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Hey, Google...Welcome to 1st Grade

“Hey Google, What’s the temperature outside?”
“Hey Google, How do you spell poisonous?”
“Hey Google, Please set a timer for five minutes.”

Those are just three of the questions or commands that we gave to our Google Home this past week in my 1st grade classroom.

We’ve had a great time welcoming a new tech friend into our classroom - our Google Home. Having a Google Home in my classroom is like having an extra assistant. And a 1st grade classroom can use all of the assistance it can get!

What is a Google Home? It’s a virtual intelligent assistant developed by Google. It has a smart speaker and search engine assistant, which allows us to speak voice commands to it. Once it is set up and connected to Wifi, all we have to do is say, “Hey Google, ….” and we get assistance. I certainly keep control over “when” and “how” it is used, and my 1st graders have followed the guidelines I set up for using it just beautifully.

My students are always wanting to ask our Google Home questions, so I decided to have them write a journal entry. I asked them, “If you could ask our Google Home anything, what would you ask her?” Their responses were fantastic! One of my students wanted to know how many miles it was to Florida because her grandparents were there. Another wanted to know if snakes hibernate in the winter in Michigan. Another wanted to know the average temperature in Grand Rapids in December. Yet another wanted to know the length of the Mackinac Bridge.

These are the top five ways we use Google Home in my classroom:

  1. Finding out the weather -- The kids are curious about the temperature outdoors. When the weather is a little warmer, they like to know if they need to wear a coat or not. When we were studying Air and Weather in science, we asked her the temperature at various times during the day. We wondered and discussed why the temperature increased during the day and was cooler at night. Our Google Home helped us with our charting of the temperature for an entire month.

  2. Listening to music -- We can ask Google Home to play instrumental music during quiet working time or indoor recess. I haven’t used her for a dance party reward, but I am considering it!

  3. Spelling words -- Just the other day we were brainstorming together everything we know about snakes. I was writing down so many things that my brain froze when I tried to spell poisonous. Our Google Home was at the ready with help.

  4. Setting timers and reminders -- My 1st graders are going longer with sustained silent reading time. They love setting a timer for this. They love that their sustained reading time is increasing. So do I! We also sometimes set a timer for a one-minute clean up, and I’m convinced they clean up more when we set the timer.

  5. General information questions -- Questions arise everyday in my classroom. We are beginning a new unit on Patriotism. I am sure they will be asking our Google Home about the presidents of the United States, the fifty states, and various landmarks. I am always eager to hear what they are wondering about!

Not only does our Google Home help us with those things, but there are other bonuses, too! My students have learned speaking skills. They need to formulate their questions and speak clearly. They also know that they need to take turns speaking. They realized that if they all speak at once, our Google Home will not answer. They learned that If they interrupt someone speaking, our Google Home will not help them.

I have been thrilled with adding this new technology to my classroom. We, certainly, have had many questions answered. It has been a welcome addition!

"Hey Google, we are glad you are in our room!”
“Hey 1st grade parents, what would you ask our Google Home?”

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