Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Do I Love Thee, Google Docs? Let Me Count the Ways.

By Natasha Goldberg, Middle School Librarian, The Chapin School

I’ll be the first to admit it wasn't love at first sight.  Google Docs didn’t sit well with me until this year. The thought that Sergei Brin & co. were privy to / owned my work product was not a pleasant one.  It reminded me of our families’ common homeland, the Soviet Union, where envelopes arrived in one's mailbox having been pre-opened and sloppily re-sealed.

However (and perhaps this is just the post-traumatic Soviet disorder talking) I’ve now come to the conclusion that Google is our savior. Really, truly, I believe it’s the platform of creativity and progress and answers.

And so, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share three ways Google (specifically, Google Docs) has transformed Chapin’s middle school library program this year.  


It’s been infinitely quicker and more rewarding to create presentations since I’ve switched from PowerPoint to Google Slides. Here’s one entitled Citing a Web Site (enhanced here by cameo appearances by Parker Posey and Gru! Hello, generation gap.)   

I had a 5th grade student play teacher and dramatically read aloud the text, and no one fell asleep.   Amazeballs.


Sharing bibliography.  When students activate the comment feature, reviewing bibliography becomes an act of social networking.


Sharing research product.  
N.B.  If you've never used Google slides, the easiest way to start is to navigate to
and hit the red New button on the left side of your screen.  Then, select Google Slides from the dropdown.
  • Students create Google slides to mimic the old-fashioned index card note taking many of us grew up with (one source/topic per card, 3-4 bullets of notes max).  
  • The bibliographic information is kept in the Notes section of the slide so that students can do parenthetical citations in their final essays.   
  • Teachers and librarians, in turn, are able to comment directly on the slide with feedback.  Here's an example from a current project we're doing with the 7s on the Harlem Renaissance. 

How about you? Any G-doc success stories? Please share! Share your misgivings, too.  I may have downed the Kool Aid, but I’m eager to learn more about what concerns you in terms of this platform. 

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