Sunday, October 31, 2010
Our middle name is Collaborate!
Many of you know about our collaboration project we have going on with some of the other island schools this year. The official name of the project is the Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaboration (TLC) Project. As a teacher, this work is SO exciting because it makes our classroom feel so much bigger! We have lots of big plans for this project and it is a lot of work to plan and organize (way to go teachers!) but little by little we are making it work. This pass week we were collaborating daily with other schools using technology and it was SO exciting.
We started our "virtual book group" last week regarding "Touch Blue". Monhegan School was the host school and after reading the assigned chapters Dalton and Quinn developed discussion questions for the other island schools to answer. We used Blooms Taxonomy to try and ask questions that required higher level thinking.
We used google documents to post the questions online. The great thing about google docs is that more than one author can be working on the document at the same time. This can be a little tricky for brothers to work on the same page at the same time. I quickly had to make the rule, "no erasing each other's work." They managed to obey.
Later in the week the four other schools participating in our book group responded to the questions on google documents. My guys were responsible for commenting on their peers responses. It was an awesome and relatively simple process. At the end of the week we debriefed the activity and the insight the boys gained from talking with other students about the book was pretty astounding.
When I asked the boys how they liked this process compared to reading a book on their own or with me these were their responses:
Quinn - "I thought it was really fun because usually you can’t get a second opinion on the story."
Dalton - " It made the story that I would not usually read more interesting and I hope to use this operation for the future. I also thought that sharing our opinions of a book was a good way to spice things up. "
I think I forget sometimes how much my boys miss by not being able to work with other students their own age. That is why I am so grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with other schools.
We also collaborated in science this week with our buddies from the Islesford School using skype and google documents. We did a show and tell of the work we did on our science time lines and then "debriefed" the process as a larger group.
It was pretty cool to have science class with a group of five students compared to two. As I was sitting there I felt so lucky that our school has this amazing technology to connect to other students!
We used google documents again to document our debrief process. I asked the kids a set of three questions and they responded on google documents. Each student had a different color font as they typed and then they shared their answers with the group. I got to watch my computer screen fill up with brightly colored words as the kids answered the questions. It was so cool.
The collaboration we have done with the other island schools has been so exciting and engaging! I just can't wait to see how far this project will go!