Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reflections on NJPAECET2

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to share our work with a group of educators at the New Jersey/Pennsylvania Elevating & Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching Conference (ECET2) at Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey. We were thrilled to be able to present our ideas about “Collaborating Across Disciplines: Using InformationalText to Enhance Curriculum.”

Our session included a great range of educators: administrators and teachers and specialists in science, Spanish, language arts, and social studies. This committed group of educators was interested in helping students meet the challenges of PARCC and the new Common Core State Standards in a way that makes intellectual and pedagogical sense. Everyone in the room saw collaboration as the key, and everyone was optimistic and dedicated to stepping outside his/her comfort zone in order to use new kinds of texts in order to stimulate reading, writing, and conversations across the disciplines.

Some of us in the room were intimidated by all that we as teachers need to do in the months ahead. And we all agreed that collaboration is hard and scary, and that significant personal and institutional barriers exist that makes collaboration difficult.

But the conversation was inspiring. Teachers spoke of their willingness to try new things. Administrators spoke of their desire to learn from teachers who were taking the lead. Everyone agreed that collaborative, cross-disciplinary learning could be more effective, more fun, and more meaningful for students.

After our presentation, we attended some other great sessions, including discussion of literacy leadership, using technology to engage students, and cultivating a reflective teaching practice. It was great to be in such good company.

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