A new definition of strength: Can we learn together? What if we collaborate, ask for feedback, and lean in to leverage expertise and perspective of others?

If we truly believe in communication, collaboration, and the other C’s, how are we – as lead learners – modeling and taking action?

##### <Note the timestamps in the following communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving.>

“Hear” snippets of Nicole’s thoughts as she is developing the assessment shown above:

*I’m writing a mathematics unit for a grade level that I have never taught to learn, to help my team, to help our young learners.**This is hard.**I’m trying to model backwards design unit planning (Grant Wiggins hung the moon, most recently evidenced by his math blog post today). Stage 2 (How will I know when they have learned it?) must come before Stage 3 (the learning plan). Teachers should have access to the assessments (formative and summative) at the beginning of the unit.**Our learning outcomes are all I have to work with. Reading these standards in depth helps me some, but I need feedback.**I heart Google.**The “I can…” statements need to be student-friendly. They will be directly related to the standards-based rubric we will need to create.**I’ve worked through several leveled assessments as collaborations with classroom teachers, but I have yet to write one independently.**Wait, why am I writing this independently? It’s nearly midnight. I’m sending this to Jill.*

“Hear” snippets of Jill’s thoughts as she gave feedback and edited the assessment shown above:

*Wow…Such good work.**Level 1 “I can decompose a figure into equal parts. I can name each part.”**I wonder if decompose is a 3rd grade word. (I do not know.)**I also wonder about “partition” as a 3rd grade word.**I wonder if you are having a resolution problem with the shapes in Level 1. The image shown is a rectangle, not a square.**I wonder how successful a child can be partitioning the circle without having the center marked and using a compass.*

*Level 2 “I can represent a fraction on the number line when some fractions are given to me.“**Can we eliminate the word “some” and/or simplify?**What if we say I can represent fractions on a number line?**What if we add number lines to identify fractions before asking students to take action on number lines? Just this month, Jennifer Wilson and I presented on conceptual understanding of fractions and the new way to convey a consistent story using number lines.**My TI-Nspire software and the fraction lessons will give me number lines. I’m not sure about mixed numbers and partitions past 1, but Nicole will know. At least adding a visual might help.*

Nicole thinking:

*How on earth did Jill create this fancy number line in a Google doc? I like her train of thought here but think the visual at it stands now will be too hard for grade 3 students.*

Jill’s thinking:

*Right. Number lines too hard. Would it be easier if we think together now that we are both awake?*

Below is a copy of the next iteration of this assessment after a Google hangout discussion and co-learning conversation.

How might we collaborate, ask for feedback, and lean in to leverage expertise and perspective of others?

A new definition of strength: We are stronger than me. Learn and share!

[Cross posted on Curriculum Reflections]* *

Reblogged this on Curriculum Reflections.

Jill (and Nicole),

What a wonderful way to collaborate! I particularly like the collaboration on creating an assessment as it is evidence of reflection on what it is we want students to learn! Too many times, teachers just use the assessment given by the text or– especially in math– just throw some numbers together without thought to the difficulty of particular numbers together. This assessment makes sense for the levels listed, and it also requires students to justify/explain their thinking. The math teacher in me is smiling and high-fiving!

More generally, this post continues to coax/encourage us to consider the power of collaboration with other teachers in all aspects of planning. Many times, teams collaborate at the beginning of planning a unit, but then go off on their own to implement– no regrouping to reflect together, no analyzing student progress along the way. Even in two different schools, you’ve modeled the power of such comprehensive collaboration. I encourage you to regroup once the children have taken the assessment to reflect on their understanding together!