Our blogger is Therese Dristas. Therese teaches 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts at Wilbur Wright Middle School, School Town of Munster.
TodaysMeet.com is traditionally used as a back channel for webinars, videos, and lectures. Today’s Meet has enabled me to manage students working in small groups on differentiated projects. It is easy to setup and to use. Students join a room that the teacher creates in advance. For a poetry project, I created a room for each group. Their digital discussions can be printed as a transcript and reviewed for misconceptions within a particular group. It can also be used to formatively assess the group members for the level of understanding of the topic. Re-teaching needs that might not have been caught by surveying the classroom or checking in with groups are easily identified.
Accountability through the transcript and assessment piece encourages participation from even those students who refrain from contributing, no matter the size of the group. The room can be set to be open for an hour or a year. Some student groups working on the poetry project checked in with each other during study hall and then again from home. It therefore extends their time to collaborate and enables them to continue working outside of school.
This approach to group work resulted in all students on task. They were focused on what their classmates were writing and in creating meaningful responses to each other. I was able to monitor all the groups in a class of 35 students, assess individual students, and reteach one group that struggled with one of the tasks.
Plan on giving students a time when they can acquaint themselves with the program in advance of any serious collaboration. Know that they are going to play and have fun with their introductions. Students enjoyed using TodaysMeet as part of their group projects and have asked to use it again.
TodaysMeet.com is free, but there is an available upgrade that costs while providing additional features.