Sunday, 6 November 2016

Why Collaboration is So Important!

It's hard being a teacher.  

We all know how hard we work, and the myth that our 'holidays' means time off, only does us a disservice.

A friend of mine recently shared with me her frustration with teaching:
When I first started teaching  there would be at least 3 teachers each working alone, to prepare 3 different sets of lesson plans based on one established curriculum.  Each of the three teachers would communicate learning objectives in 3 different ways and learning would unfold differently in each of 3 + classes according to the preferred teaching style.
We thought together about what that meant:
  • not tripling of effort, rather  3 to the power of 4  potential points of difference
  • inconsistent learning opportunities across a range of students
  • confusion amongst students and their parents about what was meant to be achieved. 

We came to one very OBVIOUS conclusion -              

                                    Working independently is just not working smart!

On Working Collaboratively

Recently, I was ill and unable to teach my classes for a whole week.  During that week, I was also not equiped to 'prepare' a two and a half week Probability Module for my Year 8 classes that I would need to begin upon my return.

To my great relief, when I returned to work, I was buoyed by some amazing collaboration by my Year 8 colleagues, who developed a flipped Learning Probability Module using the free online platform from  Stile Education  so that all the students could have the same learning outcomes and learning experiences.

Contributing to Collaborative Feedback and Improvement

I learned so much whilst engaging with this collaborative  probability module about formative assessment, flipped learning and using STILE as an at home learning platform.  And I wanted to contribute to the ongoing collaborative feedback and improvement process.   So, I am developing and trialling a Year 8 level Design Thinking project to add to the module based on Dan Meyer's Three-Act Math 'Money Duck'  Activity.  

Design Thinking the 'Money Product'

I am adapting a 'Money Animal' project following the ideas described by Dan Anderson's blog post "142 - Money Duck".   
Design of the Product  (Curiosity, Creative and Critical Thinking, Enterprise)
  • Design their 'Money Product', within costing parameters;
  • Explore various mark-up and profit options, making a decision about the sell price;
  • Explore and select the probability distribution of the 'prize money'; 
  • Design the 'selling' simulation that has the buyer randomly select their product.
Market Day  (Critical Thinking, Decision making, Truth)
  • 'Money Product' designs will be presented, with the price and probability distribution of winnings available for buyers to make purchase decisions; 
  • Students will be given a set amount of pretend '$' to spend on products;
  • Students will use a 'account balance' sheet to keep track of their expenditure;  
  • Buyers will engage in a simulated purchase that determines which of the pre-determined number of products the buyer will purchase (random);
  • Sellers will determine overall profit made.

Since we are approaching summer here in Australia, I think this activity will make the final 3 weeks of school a lot more fun, and the collaborative engagement with my colleagues will ensure that next year we will all have less work to do, and students will achieve a more consistent learning objectives and activities framework.

And I can only sincerely thank my colleagues who were


1 comment :

  1. more teachers should think collaboratively!