Educational Ramblings

Thoughts and resources from your Instructional Coach

Collaboration - Not Just For Your Students

Michael Fullan's vision for the 21st Century Learner focuses on the 6Cs: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, character, and citizenship. The importance of collaboration (working together to solve a problem or reach a common goal) should not be restricted to students. As teachers it is vital that we make meaningful professional connections with others in education to further our own learning which will help to support the students in our classrooms.
Solution Tree: Rick DuFour on Groups vs. Teams

How Can I Connect With Other Teachers To Collaborate?

Professional Learning Networks

Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) are teacher-driven spaces in which resources are shared and gathered to further professional development. PLNs are primarily used for two purposes: 1) Making social connections AND 2) Information gathering. All teachers have a PLN within their school (think about how many connections you make when walking down the hall or during a staff PD session), however technology has allowed teachers to create PLNs that reach much further.

Subject or Interest-Specific Professional Organizations

Want to connect with other math or science teachers? Have a love of outdoor education? Do a search for professional organizations that allow you to make connections with educators with similar passions. Often members meet formally at large scale conferences or informally at chapter meetings and events.

Ontario Art Education Association

Ontario Association for Mathematics Education

Science Teachers Association of Ontario

Ontario Library Association

Children's Literature Association


Twitter has allowed me to make connections with educators all over the globe. I have collaborated on projects, discussed issues in education, and stumbled upon posts that ended up being the inspiration for some of my best lessons. If you are nervous about joining the Twitter community, start by creating an account and following larger, more well-known organizations. Follow your school! Contribute by tweeting when you feel ready.

Virtual Filing Cabinet

Imagine an old, clunky filing cabinet full of paper resources. Don't you wish you could get rid of all the mess but save the really neat activity or title of a book? Try creating a Virtual Filing Cabinet. Its an online space where you can store all of that great stuff. Use your Google Account to share your filing cabinet with other teachers. Here is an example of a Virtual Filing Cabinet used by Nathan Kraft (Grade 6 teacher).

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How To Grow Your Professional Learning Network

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The Moral of the Story...

You will not get the best out of yourself or your students if you are working in isolation. Reach out to your peers; sit down and create a new task together, co-teach a lesson with another teacher on staff, sign up for an out of school PD session, or start a blog and invite others to read it. Collaboration is just as important for teachers as it is for our students.
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Wishing you all the best during this holiday season. Take time to rest and enjoy family and friends!

Any questions or comments? Let's chat!

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