Collaboration on the Horizon

Today I met with one of the fellow teachers that will be joining my classes in collaborating on the wiki site. It completely changed my idea for this collaboration. I had originally thought this would work best with a literature circle unit, but in looking at what novels our schools had for use, we only had one in common. Luckily, it is one I am really excited about, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I had intended on starting right in with this book after we finished with summer reading so my colleague switched her schedule around to fit to what I had planned. I have some pretty interesting resources for this unit, but she had some wonderful ideas. She actually has a relative fighting in the war right now and is going to contact him about possibly making a video to share with our students via the wiki. She also had a wonderful idea to introduce the novel. She has some pictures her relative took of his unit and her idea was to show those pictures and let students right about what they see. I tagged on to this idea by suggesting we set up a page on the wiki with a photograph and some guiding questions that the students can then respond to. This way they could also respond to eachother’s posts. This would be an easy intro to talking to eachother via the wiki. I also talked to her about incorporating a Flikr assignment where the students would choose a character and then have to find something they think symbolizes their character, photograph it, and provide a passage from the book justifying their choice. She liked the idea. I am really excited about starting the year this way. It will open the kids’ eyes up to the bigness of the world and get them thinking about where they fit in it early on in their senior year. Since this is such a year of transition, I think it is important to have them examine who they are and what their personal values and beliefs are.
The rich ideas and directions I gleaned from the meeting today give me great hope about the collaboration over the coming year. I think this will be valuable for helping me grow as a teacher, but more importantly, I think it will get closer to a more relevant approach to school for our students.

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