  • Right-click on the dropdown chip and choose "Copy".
  • Then click in the spot of the document where the chip needs to go.
  • Then paste in the copied dropdown chip.

Your activity is now ready after you have added the dropdown chips everywhere there are missing words.

If you would like to try out my "Frog Cloze Activity" you can make a copy with the link below:

👦 Step #4 - Students complete the cloze activity

At this point you are ready for your students to complete the activity. To get the document to them you can push it out through Google Classroom and choose the option for Classroom to make a copy for each student. Or you could share a forced copy link through whatever learning management system you use.

When students do the cloze activity they will click on each dropdown chip to select the correct words to fill in for the missing words in the text. They can also check off the words as they use them in the word bank to help keep track.

Post by Eric Curts
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