Beast Mode Think-Pair-Share with Google Drawings

How often does every student in your class get to see and hear about every other student’s response to what they’ve learned? Sometimes? Rarely? Never?! With Google Drawings and Google Slides, achieving this beast mode version of Think Pair Share is simple.

The basic steps are:

  1. Let the learning happen
  2. Ss (students) combine images, shapes and text to create a graphic representation of what they learned, using Google Drawing
  3. Ss publish their work to the web
  4. Ss add a slide to the class slideshow, using Google Slides
  5. Ss insert the graphic
  6. Ss add their name and what they want to say in the notes section of the slide
  7. You project the final product, a slideshow constructed by the class, and invite each student to talk about their work.

There are tons of benefits for individual students. First, creating a mini infographic requires students to really engage with the content by selecting an important idea and finding a way to show that visually. For the presentation, since they plan and type out what they want to stay to the class, they can practice and feel less nervous about the moment they are asked to share about their slide. Because there is a giant visual being projected, it’s not an all-eyes-on-me situation, which is nerve-wracking for most students. It’s just an all-ears-on-me thing. (That is super awkward to picture literally. Imagine ears attracted to a person like magnets to a fridge. Ugh, sorry.) Knowing everyone is listening, while admiring their work, leaves a student feeling empowered and important. Give students a choice on how much the focus will be on them, by allowing them to stay in their seat and talk or get up in front of the room to speak. Either way, they will make a contribution to the class as a whole.

This type of activity definitely benefits the class-as-audience. They get a review of the content, and a different point of view, explanation or visual representation that helps them cement the idea. It is so rewarding for everyone involved to ask for students to give each other positive, specific feedback after each slide, too.

Please don’t use the excuse of “Well, I don’t know how to use that technology, and neither do my students.” Last week, my students had never heard of a Google Drawing either. I made this video to show them some basics, and they were off to the races.

The next video shows how to publish the drawing to the web, and then insert it into a slideshow. The majority of my students (ages 11-13) completed this assignment with little trouble. The ones who asked for help, just weren’t sure where to find the slideshow. Your students can do this! You can do this!

If you are using Google Classroom, follow these steps.

  1. Make a slideshow with 2 slides. A title slide, and a slide which includes your example graphic.
  2. Optional step: Start the Google Drawing for each kid by creating a blank Google Drawing (Same way you’d create a Google Doc, Sheet or Slide show)
  3. In Google Classroom, create an assignment that includes the Slides, set to “Students can edit file” and the optional Google Drawing, set to “Make a copy for each student”. You could also include the instructional YouTube videos.

    Here’s an AMAZING example of a Google Drawing, created by an 11 year old. Check out the eyes he used for o’s in look! There are at least 6 elements he selected to create this image. So cool. Please give your students the chance to create something awesome, share it with their peers, and maybe even a wider audience. I’d love to see what your kids create!

example slide made by student