Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Scaffold-Blasting" - Differentiate on the Fly in Google Classroom

Being able to differentiate assignments in Google Classroom is an oft-requested feature. We know that differentiation done well is one path to creating an equitable learning environment for all of our students.

Currently, there are work-arounds such as attaching multiple versions of a google doc and directing students on which assignment to choose or using a google sheet add-on such as Doctopus to manage the differentiation. But like most work-arounds, those choices come with an added layer of complexity for the teacher and/or the student.

How about a solution that's quick, easy, and most importantly, instantly responsive to the student's needs in the moment?

Erich Ball, Social Studies teacher at Aurora Hills Middle School, came up with a method he has termed "Scaffold-Blasting."

Here's how he described the process to me:

Say you are working on the gradual release of your students - asking them to do more of the thinking instead of giving them a full outline to follow when approaching a writing assignment. Erich creates a document that does just that and then assigns it in google classroom. Then, when he sees the few students that are struggling to get started, Erich goes into that student's google doc from google classroom and pastes additional help right into their document - maybe more structure, maybe a couple of questions to get the student thinking, whatever would give that student a bit of support.

Brilliant in its simplicity and uber-responsive to his student's needs, Scaffold-Blasting gives all students equitable access to the content and learning AND ensures rigor for all. Great classroom transformations being made possible by 21st century technologies. Love it!

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