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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Guided Reading in Google Apps for Education

This week I am giving some guest bloggers the opportunity to share their ideas and experiences. This is a post from Trevor Krikst. 

The ability to link various documents within Google Apps makes it ideal for a digital Guided Reading program. Bringing Guided Reading into the Google realm has made it simple for me to consolidate my plans, texts, student work, and assessment into one location. It all begins with the Guided Reading Launch Page, a hub which, through linking, allows quick and easy access to:

  • a weekly schedule 
  • anecdotal assessment documents 
  • an assessment form 
  • digital texts 
  • guided group folders (within which I store tasks, student work, and texts)
Here is the Guided Reading Launch Page:
Click to view full size.
As you can see, the Launch Page contains information found in traditional Guided Reading planning templates, such as group names, student names and the instructional focus for the week. By being a digital document, there is the added convenience of being able to easily adjust groupings by dragging or copy/pasting students from one column to another. The individual anecdotal records, to which each student is linked, move with the names when you restructure your groups in this manner.

With this ongoing observational record, the teacher can make regular anecdotal notes within one document - accessing this document is as simple as clicking on the desired student's name in the Launch Page.

As an alternative to anecdotal records, or in addition to, the Launch Page links to an assessment form.

This form allows the user to capture an abundance of assessment data. Data entry is incredibly quick with the use of drop down menus, which allow you to quickly select a student, a group, and curriculum expectations assessed. The lower portion of the form includes specific expectations from the curriculum for reference purposes.

With two methods of assessment so easily accessible from the Launch Page, I've found myself gathering more assessment data than with my previous, traditional Guided Reading programs. And the use of forms has allowed me to gather very specific and valuable assessment data. The end result is that I have a much clearer picture of individual student strengths and needs, and I am able to change my groupings on a much more frequent basis based on this data.

As more and more technology finds its way into our classroom, the more common it will become to use digital texts. In my classroom, digital texts include:

  • PDF texts 
  • eBooks 
  • online texts & articles 
  • websites 
  • Tweets 
  • student work samples

In summary, here are all the features and conveniences of going Google in Guided Reading with a Launch Page:
Click image to view full size.
All of the documents and forms required to implement your own Guided Reading program in Google Apps are included here for your personal use: Guided Reading in GAFE

Remember to review the included instructions before using the Launch Page in order to determine which files are there for you to use, and which ones you need to create for yourself.

Good luck and get launching!


Trevor Krikst is an elementary teacher at Teston Village Public School in Maple, Ontario. He received his BEd from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. From early on in his career, Trevor recognized the value of integrating technology into classroom learning experience and the resulting increase in student engagement. As Technology Lead Teacher at his school, Trevor created multiple opportunities for the staff and students to explore and learn about various technologies and how to facilitate their integration into the classroom. Most recently he had the opportunity to share his developing expertise in Google Apps at the York Region District School Board’s Google Camp 2.0. Along with friend and colleague Wahid Khan, Trevor recently created and is a regular contributor to InspireandInquire.ca, an online hub exploring the vast potential in the nexus where technology and education converge. He can be contacted at krikst@gmail.com, @trevorkrikst or @inquireinspire