Posts Tagged ‘colloboration’

Co-planning makes Teachers Great

I’m always trying to be a better teacher. Always reworking my plans, reading new teaching material, and questioning what students really need to learn about.

As a newish mom, I was in a teaching slump. I was still trying my best and teaching well but knew there was better out there.

I decided to reach out to other teachers to help me teach better and I’m so lucky to have connected with 3 amazing teachers in 3 different subjects.

Luckily this year, a teacher who I knew at teacher’s college came to work at my school and teach the same grade as mine. We decided immediately to team up and plan a spiral math curriculum together.

Also my school is in it’s year to get a lot of new technology for its students. Luckily for us, that comes with training from our board’s technology coaches. They presented at our staff meeting and that sparked an idea. Why not ask one of the coaches to help me plan the way I want to. I’ve met with Louise several times now to plan Science units and luckily for me she is helping me plan using Overarching Inquiry.

I’m also working with another teacher and we are joining our classes together to work on a ‘Dream Journal’ with our students. The ‘Dream Journal’ is working on creating the life we want through reflecting, goals and learning from experts.

Co-planning is great for so many reasons.

1) Keeps you accountable

Teaching is a demanding, busy and draining job. We all have days where we want to take it easy and relax. By co-planning with a colleague you have to keep on track to keep up with the other teacher and class. Of course, if you are meeting your students where they are you are going to differ slightly but you’ll for the most part keep up the same pace.

2) Helps you problem solve

Don’t worry alone. You aren’t solving any problems all by yourself.

When you are co-planning you, of course, try your best to plan for all your students but nevertheless something comes up to throw you for a loop. If you’re planning together, you are going to check in on each other and ask each other questions about how that lesson worked or didn’t work. As a team, you can easily problem solve together and even reflect on how the unit went and makes notes for the next time you teach it.

3) Makes you happier

When planning with a colleague, you feel a sense of teamwork. We, as teachers sometimes feel really alone in our classrooms because it is just us with dozens of kids. We need to plan with other teachers so that we can feel supported. When we feel supported, we feel better and we do better.

4) Less stress

If you are making time each week to plan together, you are planning in advance. You know exactly what to do next and you can easily plan for that day or week. This makes you stress less as you know where you are headed, you know you have help, you know the big picture idea of what you are trying to cover so you know what you’re trying to accomplish and can easily adapt.

5) More willing to try new things

If you have a strong support system you feel more comfortable to take risks and try new things. This year for science my class and I learned about and tried out microbits. It was a new idea that I’ve never considered before and my students loved using them! And I loved learning with them too.

Creating Class Blog with Student Voice

This year my goal is to have student voice and choice be the most important thing in my classroom. We started this by creating our class name. We brainstormed for longer than I had expected, a week and a half. I was waiting for a name so I could create a classroom blog and twitter account. We came up with some great names: Tech Titans, World Skypers, The Skypers Crew. We ended up voting and the winner was Tech Titans.

You can check out our blog (a work in progress) here, and follow us on twitter @techtitans4. We are still working on a logo for our twitter page so check on that later.

I decided instead of me going ahead and creating a blog, I would leave it blank and get students to see some examples of what class blogs can look like.

I created a Google Doc with classroom blogs that I find inspiring and shared it with my students.

Blogs to Check out:

Grade 1: http://.edublogs.org/

Grade 1/ 2: http://www.mslimscassidysclassrenmansroom.blogspot.ca/

Grade 1/ 2: https://mrsbowkersclass.edublogs.org/

Grade 3 /  4:http://epcotclass.blogspot.ca/

Grade 4/5: http://www.awesomegeniuses.blogspot.ca/

Grade 7:http://www.mrsripp.com

I gave each table a blog to check out first and then when they were done, they could move onto any blog they were interested in. I introduced Google Docs to my students and got them to make a list about what they want our blog to look like.

Here is our list:

  • Tweet Attachment thingy
  • pictures of field trips we had
  • Contact Us button
  • Comment Section
  • Calendar of special events
  • Timeline
  • Book Reports
  • Share the sites we use to learn.
  • add a background to make it look yum yum
  • Custom Font
  • Challenges for other classes
  • Filter to make us Fab!
  • A follow us button
  • Subscribe Button
  • Mascot
  • Events that people will want to see. not boring!
  • Presentations
  • Giveaways.
  • Contests/challenges
  • Artwork.
  • Plays.
  • secret missions
  • birthday parties
  • math models
  • science experiments
  • PJ day
  • track and field
  • tournaments/tryouts
  • videos of things we did in class
  • good information
  • different people can write about it
  • making robots and castles and then take a pic
  • explain what we did in the day
  • put our goals put labels of what we did
  • Questions!!
  • put good pictures of our work
  • write about people who visited our class
  • fun background on the blog
  • Everybody can write their own post ones at a time,like whats happening at school,what is their feeling today are they happy for example, whats their comments about todays experiment on Science.Taking pictures from important events.
  • you have to finish your work on time. you have to be polite. you have to know what you’re writing.  

A great list for our first look at classroom blogs. I’m so excited to work with these students this year!

 

Kid Tech Coach 

Recently I became a Google Education Trainer (GET). I honestly felt so excited to be listed among all of these amazing educators and I knew that my connection to the trainer community would inspire me to be better and more creative.

I’m pretty involved in the Ottawa education community. I have planned Edcamp Ottawa, Playdate Ottawa, am a co-founder of ONEdchat and Think Tank Ottawa. I love to plan events and create spaces for people to learn from each other. When I became a GET I wanted to do something bigger. I kept on thinking about what the education community needed. I am always trying to inspire non-techy teachers to get involved and try something new. I love Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and know how empowering it is for students. I wanted to make it easy for non-techy teachers to teach their students GAFE. I first thought of making step by step videos that teachers could play in their classroom and learn with the students. But then I realized, students do not want to listen to another teacher, they want to listen to their peers. Students listen more and learn better when their peers explain something than when teachers do, so I created Kid Tech Coach.

Kid Tech Coach (5)

 

This website is to provide training for GAFE and other technology for students using videos made by other students. This is a way that students can share their expertise in technology and show their learning.

As an educator, this is a great way for our students to create a positive digital footprint, and it teaches our students collaboration, communication, technology skills and creativity. It also encourages students to learn digital media principles, such as engaging with an audience, production principles, etc.

Please follow us on facebook, twitter, and check out our blog (still in it’s early production).

If you have any videos of students that are already created giving tutorials on technology, you can submit the videos here.

PumpkInferno: A great example of Community Collaboration

PumpkInferno is outdoor exhibit of around 6,000 hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario. They have partnered up with local schools to display of over one thousand individually painted pumpkins, created by area school children between Kindergarten and Grade 8 from 22 schools in the region.

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To see more photos, please click here.

This is an amazing partnership between the community, the schools and the businesses in the area. The students must feel so supported and valued that people come from many surrounding towns to see their artwork and pumpkin art.

This really made me think. What collaborations are we missing? What collaborations would be so easy to set up and we just don’t see it? Local children’s art in local art galleries, students writing in the local newspaper, and science fairs at a local museum.

What collaborations do you have in your school? What great ideas do you have about how to collaborate with your community. Let’s come up with some inspiring collaboration ideas between our schools and our communities.

Projects by Jen : A Collaborative, Project Based Gold Mine

I have been following Jen Wagner on Twitter for a while now. I had no idea that she was the mastermind behind Projects by Jen that I just discovered.

Projects by Jen is an online project that occur with Pre K – Grade 6 students. There are so many projects that focus on curriculum based learning objectives but that are fun, collaborative and hands on. 

She has project listed from stacking Oreo’s (yum), to counting and tallying pumpkin seeds, to exchanging Holidays cards. All of these projects happen in your classroom as well as online where you skype, tweet, and blog with other classes around the world.

To learn more, go to projectsbyjen.com or if you want to dive in, you can register here.

I’m so excited to participate this year! I hope you can join me!