Paperless Products

Google Docs has the same applications as [[#|Microsoft Office]] with only some of the bells and whistles which means it can be slightly more aggravating to use, but it's completely free and students can access it anywhere they have a computer with an internet connection. Teach them how to share the documents with you and you can check their progress, edit, and grade from anywhere you have a computer with an internet connection. It's great for moving from classroom to computer lab and possibly to home.

Creating a wiki is free and easy on this site. Kids can add their own pages or collaborate with others when working on a project, and have access to the discussion board to talk online about their work. The drawbacks are that you can't monitor emails between students, so it might be better just to tell them they're not allowed to use it. If they use the discussion board, everyone can see what is said. Wikis aren't usually graphically pleasing and while you can make them slightly attractive, they're meant to be information sites, not flashy web pages. Also while you will have control over who posts to the wiki, anyone in the world can read it so the rules for internet safety must be followed. You can find those rules posted on this wiki site. Feel free to use them for your own work. lets students create concept maps of all sorts and allows them to save and share their work with you and fellow students. It's a fun brainstorming tool. You can export the concept maps to an assigned folder on the computer or you can create a pdf [[#|file]] using Cute Writer that can pretty much go anywhere you need it to go. After you've opened your own free account, students can find you and add you to their friend list and you can see and edit student work. Group projects are possible because students can share their work with other students who have an account. The creator of the map has the option to let his collaborators view only or edit the work. You can export files to a computer or convert them to a pdf using cute writer. The drawback is that it can be slow.

Cute Writer is a free software [[#|application]] that lets you create pdf files for free. It gives a professional look to most documents.

Click on zipped set-up to download.

PowerPoint Presentations
These are a great way for kids to show knowledge of subject matter. It involvies writing, graphic, and visual spatial skills and the child can end up with a professional looking product after they've worked with PowerPoint for a time. One this wiki there is a link on the left called Creating a PowerPoint Presentation. There are instructions for varying skill levels of PowerPoint creation, but be warned, most kids won't be able to figure it out alone unless the child is already computer saavy. You can load the ppps onto a wiki page so kids can view their work and the work of their classmates at any internet connected computer. If you want a sample of what you'll get the first time out, check 3rd Grade PowerPoint Presentations. If you'd like to raise the level of difficulty, increase your students' abilities to plan, and have a paper product, you can have the kid create a storyboard to plan the presentation.

Kids who are working on their own still need guidance and their own personal learning map so they don't lose their way. When students are doing an Independent Study, I have them fill out learning contracts. These can be printed out or copied and pasted into Google Docs and saved.