Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Collaborative Writing – Fifth Graders and Google Docs

I cannot tell you how excited my 5th graders were to write today. Each of our students in grade 5, for the first time, now has their own Google Apps account and today we dove straight in to collaborating on a personal narrative piece they had previously written in Microsoft Word. The process was as follows: Upload, share, advise, revise.


After logging in, the students first uploaded their document into Google Docs, named it, and read over it to make sure that everything looked good.


The students then added their collaboration partner by giving them the ability to view and comment on their document. 

At this point, they also added their teacher.


Each student then went back to their Google Docs account and found a new document from their friend waiting for them. After opening it, they were then able to read through and make comments.


The best part of the day was seeing how enthusiastic the kids were to go back in to fix and improve their writing. After the students made changes to their original piece, they asked if they could add more editors to their document who could review and make comments on their piece. Here’s a short, raw video of part of the process. My favorite part is at 1:25 when a student enthusiastically yells out to the class, “Everybody, everybody, get on mine!”

That’s exciting writing!


2 responses to “Collaborative Writing – Fifth Graders and Google Docs

  1. Nicole Guidry October 7, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Very interested in student gmail accounts- has your school or district gone to Google Apps and thats how your students got their email addy’s or is there another way to feel good about students having their own gmail accounts-

    • Keith Ferrell October 7, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Hi Nicole,
      As of now, our students just have GApps and the email feature is turned off. However, we are soon going to be rolling out gmail for 2 of our 5th grade classes for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a skill we feel is necessary to hone; and 2 because there are so many great Web 2.0 sites that require email to join, We will pilot gmail with the 2 classes and if it goes well, will roll it out to the rest of grade 5 later this year. We have great parent partnership, so that is helpful.
      Thanks for the comment!

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