Creating Interactive Charts with Google Docs


Each year I've been working to go a bit more paperless in my classroom. Most recently, I've started building interactive charts for our word study (we use Jen Bengel's Interactive Spelling Curriculum and we LOVE it). Initially, I was keeping our words on large chart paper each week, but it was hard for all of my fourth graders to see the charts when they were building them in their spelling notebooks.

Luckily, it is very easy to make clean, eye-catching charts in Google Docs. These charts can then be projected for the whole class to see (we are fortunate to have a classroom TV for this purpose...more to come on this soon).

 Would you like to try? Please see the steps below...

 Create a new Google Doc and name it:

Go to File, and Page Setup:

Set all of your margins to zero (this will allow you to fill the whole page):
To create two charts, side by side, insert a table with three columns and two rows:

Adjust your table so the left and right-most columns are close in size...with a skinny column in the middle:
Select the middle column first (both rows):

Set the borders to white:

This will clear out the middle column, leaving you two tables to work with, side by side:

Now click in the top, left-most cell to change the background color: 

Click on a color of choice and it will fill this cell:

Select this entire first column:

Now change the border color to match the background you just chose:

You can also make it a thicker border (I used 1.5 pt):

Now you will have one table all ready to go:

Repeat these steps with a different color for your second table:

Now select the entire first row:

Choose the font type, size, and color you would like for your chart headings:
This next part is a neat little trick to help you fit many words into your chart! Click inside the first white cell (in the second row). Insert a new table:

This creates a table within your table:

Select this entire new table:

Change all the borders to white, so they will not be visible:

The table is there for you to type right in, but won't be seen in your chart:

This makes an effective use of space and lines the words up nicely for your students to see:

To do the same for your next chart, copy the entire cell:

And paste it into your second chart:
Now, when you are working on these interactive charts with your class, you can type a word, click tab, and jump easily from cell to cell!
Once you have these initial charts set up, you can copy and paste them into new docs and adjust the colors for different lessons/units. 

Thanks so much for reading...I hope this was of help if you are looking to go more digital with your charts!

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