10 Activities with Google Slides

New technologies are changing the way students learn. These days, those old PowerPoints that we've spent so much time on aren't cutting it.

Not to worry. Put your slides to work in new ways. Better yet, have your students do it. Here's some ideas on how to use Google Slides beyond the traditional use.

1. Digital Storytelling 

Take full advantage of the digital medium. Consider embedding the finished product in a website or LMS to provide a flipped learning opportunity for any level. Use clickable images and embed YouTube to bring the story alive in ways that print media cannot. Some teachers use a green screen to enhance the digital storytelling production. Kids love the possibilities.

2. Make a Book

Play around with the print settings and page set up to make a print book. You could also make an eBook with live links by printing to PDF. The example below shows the image and text turned left 90 degrees because the print options are set to include two slides on a portrait orientation.

3. Collaborative notes

Although making notes as a class works well using tables in Docs, sometimes collaborative notes with Slides makes it easier to present (see #9) or turn into a tutorial (see #10).

4. Photo Essay

Visual analysis is a creative and critical literacy. My students love finding images that tell the story of what they learned. I have them add captions and make sure to include a beginning, middle, and end. This is also a good opportunity to practice citing sources.

5. Slideshow on Sites

If you use Google Sites, you can use a gadget to turn a slide presentation into an automatic slideshow without the Slides border.
  1. Make a presentation in slides with a 4:3 aspect ratio. 
  2. Publish the slides to the web and copy the link. 
  3. Insert the gadget (see image below), and follow the directions on Sites.
  4. Make adjustments on Slides and to the gadget for desired look.
6. Study card decks

Whether your students like print cards or digital, making them with Slides provides both options. As with using Slides for collaborative notes, making flash cards can organize content for making any of the items on this list.

7. Placards for Gallery Activities

This activity is all about print options. Students or teachers can make slides for presenting or print them to use as placards for a note-taking or inquiry activity with more movement. I usually post them in the hallway, which works great if other teachers in your PLC want to join.

8. Thank you card templates

The print options allow for a variety of size and orientations to make single-fold thank you cards. I call these templates because they should be finished off with a handwritten message to make it more personal. Printed cards are great for acknowledging achievement.

9. Share Out Group Work

After students get comfortable using Slides collaboratively, like in #3, they can present their completed work to the class. Our class works from a common Google Drive folder to make access an transitions quick and easy.

10. Make a Tutorial 

This activity takes a little bit of practice, but it goes to show the power of doing work with Slides. Download individual slides in png format, and upload the png files to a slideshow in YouTube (second image). If you haven't played around creating in YouTube, this is a great way to start.