Guided Notes in Google Classroom

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Teachers have long used lecture with PowerPoints, Google Slides, and other tools to deliver content. With advances in educational technology, we need to ask some important questions about this practice.

What strategy does not differentiate, is teacher-centered, and requires all students to work at roughly the same pace?

Lecture.

What is the most difficult classroom management challenge?

Getting students to quietly listen to the teacher for long periods of time.

How can we differentiate, let students work at their own pace, be student-centered, and make classroom management easier?

Stop lecturing.

Google Classroom lets teachers deliver content without speaking to the whole class while still using existing resources.

Here are 4 steps to making this work in Google Classroom:

Screencasting

Rather than lecture, teachers can use their resources (such as a Google Slides presentation) to screencast themselves explaining content. Teachers can do this for free using Screencastify. Teachers should post the screencast video to YouTube so students can benefit from their instruction worldwide.

Guided Notes

My colleague at Springfield Township High School, Jessica Riley, noticed her students’ note-taking lacked structure. She developed guided notes sheets so students had a structure with bold headings and tables to organize notes. These guided notes sheets are easily made into hyperdocs with links to further resources such as websites, YouTube videos, and other Google Drive files. Here is an example of a guided notes sheet.

Rather than a conventional lecture, students individually watch the video at their own pace on their devices as they complete the guided notes sheet in Google Docs. Thanks to Google Classroom, all student notes sheets are in one place for teacher and student. No more missing notebooks and students asking for pencils. If students want to watch the video on their laptop while completing the guided notes on their smartphones, teachers should allow that as well.

EdPuzzle

This is where differentiation comes in. EdPuzzle is a great free tool that teachers can use to easily add assessment to video. The screencast video can be loaded into EdPuzzle with questions students answer as they watch. Teachers could assign this video as remediation for students who perform poorly on an assessment or the whole class could complete the EdPuzzle at their own pace.

TED-Ed

Teachers can use TED-Ed to go deeper with the original lesson. The screencast video can easily be loaded into a TED-Ed lesson. This allows teachers to add questions and links to further resources and discussion prompts.

Together all four components live in the same assignment in Google Classroom:

The Benefits:

Using Google Classroom for guided notes allows teachers to spend time conferencing with students rather than struggling to hold the whole class’s attention. Students can learn at their own pace. All lesson components are always available online for students who need multiple opportunities to learn. Absent students can catch up without speaking to or e-mailing the teacher. Additionally, the system is paperless and all notes are organized and searchable. Teachers can see every note every student takes in their classroom.

Thank you for reading these ideas about taking notes with Google Classroom. If you want to discuss further, please tweet me at @edtechtom.

Thank you Canva,the tool I used to make the image for this blog post.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I HAVE NOT RECEIVED COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND FOR MENTIONING THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES IN THIS POST. I WAS NOT SOLICITED TO WRITE THIS POST AND I HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITHANY OF THE COMPANIES MENTIONED.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I HAVE NOT RECEIVED COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND FOR MENTIONING THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES IN THIS POST. I WAS NOT SOLICITED TO WRITE THIS POST AND I HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITHANY OF THE COMPANIES MENTIONED.

Thank you for reading. If you would like to discuss further, please comment below or tweet me at@edtechtom.

10 comments

While useful, aren’t all of these suggestions still direct instruction? It doesn’t matter if the teacher is speaking in person or via previously recorded message. Whenever students are passive recepients of information they are rewiring direct instruction.

This is great advice for teachers looking into flipping their classroom. There should be more PD for teachers to spend time learning more about the best ways to use Google Drive and all its apps. Thank you for sharing.

Deborah, thank you for sharing. If direct instruction allows students go at their own pace and occurs on platforms students are more comfortable with, I’m fine with that. Further, as students take these notes, the teacher can conference with those who need more support through face-to-face interaction. This post is strictly about note-taking. Students need to collaborate and create. Skills are more important than content. This strategy is just for introducing them to content. Once students have content down, get them right into doing cool things with it.

Deborah, one other thing – because the guided notes are in a hyperdoc, teacher and student have many more possibilities. Questions can be embedded, students can be prompted to generate questions, links can send students to all kinds of active activities. The possibilities are endless!

This is super useful Tom. I like the way you are combining several resources into the lesson and providing opportunities for presenting/reteaching the content in several ways. Note-taking is an important skill that is increasingly taken for granted as sharing information is becoming ridiculously (and that’s a good thing) easy. Students need to process the information in multiple ways before it is “down cold” and in the long term memory. Skills are definitely more important than content! I will definitely use “your way” :). I would suggest adding more metacognitive strategies into these lessons to drive skill-building more: Lesson Objectives (focus) at the top of Guided Notes, and a Summary at the end (additional processing). Thank you for this awesome post!

Thanks for the informative article. I teach English in a secondary level school . English is not the first language here and most students speak in their mother tongue. My sincere effort is to develop their English language efficiency. I hope to use your innovative strategy. Do you have any more suggestion that can help me to enrich their English language skills ? Again thanks for your great article.

I’m a high school biology teacher. Our district just went 1:1 and every student has a Macbook with a Google account. I’ve figured out the screencasting portion of flipping, but I’m trying to convert my guided notes (I have them on my laptop as word docs, but their Macs won’t open them) into a digital platform.

I opened the preview guided notes on the Google doc, but I’m curious how that works. Isn’t a Google doc capable of being edited by everyone with access? Won’t the notes already be filled in as soon as the first student completes the task? If you can clarify this it would be so helpful!

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