The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Super Secret Awesome Collaborative Project: The Beginning

I wonder what the word limit for a blog post title is. I can apparently cram seven fairly large words into a title and still have it all show up in the permalink. Fun times.

So today was the official beginning of the Super Secret Awesome Collaborative Project that my grade-level partner and I have been planning for several weeks. We were originally going to start first thing in the morning but, due to some unplanned circumstances, we had to bump it to the afternoon. I gathered my class and brought them into the other room, since my partner’s room is considerably larger than my own.

We spent the first collaborative meeting discussing group norms, such as what constitutes acceptable behaviour and how we would respond to it. The students suggested three basic expectations:

  1. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  2. Respect each other.
  3. Be safe.

Surprisingly, we discussed this for nearly 45 minutes, but it was a great conversation. We also talked about the foundation for what we are doing: teaching the district SafetyNet Skills that are rooted in the Common Core State Standards. Remember those? We are going to teach all of the English/Language Arts SNS to the entire fourth grade. As far as we can tell, we are the only fourth grade in the district and, quite possibly, the state, that is going to attempt this. We are convinced that our 55 or so students are capable of learning, mastering, and using the core standards by the end of the year. By comparison, the CCSS aren’t going to be officially implemented nationwide until 2014. So we are going to give the class a great leap forward!

Everyone in the class has agreed to try it out and to learn along with us. Everyone committing to upholding the group norms. And everyone is excited to learn in a massive collaborative effort.

So, how are we going to go about doing this? We are going to bring our classes together every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning to learn, practice, master, and use the skills and concepts. We haven’t officially announced how we are going to do this, but we’ve started with a hint: we had several Dr. Seuss books out and I was wearing a button with Thing 1 and Thing 2 on it. Also, I brought in the plush Think that my wife and I got from Kohl’s last year. The Lorax will be coming later.

I’ll leave it at that until we gather again on Friday.


One response

  1. Pingback: Using Our Voices for Good «

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