This year I’ve been using Google Docs for reading group meeting notes with my more advanced language learners. It started out of necessity (I had limited white board space and needed a place for visual support) and soon became an integral tool for conducting the business of small group literacy work.
I created a doc for each small group then shared it with group members, giving them full editing rights. Each doc is organized by date with a Table of Contents for quick access. Each date includes the lesson objective, a space for listing new vocabulary and any other messages, as well as links or supports relevant to that day’s work. When reading chapter books, we also co-create a running list of characters and a resource section with links to the author’s website, related video clips, supporting articles, etc. Students participate in group work with iPads open to our shared doc. All are invited and encouraged to add to it throughout the reading and discussion time.
I recently expanded use of the documents during writing times. I have a couple of reluctant writers who tend to get stuck when faced with spelling challenges. So we created a space for spelling words on the doc too. During those workshop times, we write with the doc open. If someone needs a word spelled they announce it, then any student (or teacher) quickly adds it to the list. It steadies the flow of draft writing for those students frustrated by the need to always spell words correctly. They can also reference the list other times throughout the day as needed.