Saturday, January 10, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to work...

One day on the way home from work, one of the Mandarin teachers mentioned how she tried to show a video from the internet and it all broke up because the connection was no good. I mentioned to her that she could use a web based application to convert the video into a MP4 and have it play directly from her hard drive - thus reducing the chance of not being able to show it due to connection problems. She came to me the next morning for me to show her how to do it.

The next afternoon she asked if we had any resources on how Chinese inventors who 'found space' or invented, discovered anything to do with space to tie in with a unit of inquiry a year 5 class was doing. We didn't have anything that fitted the bill, so I suggested that maybe a different angle was required - What about how space affects the Chinese culture to tie in with the Chinese New Year theme coming up as well as the space unit being covered in class. She went away and thought about it.

The next morning as we were waiting for the train to arrive, she mentioned she really liked the main idea I suggested and thought it could work really well. For the 6 minute train ride, the 5 minutes waiting for the next bus, the 12 minutes on the bus and the 7 minute walk to school we collaborated on the unit. I took notes on my iphone to make sure we remembered what was being said, and nutted out her entire unit except for the synthesis and application activity - which we needed to think about for a bit more on how it was all going to be pulled together after the students have asked questions and researched. We will consult some documents like Doug Johnsons "Designing research projects kids (and teachers) will love" and the Task oriented question wheel , both older documents - but still worth looking at for ideas. We will consult with the PYP co-ordinator to pick her brains to make this a true inquiry unit with high level tasks and thoughts. I will even be going into the the Mandarin class to help out with some of the sessions. We are both excited about the possibilities.

I was and still am still buzzing about how quickly this all happened and how we took advantage of our traveling time to make it useful time. It is also exciting as I have been trying to figure out a way I can work my way into this type of role in the school, and it all happened quite accidentally just from helping a teacher with a small technology application - which had no relation to what we ended up with, but, it just shows how reaching out on all planes can lead into wonderful experiences and opportunities. Collaboration is what makes a TL tick - well this one anyway!

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