I'm starting this blog as part of a project to create a shared learning community of math teachers in the Striving Readers project to create model lessons for mathematics that incorporate content literacy strategies, provide teachers concrete examples of how to plan the content using strategies that allow students opportunity to experience content in different ways, and to create experts across the project who can then help guide their colleagues through the planning and development process.
It's a test for me of using blogging as a collaborative tool to engage teachers in a professional development model that is totally optional. I am inviting a core set of teachers to participate. My goal is to involve approximately 8-12 teachers in this first trial. Additionally, I am inviting (haven't discussed this with them, yet) Darren Kuropatwa, Amy Awbrey, Karen Karp, and Sara Kajder. Darren is a math teacher from Canada who is very knowledgeable in Web 2.0 apps and, more importantly, engages his students in collaborative and highly engaging learning environments. Amy is an expert in planning and asking guiding questions. (Also, she is the director of the Striving Readers project for CTL, so I need to include her for her input from a work perspective, also.) Dr. Karp is the math ed department chair at the University of Louisville and one of my professors this semester. Her input from a math perspective will be very helpful, and, perhaps more importantly, her input from a teacher preparation/development perspective will be helpful. Dr. Kajder is one of the most insightful practitioners of web/distance teaching and learning that I know. Her rigor and insight will be of great value to push the development of the lessons and the model.
My initial plan is to enlist the help of teachers to plan four units of study that incorporate content literacy strategies. The focus on the planning will be on the read, write, speak/listen connection that we are emphasizing in this summer's Striving Readers school trainings. The units will center on content from: 8th grade- estimation, data analysis; algebra I- rate of change; algebra II- systems of linear equations; and precalculus- exponential functions. All of the topics were chosen because they could easily be adapted for use in multiple courses. I would like the plans to include at least three learning events/lesson plans that are well developed. I would like to throw some ideas out and see if I can’t get response from people about how to improve, extend, and add to the thinking. Additionally, I want to use the artifacts in the trainings this summer as models for other teachers to use.
Ultimately, I would like to create a learning community that can share ideas, access thinking across content areas, encourage collaboration between schools, etc. I would like feedback from you before I open this to the classroom teachers so I can prepare myself better for issues that will arise, and make the project as successful as possible.
As a side note, I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to respond, because I know you are all busy people, but I wouldn’t have invited you if your opinion wasn’t valued. Additionally, if you don’t have a blogger account I can help you set one up so that you can post to the blog.
Finally, (and this is directed mostly to Darren and Sara) any recommendations about the best site/manner/format to share the actual files? I am hoping to do some open collaboration editing online so I will be using some type of file sharing site, but I have to be careful to make sure the teachers can access the site from their schools, which means it has to be a site recognized and accepted by the filter gods.