Saturday, August 21, 2021

A Tip for Structuring Group Notes in Google Docs

Fourteen years ago when I first started using Google Docs with students I got the idea to have my whole class take notes on the same document. It sounded good in my head on my drive to school. In practice it was a disaster as my students were quickly frustrated by accidentally writing over each other's notes. So then I tried having them each pick a color to write with to differentiate and avoid writing over each other's notes. That also didn't work well. Eventually, I decided to put a grid into the document and have students write within a square in the grid. That worked, kind of... It worked better when I broke the class into smaller groups and had them take notes in the grid on a shared Google Doc. 

Today, when I have students working in small groups and recording notes, I assign them to a Google Doc (Google Classroom makes that easy to do) that has a preformatted grid in it for them to write in. I've used this method in my computer tech classes when students are working on troubleshooting processes. I've used this method when I taught U.S. History and had students reading and evaluating historical documents. Both of those examples are explained and demonstrated in more detail in this new video that I recorded on Thursday

If you want to learn more about using Google Documents in your classroom I have a complete video overview of how to get started with Google Docs. And here are ten other Google Docs editing features you should know how to use.

Images, Inquiry, and Virtual Backgrounds - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising on what should be a great weekend to celebrate my oldest daughter's fifth birthday! I'm sure every parent says the same, but I can't believe how fast she's growing. It seems like just yesterday I was holding her in the hospital and now she's asking me to take her fishing, help her ride her bike, and spell words. 

This week I took a day off to take my daughters to Story Land before it closes for the year. I also snuck in a long bike ride this week. You might say I'm soaking up what's left of summer. I hope that those of you who are still on summer break are doing the same. And I hope that those who have started the new school year are off to a great start!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 12 Good Places to Find Historical Images to Spark Inquiry
2. How to Create a Random Question Generator
3. Five Good Tools for Making Your Own Educational Games and Practice Activities
4. Resources to Help Students Recognize Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Biases
5. Where I'd Like to Go - An Icebreaker With Google Drawings
6. Poetry, Maps, and Templates - Google Jamboard Activities to Try
7. Flipgrid Virtual Backgrounds - How and Why

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This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.