Since the topic of choice this week is Collaboration, I took some time to investigate a variety of collaboration tools that are available. As I established in an earlier post, my definition of collaboration is working with another person or integrating a technological tool. So, I decided to look at both ways. When it comes to collaborating with another person, it is vital to communicate. Using a collaboration template may help with the communication piece. As for integrating technology, there are hundreds of websites that contain free lesson plans for all grade levels, content, technology integration, and multidisciplinary opportunities.
When working with another teacher or some type of specialist, it is important to know the purpose for the collaboration as well as each other's roles. There are many different types of templates that teachers to use as a way to communicate with the other collaborating partners. Regis University happens to have an great guideline as to writing lessons (see link).
Regis' Guide to Lesson Planning
However for collaborating, I thought the Collaborative Lesson Plan Organizer was the best (see link).
Collaborative Lesson Plan Organizer
This particular graphic organizer seemed to have all the components I would consider when designing a lesson. The first thing I always think about when creating a lesson is the standards I would cover. This organizer not only asks for subject standards, but it also asks for the technology standards. To be honest, I never have really thought about the technology standards until this year. By having that component in the lesson plan template will help keep those standards in my mind as much as my subject standards. The best part of the template is the fact it also wants you to decide which 21st Century skills will also be covered using Bloom's Taxonomy. Being that we are all educators of 21st Century Learners, this may help some of the veteran teachers remember to include these type of skills in lessons. The Collaborative Lesson Plan Organizer also lists things such as materials needed , type of technological resources needed, and the activities and assessments the students will complete. The only thing I would like to add to this particular organizer is the an area for the partners to write what each of their roles will be in the lesson. For example, the lesson I'm currently designing with my librarian will require her to teach the students how to use the software while I'm responsible to guiding the students research. Within in the organizer, I don't have a place to write these responsibilities, so I plan to add that for my own personal use.
Along with working with others, another form of collaboration is the ability to integrate technology into lesson plans. This is fairly easy due to the amount of resources that are available for educators. This week, I took some time to "google" lesson plans with technology for middle school science. Within my search, there was 82,400,000 results! Of course not all of these sources will be reliable or exactly what I want; however, the fact there are this many results made me realize how easy it is to find lesson plans! Since I'm a middle school science teacher, I narrowed my search a little by focusing on just grades 6th-8th, particularly life science content. With this search, my results was a little more narrowed; however, it still provided me with over 10 million choices. The key is to take the time to really focus your search to your content standards as well as the technology standards. Even with a narrowed focus, there will still be hundreds of free lesson plans available! Some of my favorites that I found during this investigation are listed below:
Interactive Science Teacher
Lesson Plans (brought to you by Teacher Planet)
Internet4Classrooms (7th Grade Science)
Read Write Think
21st CenturyLibarian Forum (ideas!)