It’s my 21st year of teaching. Even though I’m considered a veteran teacher, I’m still learning new tricks especially this year with us being virtual then hybrid and now back to virtual come November 30th.
This year I took the initiative and started co-teaching/ working in the social studies and writing fifth grade classroom. A few weeks ago, it was made official and that I would be working with the fifth students who have writing goals on their IEP. This allows me to focus on one subject area instead of 3. To be honest, I still focus on all 3 subjects because I do have 2 fourth graders that I provide intervention for on a weekly basis. Both of them only have adaptive behavior goals, reading, and math.
We use a program called Boomwriter for their writing so they can have a portfolio. Even though I like the program because everything is right there. I’m still loving Google Docs for when I’m doing writing intervention.
Let me tell you why: I can be on their document at the same time which allows for in real time feedback. The other day, I cut and pasted the students’ writing into a Google Doc and then we edited and revised their writing. With the student’s help, we separated out the sentences by highlighting each one. It allowed us to work on each sentence together. (Before I continue on, I had one student in the same room as me and the other was on Zoom so it works for face to face students and virtual students.)
Each sentence was looked at for grammar errors (CUPS) and revisions (DARE). As soon as we were done looking at each sentence, we crossed them out. That was a visual reminder that we had checked over that sentence. Once we were done with checking each sentence, then we could remove the highlight and strike through.
Another way I use Google Docs for writing intervention is using the comment section. When the students are writing, they may ask me how to spell a word. I can leave a comment for them to help them with their spelling. More times than not, I need to write down the word to make sure I’m spelling the word correctly. I can also provide them with sentence starters with their writing.
Another reason I like it is because I can move my cursor to where I want them to write. They look for that cursor: visual cueing. It is so much better than continually telling them to find a certain word. Sometimes I might highlight the word, I want them to look for instead of using my cursor. It all depends on my mood.
My final reason is that it allows for assistive technology. If you get the Google speak to text extension, it will read the document to them. They can listen to their writing and see if it makes sense without you reading it to them. There is also the capability for them to use the speech to text tool (under TOOLS). Some students struggle at writing or typing. It is easier for them to speak what they want to say and that tool is beneficial.
I’ll write about using the acronyms of CUPS and DARE in another blog post.