Using Google Classroom to Survive E-Learning Days

Using Google Classroom to Survive E-Learning Days

While having your students physically present offers the best means to gauge their comprehension of a subject and identify the necessity for tailored instruction, circumstances may arise where this isn’t feasible. Increasingly, students equipped with laptops and various devices are transforming traditional “free” snow days into E-Learning days. This shift aims to prevent extending the school year by leveraging technology for remote learning when in-person classes are impractical.

man clearing snow with a snowblower in a blizzard

Periodic closures of schools due to natural disasters have been evident in various regions. For instance, in Nebraska, schools grappled with flooding issues both, in the spring and fall, resulting in chaotic interruptions to regular schedules. Additionally, student absences can range from short-term illnesses to prolonged health issues, leading to extended periods away from the classroom.

Furthermore, homeschooling communities often utilize e-learning within their cooperative groups or classes. The diverse array of reasons preventing direct in-person interaction with students underscores the significance of technology. It enables educators to virtually engage with their students during such challenging times, bridging the physical gap through digital platforms.

In my role as a curriculum writer, I prioritize flexibility by integrating numerous choices and options into my educational materials. Having been a teacher myself, I understand the constant influx of various challenges and unforeseen circumstances that a standard textbook isn’t equipped to handle. My educational philosophy revolves around the idea that a student ideally engages with the material using all their senses, transforming learning into solid knowledge. Therefore, all my resources feature a hands-on component—printable and tactile—encouraging collaborative engagement between students and teachers.

Recognizing the limitations of this ideal scenario, I’ve supplemented almost all my products with a Google Drive format, providing educators with alternative options. The Google Drive version encompasses the same content areas but allows for a paperless approach, utilizing Google Drive tools like Slides and Forms.

My portfolio predominantly includes a blend of printable and Google format materials, ranging from novel studies, social studies, to financial literacy resources. Additionally, I offer ELA and Math centers that are interactive on Google Drive while still being available in printable formats. Each download includes complete printable content and instructions on accessing and integrating the Google format files into your Google Drive, facilitating ease of use for educators.


After clicking on the provided link, your file will be visible in your Google Drive account under the name “Copy of File Name.” You can conveniently modify this title to your preference by clicking on the name box. Subsequently, you can assign these files to your students through Google Classroom.

How to use Novel Studies in an E-Learning Format?

In utilizing novel studies, your students will require a copy of the novel to accompany either the printable or Google Drive format provided. With the book in hand, they can seamlessly navigate through the study, engaging with comprehension questions, vocabulary activities, and extended writing tasks on Google Slides, mirroring the functionality available in the printable version. Teachers can track their progress through Google Classroom and I recommend conducting check-ins with small groups via platforms like Google Talk (or Google Hangouts/Google Chat) or Zoom. These sessions allow for discussions about the material read, ensuring comprehension and encouraging deeper exploration of the novel. It’s akin to the class discussions held in person, bridging the gap using technology.

All my novel studies feature assessments that can be completed through Google Forms. The multiple-choice assessments for comprehension and vocabulary are self-grading, significantly reducing grading time for teachers. However, the writing assessments, being more open-ended, cannot be self-graded. Typically consisting of one to two questions per assessment, these tasks can be submitted via Google Classroom for review and grading by the teacher.

How to use Social Studies and Financial Literacy Activities in an E-Learning Format?

My social studies and financial literacy resources are structured similarly to the novel studies in Google format, but they don’t require any specific books or textbooks. These materials feature Webquest links that offer learning content and include slideshow presentations in all social studies resources to facilitate students’ understanding and completion of activities.

Just like with the novel studies, Google Slides serve as the platform for both the presentations and activity completion. Additionally, in certain financial literacy activities such as the Escape Room exercises, Google Forms are integrated to delve deeper into the content alongside the use of Google Slides.

How to use ELA and Math Centers in an E-Learning Format?

The interactive ELA and Math Centers are designed to be completed using Google Slides. Students engage with the components to practice various skills, and teachers can oversee their progress through Google Classroom.

What can I do if my student doesn’t have access to equipment or the internet?

Many of us assume ready access to computers, laptops, and internet connectivity at home, yet some students lack this accessibility. In public schools, it’s our responsibility to ensure equity among our students. If your school lacks one-to-one capability or if a student doesn’t have home internet access, all my materials are provided in printable formats within the same product download. These activities are identical, just presented on paper rather than on a computer. You can distribute these packets to students for home use. To stay connected, consider communicating via phone calls, Facetime, or Skype for those with access via a parent’s cell phone. The content remains the same, only the format differs.

Technology offers various avenues to engage with students. While I advocate for a multisensory approach to learning—incorporating reading, writing, manipulation, and discussion—I recognize that there are instances where this isn’t feasible. In such cases, I hope my materials offer diverse options for utilization during e-learning scenarios.

Explore these free samples offered in my store, featuring both printable and Google Drive™ formats. They provide an opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with the functionalities of these resources.

Sample from my Wonder Novel Study
Sample Social Studies Activity

In this post titled “Tips for Using Google Drive in Your Classroom,” you’ll discover helpful suggestions on customizing Google Drive products to suit your specific requirements more effortlessly.


The Answer to Lack of Social Studies Instruction More Tests?

The Answer to Lack of Social Studies Instruction More Tests?

I came across an article in the Omaha World-Herald titled “Teachers ‘Say Social Studies Suffers‘,” and it really stirred up some strong emotions in me.

While reading, I found myself in complete agreement regarding the sidelining of Social Studies due to the emphasis on extensive state testing. I wholeheartedly share the concern about the serious implications this trend holds for the future generation of Americans and their understanding of citizenship.

However, my perspective shifted when I encountered this specific paragraph: “Several board members acknowledged the pushback against social studies, encompassing history and geography, being overshadowed in classrooms. Yet, they suggested that the only way to prioritize it like math and reading would be through implementing a state social studies test.”

Is the solution really to burden students and teachers with more state testing? Seriously?

The pressure from state and standardized tests is already overwhelming, leading to a loss of genuine teaching and creativity!

Acts like the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Every Child Succeeds Act of 2015, with their excessive focus on testing, have drained schools of authentic learning. Teachers are overly fixated on meeting these test benchmarks, neglecting the opportunity to truly teach and encourage students’ minds, imagination, and creativity.

Most states have implemented the Common Core Standards or similar ones, introducing additional layers of paperwork and hurdles for teachers to navigate. Across various blogs and forums, I constantly encounter posts from frustrated teachers who simply want to get back to teaching. They’ve had enough of the testing and standards meant to “fix” the system!

Moreover, amidst increasing budget cuts, schools struggle to afford extensive testing. It’s a substantial expense for school districts (which means it’s coming out of taxpayers’ pockets!)! Wouldn’t investing that money in more teachers and smaller class sizes be a wiser choice?

These educational decision-makers are just as tangled up as Congress. It’s a disheartening reality, especially considering that it’s the future generations of Americans who will bear the consequences. As an educator, that deeply troubles me, but as a parent, it makes me furious! I’m fed up with these self-proclaimed “experts” hindering my children’s educational opportunities. How many of them have actually spent a full school year in front of a classroom, working directly with children? It’s outrageous!

The most successful teaching years I’ve had were under a principal who believed that as college-educated certified teachers, we were equipped to teach. Unless he identified an issue, he trusted us to do our job the way we deemed best. He understood that we knew these kids better than any administrator or board member and trusted that we would strive to push these kids to their fullest potential. During those years, my students flourished the most and achieved remarkable progress.

In my experience, the more the board or administration intervenes, the less successful children tend to be! Teachers are highly trained professionals. We hold college degrees, often advanced ones. We continuously undergo development courses throughout our careers and are present in the classroom every single day, closely interacting with students—second only to their parents. We’re educated and qualified. Let us fulfill our roles and teach! Saving taxpayers’ money and rescuing the American education system involves scrapping all this unnecessary and excessive testing!

The Teaching Bank’s Most Frequently Asked Questions-FAQ

The Teaching Bank’s Most Frequently Asked Questions-FAQ

Here are a few of the most frequent questions that I am asked from buyers, and potential buyers, about my resources. Hopefully, you will find these answers helpful.

If you cannot find the answer to your question. Please email me directly.Email The Teaching Bank

The Teaching Bank PDF FAQs5 The Teaching Bank PDF FAQs6


If you still have questions, please email me directly.Email The Teaching Bank

The Overuse and Negative Impact of Standardized Testing

The Overuse and Negative Impact of Standardized Testing

In the world of education, standardized tests have become the be-all and end-all. The purpose of these tests is to measure students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in various subjects. However, the overuse of standardized testing is causing more harm than good and oftentimes, doesn’t measure what we are looking for.

The negative impact of the overuse of standardized testing and the need for a change in the current education system.
  • Impact on Student Well-Being: One of the most significant negative impacts of standardized testing is the pressure it places on students. The pressure to perform well on these tests can lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression. This stress can take a toll on students’ mental and emotional health, affecting their overall well-being. Moreover, students may feel that their worth is solely determined by their test scores, leading to a lack of confidence and a negative self-image. This stress can be felt on the teacher side as well, with the burden of the outcome on their shoulders, when they have very little impact on the overall results.
  • Narrowing of the Curriculum: The overreliance on standardized testing can lead to a narrowing of the curriculum. Teachers may feel pressure to focus their lessons solely on what will be covered on the tests (teaching to the test), rather than allowing for a broad and comprehensive education. This narrow focus on test preparation can limit students’ exposure to a wide range of subjects and learning experiences, leading to a lack of creativity and critical thinking skills.
  • Inaccurate Representation of Student Ability: Standardized tests are meant to measure student knowledge, but they often fall short of accurately representing a student’s abilities. These tests are limited in scope and do not take into account factors such as cultural background, learning styles, and life experiences. Some kids have test anxiety and are just not good “test-takers”. As a result, many students may score poorly on standardized tests but have a wealth of knowledge and skills in other areas.
  • Lack of Diversity in Education: The overuse of standardized testing can also lead to a lack of diversity in education. Tests are often designed to measure a narrow range of knowledge and skills, failing to recognize and accommodate diverse learning styles and cultural backgrounds. This can lead to a one-size-fits-all approach to education, leaving many students feeling disengaged and uninspired.

The overuse of standardized testing is having a negative impact on education. It is time for a change in the current system, focusing on a more well-rounded and comprehensive approach to education. This change should include a reduction in the reliance on standardized tests and an emphasis on creativity, critical thinking, and a diversity of learning experiences. Our students are failing, our schools are failing, and standardized tests are just not the answer.

Multiple Choice Questioning: Pros and Cons for Effective Assessment

Multiple Choice Questioning: Pros and Cons for Effective Assessment

Multiple-choice questioning is a popular form of assessment that has been widely used in educational settings for decades. While multiple-choice questions are easy to grade and score, they also have cons, making them suitable for some types of assessments and not for others.

Pros of Multiple Choice Questioning:

  • Ease of Grading: One of the biggest advantages of multiple-choice questions is that they are easy to grade and score. Since the options are pre-determined, the answer can be quickly checked against the correct response. This is especially useful in large classrooms where a teacher may not have enough time to grade each answer individually.
  • Objectivity: Multiple choice questions are considered to be more objective than other types of questions. This is because the answer is pre-determined, reducing the potential for subjective grading.
  • Versatility: Multiple choice questions can be used to assess a wide range of topics, making them suitable for many different types of assessments. Whether it is a science test or a history exam, multiple-choice questions can be tailored to suit the subject matter.
  • Time-Saving: Multiple choice questions can be completed relatively quickly, making them ideal for time-sensitive assessments. This is particularly useful for exams where time constraints are a factor.

Cons of Multiple Choice Questioning:

  • Limited Assessment Capabilities: Multiple-choice questions are limited in their ability to assess a student’s understanding of a subject. Since the answer is pre-determined, students are not able to elaborate on their thoughts or provide a more in-depth explanation of their knowledge.
  • Potential for Guesswork: Multiple-choice questions can encourage guesswork, especially when students are unsure of the answer. This can result in inaccurate results and a misleading representation of the student’s understanding of the material.
  • One-Dimensional: Multiple-choice questions are one-dimensional, meaning that they only assess one aspect of a student’s understanding of the material. This can result in a limited understanding of the student’s overall grasp of the subject.
  • Memorization vs. Understanding: Multiple-choice questions can also encourage memorization rather than true understanding of the material. This is because students may be able to correctly answer a question without truly understanding the concepts behind it.

I have a strong feeling about multiple-choice, more of a hate/love relationship. I feel it can encourage too much guessing and doesn’t give enough valid data on what a student has truly learned. I saw this in my classroom, usually with the students who struggle the most.

Students who were secure in their knowledge of the subject area will do fine, no matter the questioning format. I see this so much with my own son’s struggles in school. When given a multiple-choice test, more often than not, he’ll just make a guess, sometimes not even bothering to read the questions! In creating work for him, I always avoid using multiple choice, except in limited situations. When given a short answer question, he is much more apt to look for the answer using context or work the problem out for himself. If the option to guess is there, he’ll always choose it, and he’ll keep guessing until he’s eliminated the three wrong answers. Yes, he’ll eventually get the correct answer, but does that show he knew the content or was just successful at guessing?

I know multiple choice can be a huge time saver for the teacher. It is much quicker and easier to correct papers with multiple choice rather than written answers, but is it the right choice? What is our ultimate objective? To know the student understood and learned what we were teaching, right? How can we be sure that the objective was met with multiple-choice? Was the answer from retained knowledge or a lucky guess?

There are some cases (when done correctly) where I think M/C is fine. In a math problem for instance:

The problem on the left is wrong because the most common mistake a student will make in this instance is the misuse of PEDMA. The student will work the problem from left to right and end up with 6 for the answer. If this is one of the answer options, they will choose it and move on, not having any idea that they made a mistake. If they worked the problem in this manner, and 6 was not an option, they would know a mistake was made and go back to check their work. Of course, the guesser, who doesn’t even work out the problem, could guess in either case, but usually, a student will stop to take a closer look. I am not an advocate for tricking students. and in this example, that is exactly what is happening. It’s much less discouraging to a child to rework to find a correct answer than to get a test back that they failed due to being tricked!

One of the primary resources I offer is novel studies.  In my novel studies, there are only two places where you will find multiple-choice options. First, the vocabulary quiz, where the sentence including the targeted word is given, along with four choices for students to choose the definition. Again, there are the guessers who will guess anything, but most students will be able to decipher the correct definition of the word used in context after the successful completion of the novel study activities.

The other multiple-choice option I offer is parts of a comprehension quiz. I try to balance multiple-choice and short-answer questions to best gauge students’ understanding of the novel and to address higher-order thinking questioning for rigor.

I only use short-answer questions in the daily comprehension portion of the novel study itself. I feel very strongly that while reading the book, the student should be thinking deeply about what they’re reading. Using multiple-choice for comprehension during the reading of the novel encourages the student to skim the text for the answer. It also means most of your questioning will be recall level, the lowest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I use novel studies to get away from the more superficial reading that students encounter with basal series activities. My goal in using novel studies is to get my student engaged in a novel, to think deeply about the character’s motives, make inferences, point of view, plot, foreshadowing, etc. I don’t believe this can be accomplished by using multiple-choice questions. I feel this adds rigor and integrity to my novel studies. I know there are some buyers who are disappointed in this stance, and I know that some buy from my competitors looking for something quick and easy, but it’s a core value that I feel very strongly about.

Multiple-choice questioning can be an effective method of assessment when used correctly and in the proper context. However, this style of questioning should not be relied upon as the sole method of assessment due to its limitations. To achieve a well-rounded understanding of a student’s knowledge and abilities, a combination of different types of questioning should be used, including open-ended questions and essay-style assessments.

Another reason I stay away from multiple-choice testing is it is far too similar to standardized testing, which I am not a fan! Mainly for all the reasons stated above. I want my students to be deep thinkers, not guessers. Of course, the whole topic of standardized testing is a post for another day! 😉

Adults Find Standardized Tests a Challenge!

Adults Find Standardized Tests a Challenge!

I stumbled upon a fascinating article that I believe is worth a read for everyone, not solely educators, but perhaps even more so for those outside the education field!


When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids.



It would be interesting to mandate that all school board members, administrators, and especially politicians achieve a passing score on any test they intend to impose on students. Such a requirement might lead to a significant decrease in standardized testing and foster a genuine comprehension of what “teaching to the test” truly entails!