Sorting Activities in School Counseling Using Google Slides

Last week I talked about {using Google Forms as a digital tool for check-in/check-out} with students and why I love using these for easy data collection. Next up in this series on using Google Apps in School Counseling is creating sorting activities with Google Slides. I use sorting activities all the time in whole class guidance lessons, small group counseling and of course with individuals as well, so going digital is a great way to organize all of my activities, quit the paper abuse, and save my poor hand from cutting out endless task cards or sorting items!
Whether you’re sorting appropriate/inappropriate behaviors, kind/unkind words, desired friendship qualities, or something else, Google Slides makes it easy to move past the mounds of paper and skip the line at the copier. In Google Slides, you can use simple shapes or clipart to create card decks or sorting items, lock everything down to prevent extraneous movements, and get to sorting!
In this {“Think it or say it?” activity, }students sort statements based on whether they should keep them in their minds or say them. The statements are on gum balls, and students simply tap and drag the gum ball to the gum ball machine if it’s a statement they should keep in their minds or drag it to the bubble if it’s okay to say.
To make these activities, I like to create a “background image” so that the only thing on the slide that moves is the gum ball. I do this for a couple of reasons, but mostly I don’t want students to be able to drag any of the other clip art. If the gum ball machine or child weren’t locked into the background, I know for sure that students would be telling me that they accidentally moved them and I’d spend more time resetting slides that engaging in meaningful discussion.
To lock my background images, I first make my images in a Google Slides presentation. I can then export my slides as images. Then, I open a new Google Slides presentation and insert these images as the backgrounds to the new slides. Then, all I have to do is add my gum balls on top of these images, and students are able to move only the gum balls during the activity. Here are some screenshots of this process:
Saving your background image as a .png


Open a new presentation. Click Slide, and then Change Background.


Choose your background image


Drag and drop your picture


Your image is now the background of the slide, and the gum ball machine, head, and text cannot be moved. No accidental extraneous movements! Yay!
To add text to my gum balls, I just add a text box on top and then group the text box and the gum ball together so that they move together when the students drag them.
Add a text box on top of the gum ball


Select the gum ball and the text box


Click Arrange and then Group


Your gum ball and text box will now move together! Yay!
This is just a really simple example of the way I set up my slides, and you can create sorting activities for just about anything! You don’t even need fancy clip art if you don’t want to purchase and use it; you can create lots of simple shapes in Google Slides to create card decks, sorting landing spots, and text boxes. I just quickly drew these shapes directly in Google Slides:
These types of sorting activities make for engaging lessons you can use again and again without waiting in line at the copier or spending hours cutting out tiny gum ball circles. Once you have your activity in Google Slides, you’re all set to use it on iPads, ChromeBooks, SmartBoards, computers, or any device that has access to the internet!
If you want to give this activity a try, {check it out in my TpT store!} I have several other Google Slides sorting activities for {Red Ribbon Week,} {safe vs. unsafe secrets to keep,} {meet the counselor,} and more, and I’d LOVE to save you some time! {Come visit me to see them!}
Next week, I’ll be talking about using Google Slides and Google Forms for feeling identification activities in school counseling. If you want this delivered straight to your inbox, {sign up for my free newsletter here!}
Use Google Slides to create sorting activities for school counseling on every topic! Skip the line at the copy machine with these technology activities


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