My course five final project for COETAIL follows a "Sharing the planet" unit of inquiry in my context.
I describe the initial planning stages in a previous post here.
In this post, I'll elaborate mostly on how I incorporated COETAIL learning from course 2, specifically the importance of collaboration into mix of our planning.
Grade 12 CAS Students
A goal from working with the Community Action Service (CAS) final project students and coordinators from last year was to look for more opportunities for cross-campus connections between primary and secondary for this year.
Luckily, a group of grade 12 students did email us early in the year and I did connect with them telling them that I would love for them to work with us for this unit.
After developing a new unit provocation, the grade four student responses revealed that they new very little about the concept of climate change or its causes. Most levels of understanding were very surface level at best.
Below is one of the engagements we used for the provocation. After modelling how to fill in a "non-example" infographic, we asked students to fill in as much as they could in the boxes of this infographic.
Now we were ready to collaborate
With the beginning direction of the unit in place and the first line of inquiry or two sorted, we had a great starting point to begin the collaborative conversation with the Grade 12 group who wanted to connect with us.
COETAIL course two really impacted me on the village approach to learning, so the grade four team I lead was very happy with this idea. We could embark in a cross-campus student learning experience where we could help grade 12s with a CAS project of theirs and they could help us by teaching grade four students about climate change, some causes and more!
First Meeting and Planning Teaching Times
Finding a common meeting and possible teaching times for this kind of collaboration proved a bit tricky with all the different schedules across two campuses and learning online, but we did it.
After bringing the grade 12s in to one of our initial unit planning meetings as teachers, we were able to make the stars align.
Collectively, we decided that the CAS students would lead and run one lesson towards the end of each week and the grade four teachers would support during the lessons, but also run additional supporting lessons afterwards or at the beginning of the following week to help scaffold the knowledge introduced in the grade 12 led lesson.
Off to the Races - Initiating the Plan!
All of the initial legwork of making the stars align went off without a hitch. After sharing our unit planning, the CAS students shared their proposal.
Our grade four team mentioned that we would definitely honour three connection times with the CAS students, one happening each week. After each lesson, we would all touch base and reflect on how things went week-by-week in order to be responsive to the learning needs of each classroom. As a grade four team, we would also help guide the direction of the next week's content.
In addition, the CAS students created some of their initial teaching slides and our grade four teaching team gave them some feedback and a few more ideas so the collaborative teaching days would run smoothly.
Hard work pays off
All of the work to kick off this collaborative teaching effort truly paid off in these first few weeks. The Gr12s nailed exactly what we were looking for and it also matched the aims of their passions for this project. Speaking specifically to my class, I felt that the student who led it, did it so professionally and was a natural in the art of teaching. The lessons were very meaningful and had lots of interactive content.
In return, the learners benefitted from learning from someone different, and were super engaged and energized to be learning from a high school student.
Tune into the next post for this COETAIL course 5 project where the unit takes a "Going Further" approach with research. We dive deeper into even more varied collaboration approaches and get students to narrow in on a personally meaningful inquiry within the unit!