#T2Tchat: Building Collaboration and Partnerships in Your School Community
In this time of social distancing, finding ways to collaborate can be challenging – so your fellow educators came together to discuss the ways they’re engaging with students, families, colleagues and whole school communities! Now we’re sharing their recommendations and favorite resources with you. We hope you’ll find some inspiration, encouragement or a new strategy for building collaboration into your practice – or all of the above!
You can read more advice from fellow educators (and add your own voice to the conversation!) by scrolling through #T2Tchat on Twitter. Special thanks to educators Ashley Washington and LaVondia Menephee for facilitating the discussion. We hope we’ll see you join an upcoming #T2Tchat, too!
1. What’s something you’ve learned from a fellow teacher that’s stuck with you?
2. What routines, tools or protocols make collaboration more effective for you and your colleagues?
3. What are your go-to blogs, websites, social media accounts, etc., for finding resources and lesson plans?
4. When partnering with families and community members, how can teachers make sure plans, lessons and activities are inclusive?
5. What can collaboration look like between teachers and students?
6. How can principals and teachers work together to support students?
7. What new types of collaborations & partnerships have been valuable to you since the start of the pandemic?
What’s something you’ve learned from a fellow teacher that’s stuck with you?
“One thing that I’ve learned from a fellow teacher is that as educators, we must care for OURSELVES so we are able to care for OTHERS. Self care is the key to making it through these unforeseen times.” —Educator Quincy Hills
“Be yourself when you are teaching. It is okay to be goofy, make mistakes, sing, run around, etc… Just don’t fake who you are.” —Teacher Melissa Shepard
“Kids want to feel appreciated. Incorporate their culture into your lessons so that they know you’re aware that they exist.” —Teacher Ms. McKenzie
“Kids don’t want to be talked at for 45 minutes. Making them own their learning and be actively part of their learning process is life changing for them AND educators.” —Teacher Caila Smith
“Teachers care. About their students, fellow teachers, administrators, educational assistants, librarians, themselves. Teachers take pleasure in seeing other teachers succeed; and in seeing ‘the look’ in a student’s eye when the student gets it.” —Educator James Oloo
What routines, tools or protocols make collaboration more effective for you and your colleagues?
“One routine that I have made a habit, is after every meeting, PD, etc. I send out a Google Form for any comments, questions or concerns to assist in leveling up the NEXT time we collaborate. TIME is precious and valuable, so maximizing everyone’s time is ESSENTIAL.” —Educator Quincy Hills
“Microsoft Teams right now. A few colleagues and I have had a Team set up since August to try out some things. Within my school, we have one set up for a group of us interested in learning more about ClassNotebook. We share things on OneDrive. And lots of texts and emails!” —Teacher Andrea Biro
“‘Faculty Families’ with a member of each department in them. No cliques, stepping out of comfort zones, empowering voices & collaboration through empathy and a shared understanding as a team/family. I promote personal over professional when they meet!” —Educator Jamie Brown
“Scheduling a consistent time for collaboration, setting agendas, writing goals and starting our meetings with a moment to check in as human beings, all make the work more productive. Everything we teach (and try to model) about collaboration…works for us, too.” —Educator Kathryn Fishman-Weaver
“Google Docs are an essential tool when working with files which need constant attention with multiple people needing access to the same information. Any video call platform that can record when presentations need a second glance to reference during.” —Educator Alexandra Maragha
What are your go-to blogs, websites, social media accounts, etc., for finding resources and lesson plans?
“Paths to Literacy! http://tsbvi.edu do a search … lots of good resources, goals, etc. on the site to work with the blind or visually impaired. CommonLit … membership is free. Great reading passages with comprehension questions.” —Teacher Liz Egan
“@cultofpedagogy is incredible for content. @maniacsinthemid for remembering all the fun reasons I became a teacher (and tech hacks). #teachertwitter and my two courses #tch401 & #tch410 for continuous resources and ideas.” —Teacher Caila Smith
“I am a visual person, so I still love Pinterest. Whenever I have an idea I normally Google it and then look at the images.” —Teacher Alicia Holligan
“Well obviously @teacher2teacher. Also @CoffeeNConvoEDU Lots of great posts on their Facebook page, of teachers helping each other solve problems. @TABSE_Texas @PrincipalProj @PAABSE_ @inc_yv is the @Flipgrid & student voice guru.” —Educator Ashley Washington
When partnering with families and community members, how can teachers make sure plans, lessons and activities are inclusive?
“Find out who your kids are, where they and their families come from, how to pronounce their names, and what their families value so that you can collectively make everyone feel seen and heard in the space. Make it a WE classroom from day one!” —Teacher Cait O’Connor
“It starts with knowing the community you are entrusted to serve. Understanding cultural biases and differences on your campus and working as a team to reverse and overcome.” —Educator Tiffany Alexander
“You have to make sure:
1) Your lessons are clear and concise.
2) The materials needed are “accessible” for all from home.
3) You communicate, communicate, communicate, and, oh yeah, communicate.
4) You are consistent across the board with parents, students, and community.” —Teacher Keith Piccard
“Make them a part of the process. Create a parent Google Classroom, utilize
@Flipgrid for projects like “show me you” and include family – and ALWAYS encourage families and the community to participate and be included in all volunteering, fundraisers and charity.” —Educator Jamie Brown
What can collaboration look like between teachers and students?
“Student-designed rubrics and choice boards using topics cultivated from students. But first – recognize that students are humans (not some strange other being) and let go of your hold on who should hold authority in a classroom.” —Educator Jolon McNeil
“I’ve had my students create their own personal classroom norms. That way, they can hold themselves accountable for their behavior and learning.” —Teacher Ms. McKenzie
“I start each semester with @saravdwerf ‘s name tents so students and I communicate throughout the first week. Ask them for their feedback regularly. Let students create norms for group work that emphasize what they need to work well together. Provide choice whenever possible.” —Teacher Andrea Biro
“Simply asking them what went well with an activity/lesson and what didn’t. Take notes as they discuss. I just did this today with a new method I tried!” —Teacher Caila Smith
“Community agreements and class mission statements, content and topic negotiations (find out what your kids want to know or who they want to see represented in their curriculum!). Some teachers may not be able to negotiate WHAT they teach, but they can always negotiate HOW.” —Teacher Cait O’Connor
How can principals and teachers work together to support students?
“Provide your teachers with an opportunity to be a part of the decision making process. Ask for their input and at the very least their feedback on decisions being made that impact them directly. This level of buy-in and collaboration will create a cohesive partnership!” —Educator Yolanda Bivins
“Communicate. Honestly. With grace for the difficult positions we are all in and the hard work we all put in.” —Educator Aimee Misset
“Work to understand what students need outside of academics, dedicate time and resources to support the whole child, form committees that include Ss and their families, they should have a voice.” —Educator Tiffany Alexander
“By intentionally working to cultivate joy daily. Recently, I received a message from a staff member who said a message I said about cultivating joy in the workplace stayed with them and they were experiencing joy for the first time in a long time.” —Educator Salma Hussein
What new types of collaborations & partnerships have been valuable to you since the start of the pandemic?
“I am loving how technology companies are stepping out to help and partner. I sent out a tweet one time mentioning @Swivl after I got mine. Since then they have reached out for support, etc. I got the same response from @GoPro & @zoom_us.” —Teacher Keith Piccard
“I am really lucky to be part of a great district! I have grade level and content partners on campus that are amazing – but I also have access/opportunities to work with colleagues from across the district in schools and in leadership to discuss challenges as they occur.” —Teacher Aymee Tiffany
“I ran a weekly virtual “happy hour” with staff. The only rule was no school talk – all the focus was on my staff, how they were and learning about them on a personal level, truly working on going below the waterline to encourage them to do the same this year with one another.” —Educator Jamie Brown
“I attended SO many webinars over the summer, but the place I have felt most professionally grounded is right here on Twitter. So many chats to choose from each week to engage with and network with folks who teach me sososososo much!!!” —Teacher Cait O’Connor