I had the privilege this week to work with two awesome teachers: Eric Fabroa (Communications Technology teacher) and his RAMS Media Film Club, and Rob Cannone, a grade 6 teacher. We had a nugget of an idea, connected online and voila, a mutually beneficial collaboration has begun between the highschool and its respective feeder school.
I can’t tell you about the project itself–that’s top secret (for now), but what I can tell you is that connecting via Google Hangout to plan a film project was completely invigorating and exciting (after our initial technical difficulties). I think we were all giddy! The grade 6 class, who had already been planning the script, shared it with the secondary students on Google Drive so they could come to a common vision.
The high school students are going to bring some equipment down to the elementary feeder school to film a promotional video next week.
And yet, what a powerful experience! When students from the feeder school graduate from grade 8 and go to the high school, they will already have a connection to the school and an amazing artefact of their time together. And the high school kids will benefit from the mentorship experience and have a film to show for it.
To me, the true transformative power of technology is that it makes it easier than ever to connect to create these real life and memorable experiences for our students.
So I’ve been thinking about other opportunities for cross-collaboration.
A few ideas:
Science: Secondary students prepare experiments which elementary students complete and write the lab for. Labs could be shared with the teacher AND the secondary students.
English: Secondary students work with a group of younger students on creative writing, paragraph writing, or any other writing genre using Google docs (writing workshop).
Geography: Secondary students create a geocache scavenger hunt for elementary students.
Art: Secondary students can invite elementary students to their art exhibits. I know a few teachers who are already doing this with great results. To extend the learning, elementary students can take a pic of their favourite art piece and ask the artist questions via any of the tools below.
Religious Education: Co-create an awareness campaign for a charity that is important to the school community.
Physical Education: Create an exercise and/or healthy eating routine for elementary students (age appropriate).
Here is a Google Doc I’ve created. Feel free to add ideas!
Google Apps for Education provide a great way to collaborate with other classes.
Skype in the Classroom provides some great ideas and opportunities to connect with other teachers and classes.
Connecting with other educators on Twitter is also a great place to start if you are looking for ideas (Use hashtags i.e. #kinderchat, to find other teachers teaching the same grade). Check out Teachthought’s Guide to Twitter hashtags.
If you already have an idea in mind, Facetime and Google Hangouts work well. I also see lots of exciting opportunities to connect with experts and events emerging using the @periscope Twitter app.
For a successful experience, I think that the teachers should have an idea about what they would like to see happen; i.e, know the big ideas and learning goals they are hoping to achieve. and then co-construct with students what effective collaboration will look like. Start small. You probably wouldn’t do this more that one time in a year to begin.
Have you already done this? Would love to hear about it or additional ideas you have either on the Google doc or here! If you’re in my school District and want some help connecting, please contact me and I’d love to help you to get started!