Language Arts

Note Taking

We tell our students to take notes so they can use them later for a reference. The traditional method of taking notes is using good old-fashioned paper. But, now that your students have Chromebooks, there are other options. There are many to try so here are just a few.

  • Google Keep-- Do you want to be able to create, share, and collaborate with others? Google Keep allows you to color code and label notes for better organization. Record a voice memo, and Google Keep will transcribe it for you. Maybe you would rather create a drawing which you can also save as a note. You can add reminders so you never miss something on your "to-do" list. If you need to find a note, just perform a simple search. If you need to grab some information from a website or save a website to a note, just use the Google Keep Chrome extension. If you need or want more information, click here. Remember you have access to Google Keep through your G Suite account.
  • Note Anywhere-- Are you looking to create notes on a specific web page? This extension will let you do just that. You can put the notes in any position on the page and when you open the page again, the notes get loaded automatically. You can also customize the note background color and text size. Note Anywhere keeps a note summary that you can access by right-clicking on the extension in the toolbar. Find the extension here.
  • Quick Note-- You can quickly add and edit a note. This is designed for lightweight note-taking. Right-click on a web page, choose "New Note", and start taking notes. You can easily access and search your notes as well as sync them so you have easy access anywhere you need them. (You will need a Diigo account if you plan on syncing your notes.) Try it out here.

Tween Tribune

Are looking for a way to have your students collaborate and learn about current events? You may want to try Tween Tribune, a free online educational resource offered by the Smithsonian for students and teachers. You will find non-fiction articles that are Common Core aligned as well as Lexile levels so you can choose the article that fits your students' reading level. Another great feature is that the site can be translated to Spanish as well as other languages. Tween Tribune has a great teacher section that includes lesson plans, teacher news articles and a Monday Morning Lesson (register and you will receive a ready-to-go lesson for Monday morning by Friday of the previous week).

As a teacher, you create an account and add your students. From there, you can choose to assign students articles to read, comment on, and assess with a quiz. You have the control! Here is just an example of how you could use it in your classroom. Assign students an article to read. Have them comment by giving their opinion that cites evidence from the article. Once you have approved the comments, assign students to read at least two comments from other students (you can assign students or have them choose). Have them make a meaningful reply that provides constructive feedback.

To further the collaboration aspect, you can also "Go Public" (with permission by Tween Tribune). This way you can connect with other students around the world while still remaining in control.

Voice Typing

Did you know that you can use voice typing in a Google Doc? Maybe you have students that have difficulty writing or oral communication is their strong suit. Voice typing might be a good choice because the student can focus on the content and not the actual act of writing. As a teacher you probably can find many more reasons to use voice typing!

Make sure the microphone on the computer is enabled, and you are using Google Chrome for your browser. Open a Google Doc, go to Tools, Voice Typing. A microphone window will pop up. Before you begin, you can choose the language by using the drop-down arrow on the microphone. When you are ready, click on the microphone and begin speaking. As you dictate information, make sure you also dictate the punctuation as well. When you are finished, click on the microphone to stop recording. It's that easy! Give it a try!