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Using Google Classroom to Survive E-Learning Days

Using Google Classroom to Survive E-Learning Days

Having your students there in front of you is obviously the ideal way to monitor their understanding of a topic, to see the need for differentiating the instruction, etc. There are days, however, where this just might not be possible. With more and more students having access to laptops and other devices the “free” snow-days of the past are being turned into E-Learning days more frequently in order to avoid adding days to the end of the school year.

man clearing snow with a snowblower in a blizzard

Natural disasters are causing schools to close for short periods of time, for example, here in Nebraska many schools had to deal with flooding issues last spring and again in the fall which got a bit chaotic with school closings. Sometimes, it’s just the individual student missing out due to a short illness, to a student with an extended illness that prevents them from being in the classroom for a long period of time.

Another example is, homeschoolers might be using e-learning in their co-op groups/classes. There are many different reasons that we might not be able to be in front of our students in a literal way, but thanks to technology we can be in front of them in a virtual way during times of need.

As a curriculum writer, I try and incorporate as many choices and options as possible in my products. I know when I was teaching so many different things would come up and a simple textbook is just not designed to handle the changes and issues that come at you every day. My philosophy holds that ideally, a student will have that book in hand and be using as many of their senses to fully move that information from learning to knowledge. All of my products have the hands-on component that is printable and tangible that the student and teacher can work with together.

I also am a practical person and know that this ideal is not always possible so I have also added to almost all of my products a Google Drive format so the teacher has options. The Google Drive format covers all the same areas but can be done in a paperless environment using Google Drive (Slides and Forms).

The majority of my printable & Google format products are a mix of novel studies, social studies, and financial literacy materials. I also have a few ELA and Math centers that are interactive for Google Drive in addition to printable. In every download, you will find the full printable content as well as a page like this that contains links to add the Google format files to your Google Drive along with directions on how to do it.

Once you click that link your file will now appear in your Google Drive account. It is named “Copy of File Name”. You can easily change that to whatever you want it to be simply by clicking into the name box. From there you can assign the files to your students using Google Classroom.

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

For novel studies, your students will still need a copy of the novel to accompany the printable or Google Drive format of the novel study. With that copy, they can move through the novel study answering the comprehension questions, vocabulary activities, and extended writing activities all in the Google Slides, just as they can with the printable version. The teacher can monitor their progress in Google Classroom and I would suggest check-ins with small groups of students using platforms such as Google Talk (also known as Google Hangouts or Google Chat) or Zoom, to touch base with your students with a discussion of what they’ve read to make sure they are understanding the content and help them dig deeper in their understanding of the novel. This would be the same thing you would do with class discussions in the classroom, just using technology to cover the distance between you.

All of my novel studies contain assessments that can be completed in Google Forms. All of the multiple-choice comprehension and vocabulary assessments are self-grading which saves you a ton of time! The writing assessments can’t be in a self-grading format since they are not multiple choice in nature, but there are generally only one to two questions per assessment and can be turned in via Google Classroom for you to read and grade.

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

My social studies and financial literacy formats are very similar to the novel studies in Google format, however, there is no book or textbook needed to complete them. I include Webquest links for learning content and include slideshow presentations in all of my social studies materials to help the student gain the knowledge to complete the activities.

Again, Google Slides is used for the slideshows and for the completion of activities. Google Forms is incorporated in some of the financial literacy activities in the Escape Room activities to explore the content in addition to the Google Slides.

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

All of the interactive ELA and Math Centers are completed in Google Slides. Students will manipulate the components to practice the skills. This can be monitored by the teacher in Google Classroom.

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

Most of us take for granted that we have access to computers/laptops and internet access at home. We know that there are some students where it is simply not accessible to them. In public schools, we have the obligation to provide equity for our students. If your school doesn’t have 1:1 capability or you have a student who does not have access at home again, all of my materials are also provided in a printable format within the same product download. All these activities are the same, just on paper instead of the computer. You can send these packets home with your students. To touch base you could try phone calls with those students or maybe something like Facetime or Skype if they have access to that via a parent cell phone. Again, the same content, just a different format.

Technology has given us so many options on how to work with our students. I am not an advocate for screentime for all learning as I feel very strongly that using all of our senses through reading, writing, manipulating, and discussing is the optimal way to learn, but there are times when this is not possible and I hope that my materials can help provide you with different options to utilize at various times when e-learning is called for.


Take a look at these free samples available in my store that contain both a printable and Google Drive™ format to help you get a feel for how it all works.

Sample from my Wonder Novel Study
Oregon Trail Sample Social Studies Activity
Text to English Grammar Activity Sample

You can find some tips in this post, Tips for Using Google Drive in Your Classroom, about how to more easily customize Google Drive products to better fit your individual needs.

Introduce Novels with Jigsaw Jones

Introduce Novels with Jigsaw Jones

James Preller’s, Jigsaw Jones series is a great introduction to chapter books for the younger grades. The books have friendship, humor, relatable topics, and contain non-scary mystery and suspense to keep the reader wanting more. They are great books to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Jigsaw Jones and the Case of the Stolen Baseball Cards is a great introduction to chapter books and the Jigsaw Jones’ series. It takes the reader on many twists and turns to the discovery of the surprising thief.

From the Book Jacket:

Yeesh! Eddie brought his baseball cards to school and now they are missing. It’s time for Jigsaw to step up to the plate. He’s no rookie detective! Solving this case is sure to send Jigsaw and Mila straight to the Detectives’ Hall of Fame.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Jigsaw Jones and the Case of the Stolen Baseball Cards for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

baseball and bat laying in grass

The Jigsaw Jones series has over 30 books to choose from. The Case of the Stolen Baseball Cards is a great hook to get your kids started down the road of addiction to chapter book reading.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Take the Pain Out of Learning Cursive with Muggie Maggie

Take the Pain Out of Learning Cursive with Muggie Maggie

Third grade often brings about the rite of passage of learning cursive writing. Beverly Cleary’s novel Muggie Maggie explores the anxieties this causes Maggie. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies, especially with the introduction of cursive.

In our modern world there is a debate whether we even need to be teaching cursive anymore. There are some common sense arguments for not wasting the classroom time while on the other side some solid research that points to the educational value on the brain development in learning cursive.

Muggie Maggie doesn’t really touch on the controversy, instead it focuses on the individual and how learning something so strange and new can be exciting or it may be anxiety inducing, as is the case for Maggie.

From the Book Jacket:

At first, Maggie is just feeling plain stubborn when she declares she won’t learn cursive. What’s wrong with print, anyway? And she can easily type on a computer, so why would she need to know how to read those squiggly lines? But soon all her classmates are buzzing about Maggie’s refusal to learn, especially after her teacher, Mrs. Leeper, says Maggie’s cursive is so sloppy that her name looks like “Muggie.”

With “Muggie Maggie” ringing in her ears, Maggie absolutely, positively won’t back down…until she’s appointed class mail messenger. All the letters that Mrs. Leeper sends to the office are in cursive, and Maggie thinks they are written about her. But there’s only way to know for sure…so what’s Maggie going to do?

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Muggie Maggie for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

girl in classroom looking thoughtfully at ceiling

If you are embarking on cursive instruction with your class or just your own child at home, Muggie Maggie is an enjoyable story that is so relevant and relatable for your students during this new time in their lives.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Add Some Magic to Your Reading with Dinosaurs Before Dark

Add Some Magic to Your Reading with Dinosaurs Before Dark

The Magic Treehouse series is one of the best selling chapter book series of all time for a reason. The books are a great entry into the chapter book genre and there is a book for nearly every topic of interest. Dinosaurs Before Dark is the first book in the series and introduces the reader to the Magic Treehouse and the adventure that it can bring to the lives of Jack and Annie. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

I created this novel study for my own son to use during the summer months after second grade. The goal was to launch him into the chapter book world with this book as the hook.

From the Book Jacket:

Where did the tree house come from?

Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Dinosaurs Before Dark for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Your students will be drawn into the nail-biting adventure with Jack and Annie. This is a great introduction to chapter books and novel studies and with the full series of 32 books that range in topics from space, the Titanic, war, and even Shakespearean times, your students will be launched onto a path of independent reading as they move from one book to the next hungry for more!



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.