Reading And Writing, Google Style

Based on student interests, our classroom has started to transform into a Drama Studio. I really wanted to help inspire the students for different play ideas with the use of various books. While I have many books on topics of interest, I knew that I didn’t have enough on all topics that students wanted to write about (e.g., Monster High and Pokemon). So when thinking about some upcoming plans the other night, I thought that I’d show the students how to do a Google search. I figured that the images might help inspire some play ideas. My plan was to have the students help me create a list of some different topics, and then they could type in the word/words that they wanted. And while we did do this, when setting up for school yesterday, I realized that most of the iPads and our two ChromeBooks have a microphone option. I showed the students how to use this option. My one minute lesson was all it took!

Students loved searching by voice. It didn’t take long for them to make some important observations.

  • The more specific, the better. If you give a general category, you might get images or information that you don’t want, but if you’re specific, you’ll get better information.
  • Look closely at the websites, the images, and the videos that appear. You can tell a lot just by the website name. Students quickly realized that if they recognized the name of the producer of the show in the website link or information, it was probably a better source than if they just saw some random names that they didn’t know.
  • Sometimes a website is better, and sometimes it’s not. For some students, they found it hard to find exactly the information and/or images that they wanted, and they decided to look through books or even cards (e.g., Pokemon cards) to quickly get this information instead. The web is not always the best choice.
  • When using the microphone feature, the words appear in the Google search bar. Students realized that if their search produced the correct images, then the word/words were correct. They then used the search terms to spell these words correctly in their play scripts and/or plans. 
  • Not everything online is for kids. Students searched safely, but they also changed search terms and asked an adult and/or another child for help if the search didn’t produce the results they wanted. 

What was amazing about this whole process is that even some of my weakest readers and writers became successful at reading and writing online. Assistive technology makes the Internet very accessible for even our youngest students. We looked at how to be safe online, and students demonstrated for me just how safe they could be.


If they don’t learn how to search, filter through information, and make informed choices online, will they always make these good choices when accessing the Internet? I’ve been somewhat reluctant this year to use too much technology in the classroom, as my students are still young, still learning how to read and write, and still benefitting the most from real world experiences. But watching my class yesterday and today made me realize that as I teach the students to read and write, I can’t forget about teaching them how to do so in an online world. Google provides many reading and writing opportunities for students today. If my six-year-old that is still learning all of the letter-sounds can independently access, discuss, and respond to images and texts online, then I think this Language learning needs to be part of my Language program. What do you think? What role does the Internet play in your Language program, and why do you make the choices that you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


One thought on “Reading And Writing, Google Style

  1. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs | doug — off the record

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