The purpose of this project was to explore differentiation and collaboration in a dual immersion classroom. I learned that collaboration doesn’t just happen. Students need careful explicit direct instruction on how to collaborate.
Although collaboration is a natural social skill, students need to be taught how to listen to others, help others, provide input, give and take critical feedback, and most importantly to learn and accomplish the task. Tasks can be accomplished through assigning roles to each collaborating member, guidelines or expectations need to be provided by the teacher.
Differentiation happens when the teacher carefully selects the groups and provides scaffolds during the assigned task or while teaching the lesson. It also happens everyday whether the teacher plans it or not. Most teachers differentiate without even knowing it. For example, doing literacy circles (usually leveled groups) teachers present the lesson in different modalities such as a video, a picture or a hands on activity. These are all forms of differentiation.
The best part about this capstone process was seeing how technology can be embedded into content and pedagogy (TPACK). It’s the perfect fit to teach 21st century skills and to implement differentiation in the classroom. I can’t lie, it takes time to plan and prepare but the end result is rewarding. I hope some of my ideas inspire you to explore how to teach the 4C’s (Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication, Creativity) to prepare students for 21st century skills.
Please click on the following to see collaboration lesson plans:
Collaboration and Creativity Lesson plan.
Collaboration Pre and Post Test
My Research Project and findings on Collaboration & Differentiation
Enhancing Differentiated Instruction Through Technology
Short video about the T-PACK Model SAMR Model Teacher Taxonomy for lesson design