Google Drive’s Hidden Gem: Google Drawings

As a classroom teacher, I often found myself hurried, plagued with classroom thoughts at all times of the day, and running short on time when trying to plan learning opportunities that met learning standards/curriculum needs.  Not only was I trying to plan learning opportunities, but learning that utilized technology that would transform the activities within my classroom.  So, when I found a tool the students like, is easy to use, and can be utilized for more than one purpose, I tend to use it, a lot.  Once discovered, Google Drawing became that tool for me.

Not only is it located right there in the students’ Google Drive, (no need to access the web to find), it works seamlessly with other Google Drive classroom staples, Docs and Slides.  As a teacher, I was able to utilize this tool to enhance my instruction, but not nearly benefitted as much as the students.  This post will share some ideas for classroom uses.

  1. All About Me Digital Posters: Because of the easiness of inserting, scaling, cropping, and adjusting images in GDrawing, this becomes a favorite for digital posters.  The students can either scan and upload a self-portrait or photo of themselves, or they can also draw using the GDrawing tools.  Imagine the possibilities at the beginning of the school year.
  2. Book Character Digital Posters: Let’s put a spin on the All About Me Posters.  If you really want to assess whether the students understand characters in books, historical figures, or current public figures, have them create All About Me posters in the point of view of the character.  You could have the students include important events in the “lives”, create quotes, insert relevant images, etc.. Imagine the critical thinking and opportunity for creation (21st-century skill) by the students. (Could even create a “facebook” page)
  3. Vocabulary Development: The students could create “murals” on new vocabulary  learned in the classroom.  Traditional “word web” activities could be included (definitions, sentences, synonyms/antonyms) but now the students can make it their own with the creative processes and image insertion capabilities.  Take it up a notch by attaching these to QR codes and displaying for others to view.
  4. Mindmapping: Because this tool has collaboration capabilities through Drive, you could have students work together to create learning/thing maps to help them process their learning.  Imagine the possibilities for book clubs, and specific content studies.
    1. As a classroom teacher, I was well aware of the brain research that if you allow the students to create their own mind-maps/graphic organizers, they would find a way that was meaningful to them. Understanding would, therefore, be more meaningful and reliable. Early in my teaching career, too often, I provided the students with the graphic organizer I thought was needed for the students to collect and organize their information. After studying a bit on how the brain works, through workshops and resources from Marcia Tate and Eric Jensen, I began providing early on in the school year, different mind-maps the students could use to organize and process their learning.  I provided ample examples of how to use the mind-maps.  But after they were all processed, they were posted in the classroom and the students could choose their own.  This made their learning a little more personal and authentic.  Guess where they created them?  Google Drawings!  They could easily be shared and used as collaboration tools!
  5. Assessment:  While attending a workshop by John Antonetti, his focus was keeping student engagement alive in the classroom.  One idea he gave the crowd was different strategies for assessment.  Imagine having the students answer your questions on a Google Drawing.  Picture this: I am working on assessing geometry within my classroom.  My prompt could be, “Draw a green parallelogram”.  As I’m walking around the room with my checklist, I can easily see who understands this concept.  I can continue until all concepts are shown. The students are engaged and creating.

These are just a few examples of how Google Drawing can be used.  Do you have others you would like to share?

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