Saturday, September 27, 2014

Google Tools in the Bartlett School Week Extravaganza!

Last week I had the opportunity to work at the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School for 4 days. It was a hands on deck Google Apps for Education training for all grade levels K-8.  The agenda  included classroom integration, teacher and administration training, website development and more.   Each day was a small tornado of activity and I am just beginning to feel grounded and able to reflect on everything we did.  

I will highlight some of the Google Apps experiences we had but first I want to give a shout out to the Bernerhof Inn (, absolutely the nicest place I have stayed on my Google adventures and Margarita Grill (, most definitely the best flavored food I have eaten anywhere since I can remember.  If you are within driving distance and looking for a 'getaway', stay at the Bernerhof and eat at the Margarita Grill.  You cannot go wrong!

Josiah Bartlett Elementary School &
Town Library Under One Roof.  Brilliant!
The Josiah Bartlett Elementary School culture is everything I would have wanted for my own children (who unfortunately attended a less than adequate school in their formative years).  I found happiness and peace each day among all the students and staff.  The level of respect and contentment is phenomenal.  Learning happens naturally in a positive and supportive environment.  There is fun and laughter.  The administration is clearly supportive and encouraging.  I couldn't help but think how wonderful it must be to attend that school and work with such an amazing group of people.  

In four days, here are some of the great Googly things we did with the staff and students.  If you are looking for ideas for using Google with specific grade levels you might find something interesting here.
  • 8th Grade:  Google Sites for Mount Washington Hike ~ Site Template.  We were short on time with these kids but had enough time to have them create their own sites and start thinking about what their project focus would be.  They would be going on a hike up Mount Washington and are asked to compare/contrast the Mountain to the Valley and/or identify how skills, equipment and information could improve a wilderness trip. 
  • 7th Grade:  Lucid Press Designing Brochures on Web Evaluation & Greek Mythology
  • 6th Grade:  Google Sites for Trip to Ferry Beach ~ Site Template.  We had enough time working with these students to show them how to change the header and background images in the site and add images to their pages.  We also gave them a prompt to create a page and write what they are wondering about.  They are leaving on a three day 'science & nature trip' and they learned site development while prompting them to think about their future experience!  
  • 5th Grade:  Book Creator & Asus Transformer Tablets ~ 1 for every student in grade 5.  We used the Google Edu Device Setup App and the 'bump' technology to deploy the tablets for students.  Once that was in place we pushed out Google Slides, Sheets, Docs and Drive to the students and the Book Creator App.  The next day, students crafted the content of an 'About Me' story in Google Docs and then began developing their book using the Book Creator App.  This was a great way to get them acclimated with their new devices by engaging them in a topic they love most ~ themselves!  They are also conducting Biome research using Google Documents, Research Tool and the Easy Bib Add on.  Once this is complete they will create and publish their Biome Books to Google Books using the Book Creator App.
  • 4th Grade:  Google Classroom Writing Prompt ~ The teachers set up their classrooms in the morning and learned how to create a document and send it out to the students.  These teachers were generally 'new' to using Google documents in the first place.  Classroom is so easy they were using it with students in class that morning.  The students accessed the writing prompt and started working and we showed the teacher how to access all the documents through classroom and provide formative feedback throughout the class period.  Students were fired up about getting those comments in their documents and they were provoked to dig deeper or consider things they might not have otherwise.  I am always amazed at how powerful the comment tool is in Google Docs and could see that both the students and teachers were as equally impressed!  
  • 3rd Grade:  Google Classroom Writing Prompt ~ Like fourth grade, the 3rd grade teachers set up the writing prompt and pushed it out through Classroom.  Piece of cake!  When the students had to leave for UA and the teachers said they could leave their laptops in place as they would continue writing more when they returned a big 'yay' was heard in the room.  One student said that Google Docs makes writing fun!  I agree!
  • 1-2 Grade:  Google Draw of Coniferous and Deciduous Trees ~ This was their first time using Google at all and we were short on time so we created a Draw document and pushed it out to all of the students using Doctopus.  Then while they conducted their morning meeting, Jimi logged them in and opened their Drive so they would be ready to get started.  Draw is not like paint so they had to quickly learn some techniques to get what they needed on the paper without the flexibility of paintbrush for example.  They were just beginning a unit on trees so they started with the Coniferous tree.  We learned later that you could use the callout tool as a 'leaf' and with copy/paste they could make dozens of leaves and then place them around the page.  
  • Kindergarten:  Google Draw (Patterns) & Caterpillars.  We used a 'caterpillar' drawing that we used as a template and used 'circles' to create the caterpillar body and we asked the kindergarten students to use the 'fill' tool to create a color 'pattern' on the caterpillar.  Perfect setup for the curriculum topic and ability.  Again, we used Doctopus to push it out.  
With staff we further developed sites, calendars, use of Chrome and more.  

I am amazed at everyone's energy, openness and willingness to work together and try new things.  I'm in awe at what we all accomplished in four days.

Hat's off to the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School staff and students. You ARE the change we want to see in education and the world.

'Ms. M'