How to Use Google Slides in the Classroom

With the success of my post about how to use google forms in the classroom I thought I would create a post for how to use Google Slides in the classroom. Google Slides is probably one of the most used Google tools in my classroom. I use Google Slides and Google Forms daily. Google Forms is used every day for my digital math warm-ups (they are self-grading and save me so much time).

Google Slides I use for various things like our digital readers notebooks and for almost all of my science and social studies. For science and social studies I created hyperlinked slides that allow my students to be self paced and independent while learning the content knowledge that they need in oder to complete a research project or other hands on activities.

Read on for some awesome ideas!

There are a great many ways for students to use Google Slides in the classroom. This is the list of my favorite ways.

Top 15+ Ways to Use Google Slides in the Classroom:

1. Presentations:  This one may seem obvious but I definitely want to mention it. Many teachers think that slideshow presentations are only for older students...this is simply NOT true! When I taught grade 2 they were able to make slideshows. We used them for animal reports and country reports. In fact I found it so much easier than creating one on paper and they looked really great! Now that I'm teaching fifth grade my students often chose to use Slides to present various things. 

2. Digital Reader's and Writer's Notebooks:  I mentioned this above but want to go into more detail. 
I created several slides with templates for students to complete while reading their books. Sometimes I would have them choose which page to complete and other times I would assign a page if we were working on a specific comprehension strategy like making connections or visualizing. They can easily duplicate slides so they have more blank copies. It saves so much paper and I can easily check them over at home or on the go (I do a lot of marking at lacrosse and baseball practice). You can do the same for a writer's notebook (create a slides with templates on them and share with students). I share mine to Google Classroom and make a copy for each student so they can't mess with my copy. If I ever want to add an additional slide to their notebooks I just add the slide to google classroom and have students copy and paste it into their notebook.

3. Stop motion animation! My students love doing this for an Art project or for creative writing. This video will show you how to do it (though students are so smart they tend to figure it out on their own).

4. Photo collages. We create an end of the year slideshow at my school and it makes it so easy for teachers to contribute photos from their class adventures. One way to set this up is to create the slideshow and share the link with teachers. Each teacher can be assigned a certain number of slides and then they just fill up those slides prior to the day you want to show the slideshow. This is always a hit at our end of the year assembly.

5. Posters and Infographics. This past year my students were researching how people negatively impact the environment and I had them create an infographic to go along with their presentation. Prior to doing this I showed them some websites that demonstrate what makes a good infographic as some of my students didn't know what an infographic was. 

6. Group problem solving - I often assign math problems or other questions in google slides to a whole group. I will have one slides presentation and each group will respond on one slide. Then we have all of our answers in one spot and I can quickly share the responses with the whole class.

7. Hyperlinked Slides - I love these for science and social studies where there is a lot of content that students need to know. I like that students can be self-paced and then I can pull smaller groups to run some experiments. I set these up so that the first slide is either a choice board where they can choose any order for their activities OR sometimes I have arrows to show them which order to complete the activities in. Some items link to outside websites like edpuzzle or an online game, article etc. Other items link to a slide within the slideshow and students complete a response of some sort or create something (poster, infographic, pixel art, etc.)

This is a sample of the menus from a couple of my hyperlinked slides look like:

8. Writing with pictures: My students love to use images and then create stories that go along with each image. Some of them will create comic style stories and others will write non-fiction pieces and include images. You can do the same thing in Google Docs but the formatting often goes wonky when you add images and it isn't as easy to resize images and move them to the exact location that a student wants. My students always have the choice to use Docs or Slides for their writing and they almost always choose to use Slides.

9. Ted Ed Talks - If you do Ted Ed talks with your students, Google slides is a great tool for them to use during their talk. 

10. Bell Work - For math bell work I use Google forms simply because of the self-grading aspect but for ELA bell work I prefer using google slides. I like to assign a short reading passage that students read repeatedly throughout the week and answer various comprehension questions. I also have them do some sentence editing each day since I have found this is an area they need a lot of practice in. This is a sample of the ELA morning work I use:

11. Book talks - This year I had my students create book talks in Google Slides that they shared with the class. It worked out really well because it gave students a reference point for them to talk about so they didn't have to have their presentation totally memorized. They created approximately 10 slides with a maximum of one sentence on each slide but I encouraged them to limit it to only a couple of words. Then they would expand on each slide during their presentation.

12. Idea collection space - At the beginning of the year I had my students create a slide deck that was just for their ideas. It could be used for any subject but most often my students would use it for brainstorming for science or social studies projects.

13. Organizing Writing - When I begin teaching my students about various forms of writing I show them mentor texts, we co-create anchor charts, and I provide them with templates to help organize their ideas. We spent a lot of time working on narrative writing because that was what my students were most interested in but they really didn't understand how to put together a good story. The templates really helped them with the planning process. These are a few of the pages that I use in my narrative writing organizer:

14.  Collaborative Writing - After my students have finished a good independent piece I will let them work with a partner on collaborative writing. This is so easy to do using Google tools like Slides because they can be across the room from each other but still working in the same project. I find they are more productive using Slides for collaborative writing than if they were working out of the same notebook. They also don't need to talk to each other and disturb their classmates, they can just use the comments feature built in to Slides when they want to discuss the direction of their story.

15. Unit planning - I like to use Google Slides for unit planning because I can easily add images (sometimes I will add images from science experiments or of my students doing a particular activity the year before), insert youtube videos, tables etc. I like that I can easily make notes about what worked and what didn't work from year to year.

16. Sharing a writing prompt - I like to do a mix of picture prompts and word or sentence prompts. I prepare a month's worth of prompts and then I share the whole slide deck with my students. They can work through them one at a time. If you don't want to share an entire month's worth of prompts with your students you could just use one slide and share that. I find that doing it this way creates a lot of files though and I often like to look through one week at a time. 

Do you use Google Slides in a unique way with your students? Let me know in the comments below!

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