Posts Tagged ‘team’

So, I’ve been thinking about digital portfolios for years. In my last two years teaching 5th grade, my students each had a wiki with a page for each major subject, and I tried to build in time to reflect on work after each unit or so. Great, but it was a project that stayed in my grade.

Fast forward a few years. In my new administrative position, I’ve been talking to anyone who will listen mentioning digital portfolios here and there, and the idea has gotten some traction. Over the summer I went to a  two-day workshop by the EdTechTeacher group in Cambridge devoted to digital portfolios with a multi-division team from my school. There were 6 of us in total, teaching 4th-12th grades. What a gift to have the support and time to do this as a group!

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery: http://flickr.com/photos/usnavy/6754890247

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery: http://flickr.com/photos/usnavy/6754890247 My team did not do anything like this, but we are still an impressive group.

I went with some fairly strong ideas as to what I believed we should do for our school. I felt, and continue to feel, that our version of this portfolio will be more about self-reflection (a la the portfolio assessment of old) and student voice than a showcase for very polished work. (When the expectation is that this work is “ready for publication” I think there is a strong temptation for the work to be overly corrected or edited by teachers.) My vision stresses authentic student commentary on progress and areas for improvement. My vision was a little fuzzy on some of the details of what platform to use, how to make this work at various age levels, and how to get more people on board. That’s where the workshop came in handy.

Attending the workshop with my school group meant that we were our own think tank. We all heard the same information. We all talked about how this new learning would and could help us understand more deeply the possibilities and the rational behind our portfolio project. Each of us thought about what this might look like in his or her own classroom, subject area, grade level. This kind of dedicated time to think, talk, eat, talk about other stuff, come back and have at it again the next day is what going to workshops allows teachers to do. The value of that time and the extra space never ceases to amaze me.

The workshop also gave me new ideas about formats for reflection. It does concern me that we are creating another way/time/place that will prioritize written expression. We’ve got plenty of those in school already. Learning about some quick ways to incorporate audio into reflection was a good reminder that the bigger goal is communication of ideas and does not necessitate writing. This was a big take away for many members of the group. However the biggest take away in terms of moving this idea forward was creating a group who has bought into the idea, has some extra information, and can speak up for our project.

Win, win, win.

Red Pants Team

Posted: November 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So, I’ve been thinking about my tech coaching team.

We are a new team. This is only the third year that the team has consisted of tech coaches rather than computer teachers. So, I’m considering that year our beginning. Plus, that was the year I joined the group.

Anyway, our group started with me being both new to the group and a new leader, one of the other two members being new as well, and with a very large and imposing task (1:1 preparation). We had to come together quickly because we had shared work to do. Sometimes it seemed like our little team was always playing away games, somewhat hostile spectators, a lot of regrouping, a lot of going back to the drawing board. It was a “character building” season. (I personally hate that expression, but you get the idea.)

And then, part way through that first year, there was a shift. We started feeling like maybe we were the home team after all. We won a few games. We found a grove. The next year, we had to start our work again in some ways, but we were a comfortable team.

Trial by fire is either effective at forging a group or blowing them apart. The fire made us a group and we had a good thing going.

After two years, one of the team members went on to another school. We are new, again. We are trying to become a team, but are not in such pressure filled situation, which is nice. I was thinking about how our team spirit and connection was coming the other day. Then, we all arrived to our meeting and I tweeted this:

I know it’s hardly a sign from above, but I thought it couldn’t be bad.

So, I will now refer to us as the red pants team. We have our uniform, we are building our shared identity, and we plan to win some games.