Saturday, July 27, 2013

Can You Say Math Collaboration?

As an avid collaborator, I take pride in the usage of our library facility.  Many times I overhear conversations of, "How do you get classes to use the library?"  I am amazed that we have some school libraries sitting idle with a professional librarian ready to teach, an awesome collection tediously selected to compliment the curriculum, and students eager to browse for the next incredible book or piece of information.  We as professionals must take advatage of opportunities to collaborate.  On that note, I must admit some departments use the library more often than others so when my math department came seeking assistance I enthusiastically responded to the request.  That was precisely how The Battle of the Math Classes evolved.

After standardized testing, my math department was ready to tackle a technology project.  Each student was given a TEK to teach and were required to use various types of technology.  At this point I eagerly volunteered to become involved.  I compiled a list of software that students might be interested in using, my IT coach and made ourselves available for mini lessons and assistance, and the library became the central hub for working on the assignment outside of the classroom.

The list I compiled included:  - Easy to use online flyer - Intuitive website builder - Free website or blog - Free online presentation software - 3-D animated movies
Educreations app - Easy to design recordable lessons on the iPad
PowerPoint - Presentation software (if they used the newer functions such as voice and video)

Students were also able to use other programs per approval from their math teacher.

Three classroom days were devoted to work on their projects. My IT coach and I were delighted to help students learn the programs and complete the assignment.  I made it a point to visit the math classrooms during this process and offer help or answer questions.  I enthusiastically volunteered the library to host the student presentations.  Two math classes per period came into the library and students from each class presented their project on a large screen and taught their TEK.  Student feedback was given through paper response cards for every presentation.  The students chose who had the best projects.

Watching the presentations was one of the highlights of my year.  Our students were given the opportunity to create a project and teach a concept and I knew I wanted the library to be involved.  To see these students dress-up, listen attentively, and take pride in their work was the perfect venue to end the school year. The Battle of the Math Classes will always be welcome into the library and I'm grateful of taking advantage of this opportunity with teachers who have been somewhat reluctant to collaborate and use the library.  With this small gesture, I hope to have many more opportunities to work with not only my math department but all departments next year.  If you step up and volunteer your services or the library facility you may find a collaborating friend or department for life.

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