Archive for October, 2014

Teacher Collaboration; fruitless mirage or effective oasis?

Posted on October 2, 2014. Filed under: collaboration, educational, Grade 1 & 2, reflection, teaching and learning |

Collaboration has got to be more than just sharing a Google doc or a common prep. What is collaboration? What does it look like? For students? For me?
For students: Real collaboration sounds loud. Kids are talking, working, laughing, and COMMUNICATING.
It looks chaotic. There are most likely children strewn around the room, and they may not all be doing the same thing.
It feels energetic. No one is bored. Passions are flaring, opinions are bubbling. Ideas are being thrown around and debated.
Real collaboration for students is hard work; for them, and for me.
Real collaboration for me is more than an hour on PD days where we get together as people who teach similar grades. I’m sure I could collaborate with any one of my grade similar colleagues, but it would look very different with each person.
With the Kindergarten teacher, I could see us doing some project based learning. Maybe taking the kids on a field trip together, and then having the kids sing a song about the experience.
With the other grade one teacher, I could see myself working on a math program together. We both idolize Carole Fullerton, and I could see us going to a Carole Fullerton seminar together, (joined PD) and then her and I getting together to create some math centres. We wouldn’t even need our classes to work together, we could take it back to our own math programs.
I could see the other grade 2 teacher and I finding a neat app or website that the kids would love, and creating some type of awesome video or online thing.
I could see the grade 3 teacher and I working on a writing assignment. Maybe the kids would create a book together on their interests, or write a manual of sorts.
I am sure I could collaborate with the other grade 3 teacher on a Daily 5 idea. We could join our classes up for some parts of the Daily 5, or even have a Listen to Reading sharing session where our kids read to one another.
The point is, it’s not hard to find teachers and subjects to collaborate with, the hard part is finding the time and energy. The way our school day/year is set up is not conducive to collaboration. YES, I am the first to admit that’s an excuse, but I honestly have tried. I have such good intentions, and I have talked about it with more than one teacher. It just never seems to happen. There has got to be something systematic that can be done at a division or school wide level that allows for time in the day, (not just my 45 minute day 3 prep) that encourages and supports real collaboration. I am not scared of my admin holding me accountable later… I want them too! But I also feel like we need something tangible that is going to help us teachers collaborate effectively. Any ideas?

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