Thursday, March 5, 2020

Using Google Slides to Build an "App"

Recently seventh grade Literacy Studies students completed a long-term assignment that combined fiction books with nonfiction reading in our AEA databases. My colleagues Lacey Sedrel and Melissa White recommended that students use Google Slides to create what appears to be an app so students could show what they learned in an unusual way. Thanks to Gina Rodgers and and Amber Bridge, digital learning consultants from Grant Wood AEA, who shared their presentation "Google Slides: The Swiss Army Knife of Google Tools" at a fall technology conference session that Lacey and Melissa attended. It was the inspiration for students' work for this unit.

First, students used our Destiny catalog and Destiny Discover to identify nonfiction topics associated with a fiction book of their choice. Students also talked with one another about common books read to get feedback on nonfiction topics not listed as subject headings in the catalog. We also used our class read aloud Solo by Kwame Alexander as an example:
What we noticed was that several nonfiction topics we identified with the story weren't listed as subject headings, such as adoption, Ghana, guitars, and music. Ultimately, students would choose two nonfiction topics from their reading to become the basis of their research in our AEA databases.

Once fiction books and nonfiction topics were solidified, students worked in Slides to create their "apps." Along the way, students learned a few new tricks in Slides--namely, how to orient their Slides vertically and how to link Slides within the presentation to one another. The template from which they worked included five Slides:
  1. Front page
  2. Home screen
  3. Fiction book
  4. Nonfiction topic #1
  5. Nonfiction topic #2
Students' nonfiction topics became the focus of their work in our AEA databases. Students briefly worked with SUPERSearch, which allowed us to discuss how to narrow a search and search particular types of resources.
Students also returned to familiar databases like Britannica and CultureGrams to complete some of their work. 

Students turned in their work through Google Classroom, but we also shared our links with one another using Padlet. This allowed different classes to see their classmates' work and read about a variety of topics. 

Accessing one another's projects and viewing the work in presentation mode allowed students to move through Slides as though they really were using an app based on the fiction book. Below are some Slides from students' work:

Finally, students responded in a Google Form in a ticket out after looking at one another's projects and reading about several books and nonfiction topics.

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