Collaboration Makes a Difference

The Imagine School at North Port Intermediate Writing team thrives on collaboration. Our philosophy is to put our differences aside and do what’s best for kids. We’ve worked on building our stamina as a team in order to alleviate the many tasks required to build a fun, academically challenging, and supportive environment for our students.  “Our writing team has been successful for the past few years because of respect, professionalism, creativity, and most importantly, collaborating daily to meet the needs of our students,” shares Dana Taylor.

As a team, we meet once a week, faithfully. During our meetings, we create weekly lesson plans together. We utilize each other’s strengths to divvy up guided instruction lessons and CHILD stations, which in turn allows us to integrate cross curricular standards into our everyday teaching. “When you are trying to create a complex web of knowledge in your students, having the manpower to support your efforts makes it seem feasible. It’s nice to have each other to help do the legwork to carry out our ideas!” said teammate Jada Campbell.

The team assists each other in focusing instruction through holding writing roundtables to analyze and assess student data, modeling “good” writing for each other, designing pacing guides for grade level content, and mapping out the writing curriculum. “It’s nice to have my team to go to for support in identifying with students of different abilities. We discuss students that we are struggling with, and share strategies to support those students,” explained Alison Brannack. As we develop our content, we are able to consistently create stations that work for us, and implement them into our daily ninety minute blocks.

Consistency across the writing team is the key. We may differ in our approach, or get off track a week due to classroom dynamics, but this allows for our students to master skills through teaching others. This past January, fourth graders from one cluster visited another fourth grade class and taught them an elaboration strategy for narrative writing. Fourth grader Madison reflected, “After my peers helped me learn TIEES, I could remember the steps and I understand that teaching others is 90 percent more effective than learning from teachers. Now I write better and faster with narrative conclusions.”

Alison Brannack, Jeremy Thompson, Dana Taylor, Jada Campbell

By sharing the leadership role based on our personal strengths, we collaborate to create a well-oiled writing machine. Parents and students alike understand that the team works closely together, and feel comfortable approaching any one of the writing teachers about writing skills. Parents understand that regardless of their child’s writing teacher, the instruction is quality.

Newest teammate Jeremy Thompson said, “Coming into a new school, team, and way of teaching (CHILD) wouldn’t have been as smooth without all of my team support. I was able to gain confidence and have the time I needed to get used to CHILD because of my team’s collaborative style of teaching.”

Article submitted by Jada Campbell and Alison Brannack, Imagine School at North Port

Each month the Teacher Tips will feature a variety of ideas and successful strategies submitted by CHILD/TEAMS teachers. At your next cluster or team meeting, discuss and send a digital photo along with a paragraph or two to   Watch for your photos in an upcoming edition of the Teacher Tips!

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