Placemat Activity with Google Docs OR Slides

Using 'Placemat' in a Socially-Distanced Classroom using Google Docs, Slides

  • The Placemat Activity strategy provides an opportunity for each student in a group to record individual responses and ideas regarding an issue, topic or question for consideration. The strategy can be used to brainstorm ideas, record researched information or analyse documents or other stimuli.

  • Using a shared Google Doc or Slides, students / small groups can work on a virtual Placemat in real time.

Key Skills

  • Managing information and thinking

  • Managing myself

  • Communicating

  • Being literate

  • Being creative

  • Working with others

Required Resources

In the Classroom setting

  • Google Account

  • Teacher PC / Laptop

  • Projector

  • Students: Mobile phones, tablets or chrome book.

Online Teaching & Learning

  • Student Google Account

  • Teacher PC / Laptop

  • GoogleMeet (where blended learning is required)

  • Students: Mobile phones, tablets or chrome book.

The Technology: Google Docs & Slides

  • Using a shared Google Doc or Slides, students / small groups can work on a virtual Placemat in real time.

  • Three students take on roles of timekeeper, facilitator, and recorder.

  • The timekeeper sets 3 mins (or a suitable length of time) on a timer and alerts the group when the time for individual work is up.

  • The facilitator leads a discussion on what was written by each individual and helps the group come to a consensus. The recorder types the agreed group response in the centre of the placemat.

  • Extension: Combine with a ranking ladder activity where multiple answers are recorded in the centre but they are ranked. The facilitator could determine priority with a simple show of hands.

Instructional Videos: How to use Google Docs for flipped / blended lessons

Classroom Approaches / Strategies

  • Using a shared Google Doc or Slides, students / small groups can work on a virtual Placemat in real time.

  • Three students take on roles of timekeeper, facilitator, and recorder.

  • The timekeeper sets 3 mins (or a suitable length of time) on a timer and alerts the group when the time for individual work is up.

  • The facilitator leads a discussion on what was written by each individual and helps the group come to a consensus. The recorder types the agreed group response in the centre of the placemat.

  • Extension: Combine with a ranking ladder activity where multiple answers are recorded in the centre but they are ranked. The facilitator could determine priority with a simple show of hands.

Assessment

This strategy:

  • facilitates effective discussions that elicit evidence of learning

  • requires a consensus which is achieved by peer and teacher feedback

  • activates students as learning resources for one another

Junior Cycle for Teachers Resource Video

Points to Note

  • Students working together in groups can generate lots of ideas.

  • Ensure all students get an equal opportunity to share.

  • Brainstorming could be used as a stimulus for creative or functional writing, vocabulary development on a topic in languages or for relevance of a scientific discovery in our lives etc.

Inclusion of all Learners

  • Allocation of roles to meet strengths/support needs

  • Can highlight prior knowledge/area of interest within a topic

  • Develops opportunity to be multi-lingual Quick to model Can be completed in small groups, pairs or individually

  • Peer support and tutoring

  • Great visual aid to support highlight democratic classroom Individual sections springboard into enquiry based activity

  • Accessible – words, pictures, and audio

  • Placemat can be used to support Teaching, Learning and Assessment in all subjects as well as the Level 1 Learning Programmes (L1LPs) and the Level 2 Learning Programmes (L2LPs)

Examples