Monday, March 14, 2016

Lead by Error

I am blessed and honoured to work with some pretty exceptional teachers. I am fortunate that they are willing to co-teach with me, the teacher-librarian. Something happened during one of those "partner times" that made me say to myself, "I gotta blog about that!"

Let me tell you a bit about Lisa Daley. Lisa Daley is an experienced classroom teacher with a calm demeanor, a passion for continually learning, and the patience of a saint. When I approached her about working together this year, she was enthusiastic about the prospect. She suggested a topic that she herself wanted to learn more about and one that she believed her students would be very interested in as well: stop motion animation

Lisa Daley, amazing classroom teacher!

Lisa and I sketched out a plan that would integrate health, oral communication, reading, writing, media and ICT. This was our plan. (Not all partner plans look this polished. We typed it up to share with the teachers who visited our Exploration Classroom on February 17.)

Collaborative Co-Teaching Plan

Grade: 3         Teachers: Maliszewski / Daley          Topic: Health / Oral / Media / Writing


Language 2.5 = identify some vocal effects, including tone, pace, pitch, and volume, and use them appropriately and with sensitivity towards cultural differences, to help communicate their meaning
Language 2.1 = write short texts using a variety of forms
Language 2.7 = make revisions to improve the content, clarity, and interest of their written work, using several types of strategies
Language 3.4 = produce media texts for specific purposes and audiences
Healthy Eating C3.1 = explain how local fresh foods and foods from different cultures can be used to expand their range of healthy eating choices

End Goals

By the end of the unit, students will … create a Lego stop-motion animation film based on a narrative focused on healthy eating.

Schedule: Day 2   Period 3-4                         Timeline (Lessons)

Week 1

Jan. 11/16
-          Modeled writing / brainstorming with partner
-          Read “Wrapped” stories > how might they end?

Mali – find food theme stories
Week 2

-          Finish reading other story possibilities
-          Identify parts of a narrative template
Daley – find narrative template
Week 3

Jan. 25/16
-          Show part of The Lego Movie
-          Expand on ideas from template to text
 Mali – bring movie & install app
Week 4

Feb. 1/16
-          Continue writing story end with a partners
-          Explore how to use StoMo App
Daley – directly teach healthy eating ideas
Week 5

Feb. 8/16
-          Revise story endings
-          Learn how to use a Storyboard to plan film

Mali – find storyboard
Daley – start edits
Week 6

Feb. 16/16
-          Film story endings
-          Recording the audio of your story EFFECTively


  • Narrative template (diagnostic FOR)
  • Story finale (use rubric and/or student generated success criteria) (summative OF)
  • Post-task interview (AS)
  • Stop motion film & accompanying audio (OF)

Collaborative teaching times are precious and few in my schedule, so in March, I had planned on ending this team-teaching unit with Lisa so that I could give another class a chance. The students in Ms. Daley's class hadn't finished their projects, but there are times where the teacher-librarian can't be there for the entire process. Still, this past Wednesday, Lisa saw me walking in the hall right after the recess bell rang and asked if I was available to come to class for at least part of the time, so that I could help them add audio to their video. I agreed.

Lisa does not get enough credit for her technological know-how. Lisa also shows a lot of professional respect for her colleagues, even when they mess up royally.

I popped in and mentioned Tool X or Tool Y as options for recording, and then Tool Z as a way to combine the audio with the video made earlier from Tool A & B.

(Side note: we recommended Tool B after Tool A, my initial recommendation, no longer became available on the iPad App Store before we loaded it on all the devices. Ms. Daley, the students and I found Tool B already on the iPads and determined that it did the same task just as well.)

 After I rattled off this explanation and then released the students off to work, Lisa quietly asked me, "Isn't it possible to use Tool Z to record the audio directly, instead of choosing a separate audio tool?"

*face palm*

This was the easiest solution. Why didn't I think of it? (I think I know why - it was because when my son and I made this mini-film, we didn't own Tool Z and so we used three separate programs to put it together.)

We still had one of the original problems we started out with: Tool X consolidated the data upside-down. I prepared to do a serious online search to determine the answer - until I turned my head and saw Ms. Daley, the same teacher who wanted us to work together so that she could learn more about stop-motion animation, solve the issue in Tool Z with a twist of her wrist. I had no clue it was that simple!

Okay, so I *may* have actually bowed at her feet at this point in the lesson. I ended up staying the entire double-period because it was so exciting for the students to get closer to completing their projects. They obviously took a great deal of pride in their work. Students who usually don't get along as smoothly were cooperating, designating tasks and progressing well. Lisa and I suspect that they might actually finish their movies by the end of the month.

I made a point of not mentioning the specific tools that we used for this task. I did it so that the focus of the tale could be more about critical thinking, instead of on using software. Supposedly, I was the "technology leader" in this partnership but it certainly didn't look that way; Lisa, in her generous and kind way, reassured me that I didn't abdicate my job but that we problem solved together and now she knows a lot more about how to undertake a project like this.

I called this post "Lead by Error" because it was thanks to the mistakes and mis-steps that our learning was deepened. In the CLA document Leading Learning, under the strand "Cultivating Effective Instructional Design to Co-plan, Teach and Assess Learning" we would have remained in the evolved stage of Instructional Partnerships had it not been for my failures; instead, because that awesome teacher took it as an opportunity instead of a stumbling block, our partnership "foster[ed] student and teacher technological capacities and digital literacies". Thank you so much Ms. Daley for modeling such a positive attitude towards learning - and not getting fed up with me! I'll post some of the Grade 3 final products when they are completed.

No comments:

Post a Comment