At the beginning of the school year, it’s natural to create activities so teachers get to know their students. Some teachers might ask students to describe their summer or a recent trip they have been on. Other activities might include asking students to write down a list of things they hope to accomplish in the coming year.
I love this time of year because it gives me the opportunity to not only assess my student’s goals, hopes for the new year, and their personalities, but also it allows me to have a first glance at their digital learning skills to see what they know and what they might not have been taught in previous years.
One of the first projects that I ask my students to do is one that I call “What Makes You Awesome?” In this project, students are asked to take a Google Doc (or Word Doc) and write down a bulleted checklist of 10 things that they feel make them “awesome.” This is a great way to start the year off on a high note and bring in valuable Social and Emotional (SEL) conversations to your classroom.
Not only does this help me learn a bit about their digital learning skills, but it also helps me to start the process of having them express how they view themselves.
Lesson Learning Objectives:
This project can be thought of as a single, standalone lesson, however as we will discover later in this blog post, it can also be the beginning of a series of projects to help students be able to be open and expressive about themselves and their perceptions of their world.
In this project, students will learn:
- How to use Paragraph Headings to create a project title on your Google Doc
- Create Bullet Points and Check Marks from a list you created
- Insert a Google Doc onto a Google Site
- Add text to a Google Site in the form of a project reflection
The lesson starts out with the teacher asking students, as a discussion, about their summer, perhaps about their background, or about something they are excited about. From there the question becomes “Why are you awesome?” and every student gets the opportunity to share one thing about themselves.
Using Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams, a document is then distributed to the students.
Step 1: Create a Title
Students will add the title “Why am I Awesome” to the top of the page and using paragraph headers change the text to Title.
Step 2: Why Are You Awesome?
Students will write down 10 reasons why they are awesome! This is a great way to start working with students on their sentence structure, as well as supporting their imagination. (Many students might not know what to write or might not be able to come up with 10 things.)
Step 3: Text Formatting
Students will highlight their list and create bullet points. Once created, students will double click on the bullet points and change the points to another character such as a checkbox or a list.
Step 4: Turn in the Assignment
Once students have created their list of 10 items and they are checked by the teacher, students will click on the “Turn In” button in either Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams.
Digital Learning Skills
This lesson assesses a variety of digital learning skills and is a great first lesson to start the school year off.
- Bullet Points
- Changing Bullet Points into Checkmarks (or other characters)
- Capitalization and Punctuation
- Bold / Italics
- Header & Paragraph Styles
Follow Up Activities
As mentioned above, this is a great “first lesson” of the new school year and is a great way to assess where students are with their digital learning skills.
From here a teacher can create a slightly different assignment to help students learn about using Paragraph Styles and Headers.
Another variation of this lesson is to ask students to describe themselves as Superhero or to share their Superpowers. The lesson would be the same, but they would be able to share with you some of the ways that they are crime fighters or helpers in their community.
Let's Work Together
Are you interested in creating dynamic lessons this year to support digital learning skills? Would you be interested in having me work with you or your team of teachers? Please reach out and let me know how I can best support you this year.