Friday, July 2, 2021

Lessons from COVID, Part 4: Slide It!

In this series I have been discussing "lessons" from this difficult year: things that helped me get through but also will influence my work going forward back into "normal." One of these is the use of simple visual tools such as Google Slides. I had found Slides useful pre-pandemic as a way to lay out lesson and discussion visuals, but it became more so diving into telepractice. This "lesson" actually has some component parts, so I will letter those!

a. Keep a deck for each session or group: doing so helped with organization, review, and contextual flow. As I supervised graduate students throughout the pandemic, this also allowed for easy digital collaboration through Sharing.

b. Slide 1 is a good place for the agenda, which I always frame with the Social Thinking® concept of The Group Plan.

c) Like this overlaid Shapes>Callouts of thought balloons, Shapes are always your friend in Slides. Add any shape and it can be made colorful via the paint can, and is automatically typable (easier than text boxes) by double clicking in the shape. 

d) Shapes can also be made interactive like I did here applying a great visual about problem solving from Kristin Wiens at

I used the shapes to put a desequenced example (from January 2021) and Remote Control in Zoom to have the students in the group put it in order. You can see that we also linked it to Story Grammar Marker® and Zones of Regulation.

e. As in the agenda above, I'll say it again, no need to type everything out in advance. Often that can be visually overwhelming anyway. I often find a title or frame sets the topic and kids are quite happy to attend and comment as you type!

f. Images are easily insertable on the go in Slides, much like the venerable Pic Collage. Insert>Image>Search the web to work on vocabulary, add a quick visual support or engaging image. Let your students decide (with help) what images go best with the language!

Speaking of images, any slide can be quickly screenshot and shared with parents or others who should know what went on in your lessons.

g. Shapes (again) make great discussion webs or make language visible to foster conversations. Anna Vagin's Conversation Paths slides really saved my life and are modifiable for many contexts. In this case my students asked my graduate student a couple questions to get to know her and the path visuals provided schema, in this case a mnemonic I made up about "people files" (FILE).

h. Lastly, each deck provided me an organizational frame for a group. I'd open a window in Chrome for the group, open the group's Slides, and then use tabs for any resources (e.g. an interactive website) I might be planning to use in the session.

I am looking forward to in-person groups being much less digital, but I am sure Slides will remain an important visual tool for me going forward!

I'll be taking a few weeks off- see you back here in late July!


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