Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Differentiation and Group Work in Google Classroom

Since the launch of Google Classroom, educators have been asking for a way to assign group work and ways to differentiate their instruction.  I even came up with complex directions for students with group work which was time consuming and tedious.  Many educators create multiple Google Classrooms to address the issue.  I saw one student's account had 12 different topics for their 5th grade class last year!  Google has heard us and answered us!  You can now assign work to an entire class, a group of students or even just one student! You can even post a question or an announcement to an entire class, a group of students or even just one student too!  


With this is new update, I am able to accomplish the following:
  • Assign group work
  • Accommodate assignment needs of students with IEPs, 504 and English Language Learners in a discreet delivery which is key for my middle school students
  • Adjust length of assignments for students based on need
  • Assign reinforcement lessons/videos to students struggling with a specific concept
  • Assign an extension activity to students who grasp concepts quickly and need an extra challenge
  • Assign questions or assignments based on a "book club" model with students reading various books in class in small groups
  • Vary math assignments based on concepts
  • Assign composers to specific students for a group research/presentation project in a music class
I could go on and on with listing the possibilities.  These are just a few that popped into my head.  The one item you may want to think about is document organization.  If you create variations on the same assignment, I suggest you come up with a system that clearly, yet discreetly identifies the assignment.  I prefer Alice Keeler's tip on numbering assignments (#001, #002, etc.).  You could take that one step further with #001, #001.1, #001.2 or #001a, #001b, #001c, for example.  This would keep all of the work together in your Google Drive and in numerical order.  I find Alice's numbering system helpful for myself and when speaking with students about work.  It is much easier to reference a number over a long title.

For more information, check out Google Classroom's Help page.