Classroom Collaboration

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Pause…

How do I think through collaboration between/among classrooms?

A quick look (not inclusive)

Questions:

What are the goals?

What is the timeframe?

What tools will enhance the project?

What do the kids think?

How will we know we are successful?

How will we share what we did?

How will we continue or contain the project?

 

Definitions:

We: Teaches/Students/Districts

Project: a shared inquiry

Goals: overall tagged with standards according to each school district and student needs

Timeframe: one time, short or long-term?

Thinking: input from student ideas; strategies ( I’ve started reading Comprehension and Collaboration by Harvey and Daniels)

Success: ongoing evaluation, revision, reflection, documentation

Share: public or private

After: continue with further inquiry or contain with reflection, appreciations, and farewells

 

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Play…

 

Questions:

What are the goals?

What goals do the participants hope to accomplish? Think in terms of teachers and students, linking them to the standards required. How will this project meet these goals? Create an outline with checkpoints.

What is the timeframe?

Is this a one-time meet, or a project that will involve time for a unit, week, quarter, year? Set reasonable checkpoints for reflection, discussion, refining, revising. What are we trying to do? How are we doing? Are we effective? What do we still need to do, and what is the best course of action?

What tools will enhance the project?

Possibilities:

Partner Wiki or Partner Google Site: to create with students the focus, goals, timetable, discussions, possibilities, collaboration, documentation drafts

Skype: to meet each other and provide ongoing face-to-face time as needed

Twitter: sharing and requesting on content and process

Blogs: Documentation; Sharing; Portfolio — ideas include:

Create for dialogue of process, content, and/or product

Create for teacher reflection

Create for student content, reflection, dialogue

Create as portfolio of project

Google Docs: collaboration, research, product

Google Sites: documentation of content and process; collaboration on project analysis — what did we do and learn?

Google Groups: online discussion of project to clear up obstacles, delays, refinements

VoiceThread: an ongoing dialogue for exploring or explaining content

Glogster: Poster of content created for project

Flickr or Picassa: sharing visuals

Considerations:

Where will the participants communicate? wiki? email? google docs?

Where will the project information be easily accessible? Shared space (wiki, blog, google site?)

How will the participants keep the project vital and timely? Be clear. Notify each other of any potential obstacles.

What are the goals? List and understand responsibilities.

When will components be completed? Set and meet a schedule, considering time zones

Where will teachers facilitate? (email, wiki, google doc/site, google group?) 

How will the project be evaluated?

What are we trying to do? How are we doing? Are we effective? What do we still need to do, and what is the best course of action?

Remember to share and teach collaboration and thinking strategies as the needs arise in the project; reflect with students on these. These are the key life lessons not tested on “the tests.”

Be creative: original, flexible, fluent, elaborative. Think of the talents of students and include them in the development of process and product.

What do the kids think?

Begin with input from students. Develop with students the goal and criteria: Topic, Audience, Purpose. Once the inquiry begins, guide students in collaboration and thinking strategies. Work towards developing the best form to share the project and its results (wiki, site, blog, video, photo essay, public service announcement, etc.)

How will we know we are successful?

At checkpoints, reflect on the topic, audience, and purpose. What have learned? What are we trying to do? How are we doing? Are we effective? What do we still need to do, and what is the best course of action?

How will we share what we did?

Who else will benefit? Who did benefit?

How do we demonstrate our learning to others and our own school district? 

Think about the process and the product.

How will we continue or contain the project?

 

What are the next steps? Does the same topic continue, or a new goal develop? Is this the end of this collaboration? How will teachers and students debrief and release — say good-byes?

Where will the project results be displayed?

 

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This is simply a beginning set of possible considerations for a collaborative project. Projects are messy; they require constant revision because life and humans happen. And each project topic and set of goals require its own circumstances and tools, and that’s another blog.  For now, what would you include when starting to plan for your classroom collaboration?

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Credit:

Flickr Photo CC by lumaxart