Saturday, August 28, 2010

Collaboration is a Gift

Resist the urge to be the "Lone Ranger" at school.  Planning alone, and working in isolation give you limited perspective.  I completely understand the desire to be left alone more than you know.  It takes some effort to get in and share and receive ideas.  In my early teaching years, back when there was not, at least in my experience,  much in the way of collaboration, I used to consider myself sort of a "free-lance" worker.  My thinking was that I used space in a school building and followed basic district regulations in order to practice my craft. I doubt that many think that way these days. There are so many rewards that come from brainstorming with other teachers.  It's rare that I attend a grade-level team meeting or teacher training without picking up SOMETHING that I want to try.  Is that your experience too?

If you haven't read the book, "Comprehension and Collaboration, Inquiry Circles in Action", by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels, I highly recommend it. In a chapter about the benefits of collaboration they state, "In well-structured groups, we leverage each other's thinking.  We learn more not just because we all bring different pieces of the puzzle, but because, through talk, we can actually make new and better meaning together.  You may have experienced this, or even sought it out.  When a problem arises, we have an instinct to gather a few trusted people and talk things through, hoping to find the best solution or course of action.  Similarly, in school, when kids think together, their understanding can deepen."

So, if you are not already the King or Queen of collaboration, will you try it? And encourage your students to try it as well?  Once this week?

I've got to go find someone to collaborate with online!  See ya later alligator...

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