A Year of Classroom Lessons and Experiences

Cool, Creative, and Connecting Activities You Can Do With Your K-5 Students


Below are some ideas, templates, videos, and examples that I've done with my elementary school class. Feel free to look around, copy any templates or examples that you'd like, and please reach out to me if you have any questions!

Donnie Piercey5th Grade Teacherdonald.piercey@gmail.com@mrpiercey2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year

Rube Goldberg Machine

  • Start the year with this project

  • Students have two weeks to plan, build, and film it in action (using their Chromebook cameras)

  • Plan using Google Drawings (or a sheet of paper)

  • answer questions before, during, and after the project.

  • Videos attached onto Google Classroom assignment

Rube Goldberg Machine Assignment

Student Example

Example 2.mp4


Earth Book Reports:

  • Instead of a diorama, have students create visual book reports through Google Earth

  • Search for the locations/settings in their stories where the events may have taken place.

  • Have the students add summaries, questions, descriptions, quotes, etc.

  • Here's an example from Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

FlipGrid Book Reviews:

I have my students review books that they're reading once a month using FlipGrid. If you're interested in having your students do the same, you can just copy and paste the text on the right.

Pick a chapter book that you've read this school year, and record a 1 to 3 minute book review. In your book review, include the following:

Pick a chapter book that you've read this school year, and record a 1 to 3 minute book review. In your book review, include the following:

1. The title and author of the book

2. A brief summary of the problem the characters in the book are trying to solve. Don't give away the ending, though!

3. Share something about the book that you liked or disliked. This could be a character, a setting, a scene, a quote, or something else. Explain your thinking.

4. Would you recommend this book to a classmate? Why or why not?

5. Give it a rating from 1 star to 5 stars.

Shared Class Poetry Reading

A few times a year, I have my students record different segments on a poem on a Flip. After they finished recording, I put the poem in order for them on the Flip. They can then watch and listen to their poem from start to finish.

On the link below are some graphic organizers, templates, and slideshows that I use in my writing class. They're designed to be used as attachments on Google Classroom assignments. Each graphic organizer is a slideshow with blank spaces for students to plan out writing pieces. There's also Google Doc writing templates to get your students started. Feel free to grab a copy of whatever you'd like.

If you're brand new to Google Classroom, check out the video on the right to see how to create assignments.

Earth Narratives:

The Big Game

Classroom Management

Class Economy

Option One: This spreadsheet

  • Pass out and "Make a Copy for Each Student" in Google Classroom

Another Option: Mykidsbank.org

Classroom Store (on a Google Form)

    • Google Forms to select what they want... like a "Classroom Amazon"

    • Click here to copy a template to your Google Drive

    • Notifications sent to “tellers” and not me. Automate everything!

    • Tellers email classmates, set-up times, take out amounts, automation!

Classroom Monopoly

    • Students choose whether to mortgage or rent their seat at the start of the school year; can change whenever they want, but need to "pay off" their mortgage first.

    • Pay monthly until mortgage is paid off. I just use a Google Form and take the money out of their bank accounts.

    • Once they purchase their seats, they then have the option to purchase their classmates seats.

Rent or Mortgage

3d Design (on Chromebooks)

CoSpaces Edu:

When I ask my students to prototype anything, I ask them to do it using "CoSpaces Edu" first. This way, it can be shared and viewed by my easily. On the right is a copy a student Rube Goldberg Machine prototype.

The best part? These student prototypes can be viewed AND designed on a phone in Virtual OR Augmented Reality.

Easily Create and Share Anecdotal Notes for parents


  • Create a folder and put inside of it a Google Doc for each student in your classroom.

  • Create a Google Form and run the "DocAppender" Add-On (there's a tutorial video below)

  • Anytime you fill out the form, the student Google Doc is automagically added on to.

  • Share the doc with whoever needs access (curriculum coach, principal, parent, student, etc)

Google Slides for Storytelling

Google Slides can be used as ways for your students to creativity tell stories! There's a video on the right that walks you through how to do it. Down below are some other examples that I created for my students this year.

Let's Make a Google Slides Animation

Headset Virtual Reality:

The Next Big Classroom Thing

Virtual Reality has come a long way since the days of Google Cardboard. It is now an immersive experience that will change how, why, and where students learn.

I'm using an Oculus Quest 2 (which is less than the cost of a Chromebook). It does NOT need a separate computer to run.

Teaching Math in Virtual Reality:

  • Stream the VR headset live to your classroom projector, students can experience live.

  • Set up the problems in advance, put the headset on students, let them solve each of them.

Project Idea: A Virtual Art Museum

Create a Virtual Art Gallery

Step One:

Share this Google Photos album of famous works of art with your class. This will give them some background knowledge (and also make it where you won't get 39 copies of "The Starry Night" once the project is completed

Step Two:

Challenge each student in your class to pick one and recreate it in any way that they choose. Just let them know that they have to be able to email a picture of it. Or, iff your school is back in person, you could take the picture for them.

Step Three:

Using CoSpaces Edu, combine all of these famous "works of art" into a virtual OR augmented reality museum that can be shared with anyone. CoSpaces can actually be used collaboratively, so you could have your students upload their own image onto a wall from their own device. Click here to view my class example.

Snack Time Podcast

During snack each day, I have my students listen to a podcast called "Six Minutes"

Think of it like "LOST", but for middle grades students.

Great podcast for discussing theme, foreshadowing, character development, etc.

Be warned: it's addicting!

A Six Minutes Choice Board
Six Minutes Student Listening Sheet

How do you discuss digital citizenship with your students?

Be Internet Awesome:

Looking for a simple, fun way to teach your students how to be safe online? Check out Be Internet Awesome!


Minecraft: Education Edition

The Education Edition of Minecraft works on Chromebooks now. You do NOT have to be an expert in Minecraft to use this with your class. There are hundreds of pre-made worlds and experiences that you can assign to your students to complete and answer questions on. There's even a "Share to Google Classroom" button!

Example Project: Working together in groups, I had my fifth graders design what their ideal middle school would look like. Feel free to download and explore some of their schools below.

Minecraft Middle Schools

Primary Sources:

  • Find primary sources with the Google Newspaper Archive

  • 100,000+ articles from all around the world

  • Great way to have your students explore current events

  • news.google.com/newspapers

Drones and Math

To help learn about ordered pairs, we planned the path of our drones using DJ Tello Drones and the "DroneBlocks" app.

Graphing Polygons (Drone)