Monday, December 17, 2007

Team Collaboration. Wiki Style.

Today representatives from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) visited our school to videotape our team's (Garry, Mike, and Curtis) collaboration meeting with the school's media and technology facilitators(Gina and Julia respectively). I felt that the meeting went exceptionally well.

This was our second collaboration meeting relating to our interdisciplinary unit on "Change". Before getting into the details of today's meeting, here is a little history on how the unit had developed up to this point. In October we were charged with the task of deciding on the theme of a collaborative unit that we would develop and implement as a team. This was the only required piece going into the first meeting. The key to selecting the them was deciding on a time frame in which the unit would be implemented. We decided to "kick-off" the unit early in the third quarter. (Late January) Garry shared that he would normally cover the civil war during that time period in his Social Studies class and his Science class would cover evolution. These both lent themselves well to the theme of "Change". The Math curriculum pacing guide (provided by our district) indicated that I would be covering linear equations early in the third quarter. It was only a small leap to tie in slope or "rate of change". Our theme was born. We selected "Change". Mike hit the ground running. He instantly tackled the theme with a contagious excitement. We met with Gina and Julia late in October to brainstorm lesson ideas that matched our curriculum with the theme. We came up with several tentative ideas at that time. Here a few of the key ideas:

  • Teach slope/rate of change (Math - Curtis)
  • Cost of Civil War -- Twist Notebook [Electronic Scrapbook Activity] (Social Studies - Garry)
  • Point of View journal entries related to Civil War (Social Studies - Garry)
  • Walt Whitman poetry -- Change reflected in art (Language Arts - Mike)
  • Red Badge of Courage novel (Language Arts - Mike)
  • Seminar [topic to be determined later] (Language Arts - Mike)

  • The first meeting began rather awkwardly. With the mandated interdisciplinary unit collaboration meeting, we were unsure what we were supposed to bring to the table. After the initial awkwardness, we plodded through and gained at least enough ideas to get us thinking about and preparing for the unit. Shortly after our first meeting, Gina created a wikispaces page that permitted everyone to collaborate online. This really improved our preparation for today's meeting.

    It only makes sense to direct you at this point to the wiki so that you can see how the collaboration developed from random ideas to carefully selected activities. Please keep in mind that the wiki is a work in progress. I would like to acknowledge Scott Elias. I plugged his presentation

    when it was suggested that one of the student products for Social Studies would be created using Powerpoint or Photostory 3. It occured to me that students might benefit from these pointers before creating presentations.

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