I did not really find a group for my project. There are probably a few reasons responsible for that. First, I started the course late and a little reluctantly due to an increase of personal responsibilities. Second, the workload at my school increased due to planning my units of study anew. Third, as my humanities unit is already set in the curriculum plan and my 8th grade co-teacher is using the same curriculum map, I had to go forward with Peacekeeping and Poetry. Fourth, I could have used this opportunity to come up with a digital integration plan for my school but I did not feel I was ready for the technological knowledge that would be needed. Fifth, I was only able to collaborate with the Learning Commons (our library for the three schools on campus)
How did the collaboration aspect of this project go? What challenges did you face?
It did not go as well as I had planned. I reached out to all the four schools in the ISG district (my school district) that are teaching 8th grade in an effort to collaborate for part of the Humanities unit if not the whole unit. I understand that everyone has their units already planned and they want to cover them before the end of the year. A teacher from the Dammam Elementary Middle School reached out but her timing of the poetry unit did not coincide with mine.
How did you overcome them? How was this collaborative planning experience different from or similar to other planning experiences?
I finally reached out to the Learning Commons on our campus that services three of the ISG district schools. The schools are Dhahran Elementary Middle School (where I work), Dhahran British Grammar School and Dhahran High School (9-12). The head librarian will run the student flipgrid reflections of students of similarities and differences of causes of internal conflicts as well as similarities and differences between how peace is made in internal and external conflicts. Last, there is philosophical question about when peace lasts and when is it temporary?
Why did you choose this option? These standards?
I chose the standards to bring together a whole year of internal and external conflicts and human rights a full circle. I think at the end of the year to be able to connect student learning about causes of conflicts and ways to resolve it is fitting. In addition, after all they have learnt I wanted to hear students reflect on what is peace in their Flipgrid recordings. This helps us move forward towards Poetry of Witness and finally the internal conflict within us that we wrestle with.
The ISTE standards that I used are usually reviewed before the 8th graders enter high school in order to avoid plagiarism in the future as it has serious consequences. In addition, the students are not savvy with organizing their research or using databases for more credible information than googling it or using Wikipedia.
How was this learning experience different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed?
I have never really had to find someone to collaborate with as I usually design my study units from some help from others who have more expertise. However, in my school I have the most expertise in the Social Studies C3 curriculum and possibly the writing workshop method as well.
I found it more challenging as I am more used to working on my own and finding ways to reach out to others was a new experience for me. In addition, to consider how to make my students more digitally conscious and savvy was a new experience.
How does this experience relate to what you learned in Course 2?
I think that as an alternate project (and I would probably have found partners) I should have worked on an Acceptable Use of Technology document for my school or district. I could have given a heads up to the District office and gotten some help from there as well. I think I would have had more learning as well. I will like to do this if possible in the future.
I am going to be more aware of how to incorporate digital learning for students that does make them more responsible digital citizens.
If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?
I am in the process of facilitating this unit in class. The students really enjoyed the Flipgrid individual reflections and are excited to be featured in a stream in the Learning Commons so they can be showcased to the other three schools on campus. However, to protect my students’ privacy I am not sharing their Flipgrid reflections in this post.