This past week I have been thinking a lot about how much I enjoy working collaboratively with other people. There is something quite special about having people who you can immediately sync with and work on a project together. As I look back at the past couple of years I realize I have been luckily enough to have a number of friends and colleagues who jump right in when I suggest something seemingly random and we work together smoothly! I have had friends enter business competitions with me, despite having no business background. I have had another who agreed to run a free educational workshop with me at a local community center even though it was our spring break. It was a great excuse to team teach with a friend and learn from them!
The trend continues….
Last year at a PD session I was given a set of handouts that broke down the math curriculum into easy to understand terms, all the way from grades 1 -6 all in a nice organizational chart. The idea and resource are fantastic, but the problem is it only covers one of the strands in math and as such is incomplete! As time has passed I have decided I wanted to challenge myself to complete the set, but on my own wasn’t sure where to start. As you probably can already guess, I asked a few people if they would be interested in helping me on this side project of mine. Although it is a project outside of the many we have for our education program, I have had a few people agree to help me!
Today me and my good friend Taryn (@TADeroche) finally sat down and started making our way through the curriculum document and working towards completing my incomplete resource. Now as a teacher candidate, the math curriculum can be daunting and scary but it is something we both will have to understand and use, come our first year teaching jobs. Incase you are wondering the resource is an organizational graphic for each grade with the concepts students should understand and be able to do at the beginning, middle and end of the year. With one glance at a strand you can see the year-long progression within one math strand in the curriculum!
Working together this way allows us to:
- Discuss and connect concepts as they progress from grade to grade. The changes are sometimes subtle but all require strong foundational understandings.
- Think about where in our organizational chart we wanted to put each outcome and why. (Because our chart is a progression of skills, figuring out how they build upon one another is key!)
- Clarify if we didn’t understand what exactly the outcome was talking about.
- Bounce instructional ideas for own classrooms off one another (Team brainstorming is awesome!)
- Agree or challenge the other persons point of view. Interacting socially in this way helps us think about how we want to teach math and why we think so.
- Grow as friends and professional colleagues.
These are just a few reasons why collaboration truly rocks my world!
Collaborative partnerships help me connect, discuss, share and think about things and in ways I may have never thought about before! I hope that when I get a classroom full of students that I can help them see the joy that comes from working and learning with others. A classroom that fosters a learning community where collaboration is the norm, seems quite magical and appealing to me!
(We aren’t quite done yet, but rest assured the rest of the project will not disappoint!)