Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)
Home » Education

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Written by 26 March 2013

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)*ISTE Workshop: Transitioning to the Common Core with Google Apps - Join Catlin Tucker!

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

The following is a guest post by Catlin Tucker, one of SimpleK12's presenters. Click here to watch Catlin's Webinars inside the Teacher Learning Community.

At ISTE, I had the pleasure of presenting in the Google theatre on Writing with Google Docs. It was a short presentation aimed at demonstrating how educators can use Google Docs to foster writing in its various stages. I wanted to share some of the my slides to inspire other teachers to explore how docs, spreadsheets, forms, drawing and presentation can be used in creative ways to foster writing.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Just some general info on Google Docs...

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Google Documents is a great tool to facilitate collaboration. Group students together into writing groups working on a single document so they can research, brainstorm, and pre-write together.

This is an example of a shared Google Document where a group of students were collaborating on one document to research "Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England." They used the instant chat feature, comments and research tool inside Google Docs (Click: Tool>Research) to investigate and discuss the topic their group was assigned. Each group had a different topic related to Elizabethan England, which they had to research and discuss to create a presentation on for the class. This combines research and writing which are both stressed in the Common Core State Standards.


Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)
 

W.6-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products.

W.9-12.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem.

Teachers can use Google Docs to facilitate synchronous or asynchronous debates on a topic in preparation for an argument essay. This provides students with an opportunity to articulate their position on a topic and read their peers' ideas and arguments. This exposes students to a variety of perspectives effectively broadening the scope of an argument and stimulating higher-order thinking about the topic. Reading opposing viewpoints also makes it easier to address counter arguments to strengthen an argument essay.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

W.6-12.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.6-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Engage students in effective, focused peer editing using Google Forms. Teachers can create a rubric to be used during self, peer and/or instructor feedback that is tied to the writing standards listed in the Common Core State Standards.

When students evaluate their peers' writing using rubrics, they begin to think critically about the elements of writing. They also become familiar with the grade scale that the instructor will use to grade their writing. The process of involving students in editing, revising and providing feedback makes it possible to build in formative assessments throughout the writing process.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

W.6-12.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

In credential school I fell in love with the copy-change poem assignment, which is basically a fill-in-the-blank poetry writing activity. It is a fun way to inspire reluctant writers to play with poetry. The trick is to find a poem that you like, then remove sections from each line leaving a skeleton of the original poem that students complete.

I decided to create a Google Form for our copy-change assignment and asked students to complete a copy-change of Robert Frost's "Road Less Traveled." Then all of the poems were collected neatly in a single spreadsheet where students could view and read the poems written by their peers. It was a fun way to engage students in poetry writing and allow them the opportunity to see what their peers had created.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

W.6-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.6-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products.

For many students, the most challenging aspect of writing is getting started. The blank page is daunting, especially for younger writers who are not confident in their abilities. Google Drawing offers teachers a vehicle to engage students in dynamic prewriting activities, such as: brainstorming, mind mapping, creating a venn diagram and collaborating on a shared timeline.

For example, my students began a larger scale writing assignment on themes in The Grapes of Wrath by first identifying themes and representing them visually. Once they identified key themes and paired them with media, they began to analyze how those themes developed over the course of the novel.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

RL.6-12.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail...

Using Google Drawing to create an essay map to break down the main points and brainstorm ideas is an easy way to begin a 5 paragraph essay.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Getting students to collaborate on a timeline for a character in a novel makes it easier to write an essay about a character's growth and development.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Venn diagrams are a great way to visually compare and contrast characters, themes, events, etc.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

RL.9-12.3. Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Teaching students how to shift from summarizing to analyzing a literary or informational text can be a challenge. It is helpful to approach this task using a Google Spreadsheet that asks students to work together as a class to gather evidence (examples if you are working with younger students; quotes if you are working with students in 6-12th grade) and analyze that evidence.

Students benefit from seeing the evidence and analysis generated by their peers (embedded modeling). This also generates a neat collection of short writing samples a teacher can use to discuss strong examples as well as examples that needs to be developed further. This makes an essay less daunting if students have already engaged in this form of prewriting with their peers. They can also draw from this spreadsheet to help write their essays.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

RL.6-12.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis...W.9-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products.

Google Presentations offers opportunities to get students publishing their writing in creative ways. Students can create a visual research paper to accompany an informative piece of research writing. This can easily be shared with the class or published to the web for a larger audience.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Students can also publish narrative pieces in a storybook format using Google Presentations by inserting text and media.

Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

W.6-12.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

W.6-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.W.6-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products...L.6-12.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Note: I have included language from the Common Core State Standards associated with each task. The language for each standard changes slightly at each grade level to reflect the increasing complexity of the standards. As a result, I have provided language from the standards take from the middle of the age range indicated.

*ISTE Workshop: Transitioning to the Common Core with Google Apps - Join Catlin Tucker!

About the Author

Catlin Tucker is a Google Certified Teacher and CUE Lead Learner. She teaches 9th and 10th grade English language arts at Windsor High School in Sonoma County and has taught online college level writing courses. She spent the 2011-2012 school year on leave finishing her first book, Blended Learning for Grades 4-12: Leveraging the Power of Technology to Create Student-Centered Classrooms (Corwin). She is an experienced professional development facilitator and trainer, education consultant, curriculum designer and frequent Edtech speaker. She earned her BA in English from UCLA and her English credential and Masters in Education from UCSB. She is active on Twitter @CTuckerEnglish and writes an education technology blog at CatlinTucker.com.

Click here to view Catlin's original article on her blog.

Share this post with your friends and colleagues:
Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

Comments are closed.