Monday, November 21, 2016

Mystery Cards Template

The Best Ideas...

The best ideas come when you least expect it. Awhile back I was visiting with Mrs. Antos and her 3rd grade class from Pleasant Lake Elementary, she wanted her students to work in Google Slides to create Mystery Cards in relation to the plot of the story. It was the first time students had experienced Google Slides; it took them roughly 30-45 minutes to build the template without any clues created. All things considered, they were able to accomplish much in a short period of time!

The idea behind Mystery Cards is that they give three clues to an important event in the text. The next card had the answer to the clues as well as a short explanation. The fun part of doing it in Google Slides vs. on note cards like her original activity suggested is the vast number of images available that students can access. It also makes for a great presentation for students to share in front of the class to introduce a book. What a great way to build and exciting reading culture and learn a bit about the student's understanding of a text! If time does not lend itself to students giving a presentation, these slides could easily be stored on a Class Google Site. Imagine the wealth of information if you had a collection of these about various texts/topics organized on a Google Site. If a student is stuck as a reader, send them to your class collection and let them see if they can find a text that peaks their interest.

An After Thought...

After visiting Mrs. Antos, it got me thinking much about building these templates for students or even having one of your students that needs a little extra challenge to get the job done. Yes, her students needed to have some exposure to Google Slides, but if time does not permit one could easily build the template for the students in advance so that the students can focus more on the text and less on the technology. 

If you would like a copy of my mystery cards template, feel free to make yourself a copy in my slides presentation here: 


Editing the Master

I've written quite a bit over the last year on the topic of 'hyperdocs' because teachers can organize learning experiences all within the products that Google offers. (In contrast to using a learning management system that is not transferable and could disappear at any moment.) Teachers can easily lay out learning experiences that are for solo work or collaborative via Google Docs. They can accomplish the same experience via Google Slides. They can even be made 'indestructible' by using Google Drawings in conjunction with Google Slides. But if the teacher wants to make the template quickly, editing the master in Google Slides in the way to go. It allows the teacher to create elements that the students can and cannot manipulate within the slide. It is also easier to wrap your mind around in comparison to building it first in Google Drawings and setting it as a background in Google Slides. 

As of late, I've been training teachers quite a bit with the workshops I've been running for MSD of Steuben. It is a great way to distribute e-learning/virtual learning materials on the Chromebook in case there are students that have limited Internet access at home. This would ensure that learning materials are easily accessible offline without an abundance of extra steps as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides can all be synced to the device for offline use. I've also been training teachers to edit the master in my Google Make and Take workshop. Here, teachers are creating graphic organizers and other learning resources that they have ready to import into any learning experience at any time all via Google Slides and Google Classroom. 

If you want to get a feel for how to create one of these templates, I created one for the Mystery Cards template that I made that is linked above. Now you can have an idea of how to build and create your very own templates all through Google Slides!