I've been pretty adamant about having my students collaborate on activities since I began teaching thirteen years ago. In my opinion, collaboration is the single most important of the 21st century skills, but it is also one of the most difficult to effectively teach. Google CS First has created a number of lesson plans that provide everything a teacher can use, from beginning to end. I have been using Hyperdocs all year, but the lessons Google is providing are beyond anything I've done.
I chose the "If/Then Adventure Story" to really focus on the learning goal of collaboration. Students work together to create a "choose your own adventure" style story, the kind I LOVED as a kid. I assigned students their partners, whereas they have been choosing their own all year. There were a few grunts and groans, but nothing too serious. Google provides a succession of videos, tasks, and reflection surveys that students use to complete the assignment. I showed the first video and sent my class on their way. I am truly a facilitator with this activity. Students who do not normally even talk to each other are working beautifully together creating original stories and using collaboration techniques such as consensus and voting to complete their adventures.
One problem I've always had with group projects is the equity of work distribution. Inevitably, there are always a few students who do not carry their weight. The beauty of this project is that while the flow of the story is collaborative, and each group starts together to brainstorm and determine plot, setting, and characters, the completion of the project is individual. After the title slide and the introduction of the story are complete, the kids can work independently, but in proximity to each other. They could also work in total collaboration, from beginning to end, but I wanted to try it this way for the first time.
Take a look at some of the stories; some of them are A LOT of fun!
I intend this blog to be a reflection journal of sorts, on topics such as teaching, leadership, pedagogy, and tacos.