Joy in Collaboration

December 14, 2008 at 9:00 am | Posted in 21st Century, Collaboration, Global Collaboration, Planning, Professional Development, Project-based Learning, Shift, Tech Integration, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I should be baking candy cane cookies right now but while mixing the dough I was thinking about the past 2 weeks at school and how encouraged I feel about the growth taking place.

First, I’ve been invited to help in Kim’s classroom with her center-project-based approach to student learning about the Rainforests. I’ve been helping out 2-3 hours a day, three days a week with students in groups, mainly the PPT group. I bring my laptop with me so I can work on my own things if I’m not needed. There are Kim, one or two parents and myself responding to student questions as well as observing and asking questions to help them self-discover an answer or find the best direction to follow. These projects require students to understand the content in order to share creatively what they have learned. Kim noted that it took a good deal of work to plan and set up, but it has been worth all the effort. On a side note, nothing settles restless 4th graders like Holiday or Celtic music or Bob M. and the Wailers.

Secondly, I asked all grade level teams to meet with me now or after the holiday break to reflect with me on what is working and not, what they need, and what dream projects or activities they would like help developing. So far I have met with the kindergarten and first grade teams and our meetings were very positive and gratifying. Beside the suggestions and problems noted to be addressed I have 2 larger projects I’m excited about.

Kindergarten teachers would like to use the classroom desktops more and need to know what software is on them, what can be added and they want drop-in help during centers to introduce students to online activities related to current classroom content. This is one of my dreams- to see students using the classroom desktops as much as any other classroom learning tool. Also, a second Kinder teacher is interested in participating in KinderKidsDraw!

For the first grade team, I am investigating a long-term project linked to their curriculum that we will co-plan and teach starting in January. They will be studying continents so I am developing a 4-6 week project with a continent focus that incorporates the language study, writing and math skills also being taught at that time.

cardMy position as ed-tech specialist is much less lonely this year as I am in classrooms more (not just in the lab) and have built relationships with teachers. The kids greet me by name in the hall and I’m even getting handmade holiday cards this year (with my new name, Momaly). Yea!

Lastly, and not related to my own campus. For several years I’ve learned so much by searching online to see what other educators are doing in their classrooms and regularly reading some favorite blogs. I have also collaborated with other classes one-to-one. But within the last year I’ve moved from being a blog and Twitter lurker to a contributor. It takes some getting used to, mostly stepping away from brutal self-judgement, and to build relationships but I enjoy connecting and contributing so much more than merely taking and one-to-one collaborations.

So, if you are reading this I want to wish you a wonderful holiday and vacation- I’d share my Candy Cane cookies with you if I could!

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