Using Google Tools and RW4GC in the classroom
Two schools in Saanich are exploring new ways to help students learn to write a five point paragraph using RW4GC (Read and Write for Google Chrome) and G Suite tools on Chromebooks. The various options available in RW4GC and G Suite tools are effectively supporting students’ individual and collaborative writing assignments.
The two teachers, Laurel Evans at Prospect Lake Elementary and Kyle Goy at Royal Oak Middle School were brought forward by Saanich’s district team for a SET-BC Tier 2 Classroom-Based Solution for this school year. Their classrooms were chosen because the teachers could collaborate on planning for students who will possibly be transitioning from Laurel’s class to Kyle’s class next year. Laurel is teaching grade 4/5 multi-age class while Kyle is teaching a grade six seven multi-age.
As part of the CBS support, SET-BC provides two days of release time for planning, training and implementation of the technology solution. The teachers both feel that the release time provides an opportunity to work with their Learning Support Teachers, Skye Herman and Kristin Sinats, as well as the SET-BC Tier 2 teacher to plan and implement new curriculum and technology supports for their students.
Read and Write (RW4GC) is a Chrome extension created by Texthelp to support reading and writing. The extension supports Google Docs, PDFs, EPUBs, KES files, and webpages when using a Chrome browser. This extension can be used on Macs (OS X), PCs (Windows), and Chromebooks (Chrome OS) when logged into the Chrome browser. The extension comes in the form of toolbars that include features such as: text-to-speech, dictation, word prediction, translation, word and picture dictionaries, online fact finding, highlighting and exporting passages and vocabulary words, speech-to-text and voice notes.
The G Suite tools the classrooms are using are: ‘comments’ and ‘suggestions’ for editing students work while collaborating with their teacher and each other, sharing Google docs, research tools, and using speech-to-text in Google docs.
‘Writing a good paragraph’ is the instructional focus for the year. Students are completing a multitude of literacy lessons that also center on the six writing traits and Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power.
The British Columbia Core competencies of Communication, Personal and Social and Thinking are being emphasized. The Learning Standards are: 1. Show an increased understanding of the role of organization in meaning, language features, structures and conventions. 2. To use writing and design process to plan, develop and create texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.
The teachers are looking for the following learning outcomes:
Criteria for using Google tools:
- Revision History
- Sharing with teacher for comments and suggestions
- Sharing their paragraph on Google Blogger (learning and success)
Criteria for RW4GC:
- Evidence of text-to-speech using a comment in a voice note (explain one benefit you noticed using voice note)
- Choose appropriate tool to enhance their writing
- Evidence of use of highlight tool to collect notes/categorizing and vocabulary list builder
- Choose one paragraph and use ‘read aloud’ for editing or as a presentation
Reflection: Students will blog about their writing process and the tools they enjoyed in both RW4GC and G Suite.
Laurel says that her CBS is aptly named, ‘The Year I got tech savvy.’ The students completed a pre-survey to check prior knowledge of ‘What are the components of a good paragraph?’ and will do a post survey to find out how students liked the Google tools and what tools in RW4GC they used and preferred. Students will use the tools in RW4GC to conduct online research, read inaccessible documents with the screen shot reader, create online presentations using Google slides, and write paragraphs individually or in collaboration with others.
Kyle is using Susan Augustine’s model where students use 3 key words from their research to write their paragraphs. Students are then using the highlighting tool in RW4GC to collect highlights and write a paragraph from the outline. Kyle is also using ‘Culture Gram’ for research on a ‘country’ of their choice. Culture Grams has a ‘listen’ icon for students to hear the page read to them. Kyle reports that ‘I think choosing one resource and one place for information gathering will help initiate the students on how to research and use the google and RW4GC tools.’
Both teachers are excited about the inclusive potential of the RW4GC and Google tools because they allow access to digital materials and provide scaffolding and independence for students. The Chromebooks are engaging and students are focused and more invested in their own learning. ‘Students think it’s cool to see themselves logged onto the Chromebooks’ when they see their photo icon it becomes their personalized learning tool.’