When Fear Holds Us Back...

Yesterday, I took my daughter driving in the rain for the first time. As we arrived at her orthodontist appointment, I asked her how she thought it went. Her response, "Well I didn't crash..." This really made me think. Was the drive perfect- no, but was it important that she learn how to drive in the rain- yes! Why had it taken me so long to "allow her" to drive in the rain? Looking back, I know it had nothing to do with her driving skills- but it had everything to do with my fear. "What if she struggled driving in the rain?" I am not exactly sure in my mind what I thought might happen, but it prevented me from giving my daughter a skill that she needed to become a proficient driver for too long. I knew that I had provided her the skills to transfer her knowledge to this new type of driving, but I held back.

How many of you resonated with this "fear?" Maybe it has happened in your personal life? Maybe it is based on learning or trying something new with your students? But I am sure that having fear over a new task is not just something I struggle with. Those "What ifs" can definitely hold us back.

Changing the "What if" Narrative...

This week, I am not only taking risks and helping my daughter gain skills she needs, but I am getting ready to do the same thing with my kindergarten and first grade students. When I present my Creating with Littles session, I often talk about my 3 Cs of Creation- Choice, Collaboration, and Clickable. I want to provide my students with creation activities that incorporate all three of these. But when I reflected on my practice with this, I realized that I was not practicing the collaboration with my young scholars that I preached about as often I wanted to. I had dipped my toe into the Collaborative waters by having them watch each other's Flipgrid videos or work on Flashcard Factory with a partner. But I knew that if I provided my students the scaffolds they needed, they COULD do more. What if they worked together on a partner project? What lessons could I learn? What lessons could they learn?

Jumping into the Missing C- Collaboration!

Before I began this venture, I need to start with my why. Why was collaborating so important for my young scholars? I went to the ISTE standards to get started. In the ISTE Standards for Students, the Global Collaborator 1.7 Standard states,

"Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally."

By having my students use Wixie to engage in partner projects, I was doing this. For each of the three weeks of this unit, students would be learning about something to broaden their perspective using PebbleGo and enriching their learning by collaborating with a peer inside of Wixie.

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Jumping with a Safety Net...

When I got started on this series of lessons, I didn't just decide to let students pick a partner and just start working on a team. When we start something new with students, we need to be intentional. My young scholars already know how to use both of the digital tools we will use. They know how to access and use PebbleGo and how to use Wixie. What I needed to intentionally design was the following:

  • How to get each group of partners into a Team or Collaborative project

  • How to make sure each student had both individual and group accountability

For the first design element, I reached out to their teachers to form groups and share them with me. Then , I was able to assign the groups of students a Team Project. This would be something new for students so it would require modeling.

For the second design element, I decided to use repetition and have each week look similar. Each week, students start by learning on the Yellow Page in PebbleGo. Then each student has a color assigned to them. They get to complete their color pages- the first is applying what they learned; the second asks them to respond to their partner's work. The final yellow page is the Edurubricon- reviewing their criteria for success with icons scaffolded.