Getting Started with Google Jamboard

I see the irony that my last post was about understanding your WHY in the classroom prior to determining your WHAT, and today I am starting another series on specific tech tools. However, with the school year beginning soon in many parts of the US, I know getting information about these tools will be helpful to many music teachers. With distancing recommendations, I believe technology will play a large role in any teaching situation, remote or in person. Regardless, I will do my best to provide a why first and then explain the what and the how.

Why: I want my students to feel they are a valued part of our musical community, whether they are participating in the classroom or at home. I want my students to feel their voice matters.

Getting Started With Google Jamboard

What is Jamboard?

Jamboard is one of the newer and lesser-known G Suite tools, but it’s one that I love and am excited to use this school year! Jamboard is a collaborative whiteboard that be accessed by an app or web browser. The simplicity of the tool makes it great for education. Jamboard is a great way to have all students in your class share their voices.

A Jam can have up to 20 pages and 50 collaborators. On each page, users can add sticky-notes with text, insert images, and draw with a pen. The app has additional features. Through the Jamboard app you can insert content from your Google Drive, access your camera, and use various stickers. There are even assistive drawing tools for text, shapes, and objects!

Jamboard’s assistive drawing tools

Jamboard is a great tool for allowing a group of people to each share their thoughts and ideas. You could have several students collaborating and contributing to each page in a Jam, or you assign students their own pages to work on. It depends on the purpose of the activity.

How You Can Use Jamboard in Music Classes

Getting to Know You

Each student gets one page in the Jam and can use a combination of text and images to introduce themselves to the class. When they are finished, students should read through the other pages to learn about their classmates. Remember, if you have over 20 students, you’ll need to create more than one Jamboard! In a large ensemble, creating one Jamboard per section could be a good option. Then provide viewable links to everyone so sections can learn about one another.

Bell Ringer

As class is starting students can respond to a question or prompt using Jamboard. Maybe you have a recording or video playing and ask students to add a sticky-note and write 2-3 sentences about what they heard. Or you have students answer a question related to something they learned during the last class, as a means of formative assessment. Bell ringers are great for getting students engaged in the beginning of class.

Exit Ticket

Similar to bell ringers, exit tickets gather quick information from students, this time at the end of class. You can find out what students retained from the lesson and get their thoughts on how well they understand the content covered. After an ensemble rehearsal you might ask students to list which piece or specific measures they are still struggling with. It’s ok for exit tickets (and bell ringers) to be anonymous. You will often get more honest responses from students when this is the case.


One of my favorite Jamboard uses is for student reflection, specifically using “Roses, Thorns, and Buds.” This Jamboard contains three pages. The first one is for roses, where students add a sticky note discussing a success, small win, or something positive that happened during class or rehearsal. The next page is for thorns, where students add a sticky note to identify a challenge they experienced, or something they need help with. On the last page, students describe a bud. A new idea that has blossomed, or something they look forward to learning more about.

Roses, Thorns, and Buds
Roses, Thorns, and Buds

Tips for Creating and Sharing with Jamboard

When creating a new Jamboard, start from Google Drive. Click “new” and then scroll down to Google Jamboard. All Jamboards will be saved in your Drive. Once you have everything created, you will need to share it with students. Using the “Share” button, you can get a link to give students. Be sure you select the option so everyone with the link can edit, if you want students to contribute to the Jamboard.

The first time you use Jamboard with students, it’s a good idea to let them experiment with the tool first. They will be naturally curious and appreciate the opportunity to explore on their own. Then when you use it as an assignment, be explicit with the instructions so students know exactly what you expect.

Interested in trying out Jamboard? Get a copy of the “Roses, Thorns, and Buds” activity below! You can use it as is, or customize it to meet the needs of your class. Enjoy!

Looking for other great tech tools to use in the music room? Check out these posts:

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