We use them as well in my 5th grade class. We use the GAFE daily. Just a snippet of what we have done:
- Collaborative slide projects where each student has one slide on a shared Google Slide (like PowerPoint)
- Collaborative stories on Docs where the students in the group all work on the same shared doc to create one story.
- Interactive Explorer research on Thinglink.com (this site is immensely cool)
- Created class character trait word clouds using Google forms and ABCya.com (for the word cloud)
- Have an ongoing Digital Yearbook of the students' work and thoughts for each month of the school year that will serve as a portfolio for their 5th grade year.
- Use Prodigy.com and Zearn.org for math (which the students LOVE LOVE LOVE)
- Students have "individually paced" assignments, where I can assign several students to watch a video on their own or explore a website on their own, while I am working with other students on something else.
- Padlet.com (I find so many uses for this but basically it is a real-time message board....great for note taking or sharing thoughts. I have used this whole class and in small groups)
- Todaysmeet.com (another great one for engaging kids in discussions...good for when you don't have a class set of chrome books too!)
Once you really get into them, doing a little research on your own on how you would like to use the Apps (like Docs or Slides) in your classroom, you will find that your teaching will be transformed. Even having a small set can create a blended learning environment in your room (definitely look up blended learning.)
Google has a training course
for educators as well that I highly recommend.