Today I assigned an article for my 5th graders to read from Newsela. They were to read and annotate the text,using the comment feature, in Google Docs (the original assignment was given in Google Classroom). I allowed them to work in groups in order to discuss and collaborate – we’ll talk about that in a minute.
In the middle of the assignment, I hear an electronic voice say ‘Ecuador’ in the back of the classroom. I asked my students who was doing that, and what were they doing. A group of three girls raise their hands. They explained that they didn’t know how to say a word so they wanted to hear it. Upon further questioning, they explained they went into Google Translate, typed the word, and pressed the speaker button. They simply ‘translated’ it into English. Yup, English to English! Brilliant!
As these three girls continued working together, I listened in on their discussion. After reading the article, they had a few questions to answer. One of the girls tried to assign each one a question to answer – with the intent of copying the answers from each other. Now, they know this is NOT collaboration. As I continued to listen, one of the girls pointed out that that wasn’t right, and they all needed to do the questions together. And that’s exactly what they did, answered the questions together! Smart kiddos!