It all started with a tweet. Seriously.
A wonderful educator (@MrsBains) who happens to live in Alberta, just like me, shared some learning her class was doing with loose parts and the SEEI structure, and tagged Julie Stern (@JulieHStern). Trevor Aleo (@MrAleoSays) replied to this tweet and tagged Angela Stockman (@AngelaStockman) in his response. Julie also replied to the original message and tagged both Angela and Misty Paterson (@PatersonMisty), hinting at a possible summer collaboration. At this point in the thread, I did what I do best — cheer them on! And in a strange turn of events, Misty asked if I could help make this happen. While I may not be a published author of educational wisdom, like all mentioned in the twitter thread, I can organize a meeting, and that’s just what I did.
Throughout the spring and into summer, I was fortunate to share a space of collaboration with these brilliant educators. We talked theory. And relevance. And connections. We talked about other educators that we would like to join us to strengthen our team and add depth of experience. This team thinks SO BIG and it was often difficult to settle on the details. And that’s okay. It is all part of the thinking and learning and supporting experience of collaboration. And friends, it was so beautiful to be a part of — and it’s not even done yet!
I am very excited to see our ideas come to life throughout the series. Beyond Print: Expanding ways to think, learn, and express ourselves at school starts on Saturday (September 18) and continues into March 2021. Monthly sessions that build on the ideas of the session(s) before, will be followed up by virtual coffee hours where we can connect and share. Additionally we will have an asynchronous space where we can support one another as part of a collaborative community, coming together to answer the age-old question, ‘But what does this really look like in the classroom?‘.
It can be difficult for teachers who want to try something new in their practice, particularly when they have no one around them doing similar work. The lack of a cheerleader or similar thinking colleague can be a roadblock to experimenting. I truly hope that teachers wanting to ‘give it a whirl’ in looking for alternatives to pen/paper tasks, can find their people amongst the participants and facilitators in this series. I also hope that leaders wanting to support and nudge teachers within this approach to teaching will gain some ideas as well. Maybe I will see you there…
While I am at the end of this post, this story of collaboration is really just beginning. When we can harness the connections we make with others, both face to face and online, beautiful things are possible. This work is an example of that.
Thank you for reading. And considering. And leading.
Header image via Pixabay https://pixabay.com/illustrations/problem-solution-help-support-3303396/