While at ISTE13 I had three young ladies introduce themselves and their project to me during the SIG Open House. I was so impressed with them, their ability to articulate their project, and willingness to ‘go forth and gain supporters’ that I want to highlight their Global M & M Project in this post. The girls, Ashley Kitzerow, Bailey Williams and Izzy Andrews explained to me that the project is about the Law of Large Numbers: This theory states that the more times you perform an experiment, the closer you will get to the exact average. The idea is to have classes all around the world conduct a color distribution analysis of a bag of M & Ms. Classes all over the world will be joining this project for the 2013-2014 school year, why not your students? What a great way for students globally to prove this law, as they explore mathematical thinking!
If you check out their website you will see they are also creating lesson plans to go with this project. This project has all the components of success: global collaboration, math and chocolate. Who could ask for anything else? Don’t forget to sign your class up, or if you are a building leader tell your teachers about it. If you have any questions I’m sure the girls would be more than willing to answer them (see their emails above on their bio pages). Classes need to sign up by September 16, 2013.
Find more information about this project and other ways to stretch learning for all at:
Collaboration is working together in a climate of trust to achieve a goal as a team. It is not simply scheduling a meeting to discuss an issue when you already have an answer. It’s not about putting an item on an agenda and saying you ‘collaborated’. It isn’t about simply using the word more often in discussions and then seeing it magically happen.
Collaboration is about intentionally teaming up with your colleagues. It’s about knowing that alone we may have good ideas and bring our own expertise to the table, but together we are better because we can bring different perspectives, ideas and combine them to produce better solutions. This intentional collaboration is really all about trust. It comes back to the climate of your organization and the belief that every person is valued.
A true leader brings the best out in all their team members. They don’t come to a meeting to dictate, or intimidate, or push the discussion in one direction. True leaders bring people together to get things done, not to rubber stamp what they already figured out on their own. We’ve all been on those committees that were productive only in the minutes that were produced, not in the collaboration and rich brainstorming that was realized. Many of these same meetings could have been achieved through email, since there was never any intention of productive collaboration happening anyway.
As educators we often have strong beliefs and are use to being leaders either in our classrooms, buildings, or districts. When we work with our colleagues, whether it is during committee, administrative, or planning meetings, we need to value all the ideas that are brought to the table.
We also have to remember that if your organization doesn’t have a trust oriented climate, you need to build it. Start out with building a collaborative climate with a group/staff that you have the most control of. If you are a teacher, start with your team/colleagues. If you are a building principal start with your building teams and teachers. If you are a district administrator start with the teams you directly work with. Start out in the zone you have the most influence over and build trust by showing you value the team and their ideas. Building trust where there may not have been any will not happen over night but it will be worth the time you put into it.