Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Collaboration Rules the Day

Last week my students took a statistics pre-assessment to help them plan their goals and for me to plan my teaching. I noticed across abilities my students seemed to get a simply tally chart question wrong. The question asked them to tally hexagons, pentagons and octagons, it turned out they just were confused about the difference. Strangely the year I had named the groups using these terms.

I created a Google Docs page with a table for each 2D shape and put the students into random groups. Each group of 3 to 4 students had a notebook and were assigned a shape. I was sharing this document with the whole class so each group was collaborating within their team and each group with the class. The live document was displayed via projector on the whiteboard which allowed for discussion and scaffolding.

My ulterior motive was to get them using their new Docs accounts and get them to explore ways of finding information on Google and bringing it together in a meaningful way.

I was amazed and proud of the way they worked together and in half an hour created this resource below. The Google Drawings are not showing because the students drew them in their accounts and they have not Shared the Drawing. Even my most unengaged kid was fully into this learning.

The second success was helping a fellow teacher in my syndicate who has gone from e-denial to enthusiastically suggesting new ideas. I manage a wiki which accommodates two Year 7 and two Year 8 classes, plus blogs. Today my colleague became an 'editing member' of our wiki, and she created her first wiki page to guide her math groups. It is a wonderful thing to could see the spark of understanding and possibility light up a learners face, at any age.

I feel like I made a difference today, a seed has sprouted.