A couple of weeks ago educators from Ottawa Catholic School Board came to visit York Region District School Board for their first face-to-face meeting of their multi-district project. Shadi, from YRDSB, and Karen, from OCSB, planned their project together and involved teachers from multiple disciplines and grades. The group spent the morning at the YRDSB Centre for Leadership and Learning in Newmarket. Here, the teachers from the two districts had a chance to meet, learn about the project and the goals of the collaboration. The specifics for the project was left open ended for the teachers to explore the curriculum areas they could collaborate on, but the focus would be on student collaborative inquiry and literacy instruction. They planned to use Google Docs and Hangouts as their means to connect online, both between teachers and between classrooms.
The teams then moved to the library to plan how their classes could meet online in a joint activity. The grade 1 teachers planned to connect their classes for a shared writing activity and have students provide feedback for each other between the two districts. The two teachers for grade 5 French Immersion decided that they were going to collaborate on the exploration stage of inquiry process for the Heritage and Identity unit: First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada.
The afternoon was unique as the OCSB teachers got to visit YRDSB schools and meet the students their classes are going to connect with. Excitement was in the room as the YRDSB students learned they were going to connect with students from Ottawa.
It was very clear that the teachers learned quite a lot from each other throughout the day. In talking with Karen from OCSB at the end of the day, she reflected on the process and the learning of being involved in the multi-district project. She felt that her team was able to go deeper with their learning than when they work within their own district.
After an afternoon of driving around York Region and visiting schools, we were rewarded with some awesome sushi downtown. Sometimes, it is about the food.
Thanks Shadi and Karen for planning a great day and coordinating all the travels!