Last year pretty much everything we did in class we did in collaboration with another group somewhere in the USA or Australia. The collaborations ranged from passive (we delivered something to another class, they reacted), low-key (both sides contributing to one final product but no need to constantly communicate back and forth), and aggressive (both side actively working together). There’s got to be better words than aggressive, passive, and low-key…hmmm…

I thought that I would throw into this post all of the things that are planned for this year and see if I could catch anyone interested in working with us–either aggressively, passively, or low-key.

So here goes, a very rough agenda of the 2008-09 school year. Nothing is in stone. If you have a totally different idea let us know. If you have content that is not on this list we can connect almost any subject and curriculum that you have to what we do. I have listed some activities we have done in the past but open to any ideas. We could shift the timing of almost any of these units also. These are written as basic as possible, no EQ or concept or anything like that included. There are some units that I am looking for activity ideas! Give me a break on the wording…these are more like my notes.

Throughout year — Three words videos example 1, example 2, example 3

Sept- American Revolution-Last year kids did videos on one person or action

Oct- USA Election-Set up campaign for one candidate, would like to “debate” another class with each one taking a different candidate. Could have multiple Mcains/Obama/Nader;) etc in each class.

Nov- We are going to Sturbridge Village an early 19th Century(1830’s) living history museum. Would you like to hire us for a virtual field trip? I could have groups individualize a virtual field trip to fit your needs/concept/content/final product. Come on someone take me up on this one at least!! No seriously, it would be cool. My kids talk to yours before hand to get their requests and deliver a “fieldtrip” to your cyber doorstep.

Dec- Lewis and Clark–??

Jan- Children’s books on the War of 1812 We write, you illustrate–or we write together–or we write and illustrate then you read and critique

Feb- Oregon Trail– Form a group that will open a business on the Oregon Trial and create Business plan. Would love to have mixed groups, or classes create plans to be presented live or… I did a trial run of this last year and am really interested in doing this activity again without all the mistakes.

Mar- Immigration-??

Ap- Civil War- We are doing first person podcasts from soldiers that are buried in the cemetery in the town center

May- Industrialization-???

June- Independent Study

These are the biggies. There is a unit on the Constitution, we usually do a “Whose your hero?” unit, another unit that involves writing and recording songs, and an editorial carton unit, and all of my kids will have blogs. Of course every year I try to have my plans laid out and then I get a notice that I will be getting a student teacher which could change everything based on their strengths..

I am very interested in working with classes and teachers who have never done any type of collaboration before. Please do not be shy! If you are interested in one of the above topics or some other topic let me know. That means you in the back who really wants to leave a comment but feels as though you are not ready to jump into a distance collaboration–you are! Email me

Tags: collaboration, online, social, studies

Views: 22

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Paul

I am interested in a bit of collaboration as you may have seen from my reply to Katy. What subject do you teach? History? I have a history teacher wanting to get her teeth into something new and exciting. This may well be right up her street.

You're 4 hours behind (I think) so it would need to be an AM thing if you're interested and we wanted to communicate in real-time rather than through a blog or whatever. or (but I can't access that one at home).


I would love to talk further with you about collaboration, particularly during your political unit in October.

A bit about me...My name is Cole Smith and I am a high school English teacher in Sonoma County, California. I have a group of English 9 students and several groups of American Lit and Contemporary Lit students.

I like your idea about debating from canadites' points of view and here is another twist to consider... the past few years I have teamed up with a Government class to create political parties amongst the students in my Contemporary Lit class. They studied issues in their Government class and then we put together party platforms in English class. These platforms were then posted online and our entire school had a chance to review them and sign up for the party of their choice. I think it would be great to extend this project so that students at sites across the country were developing party platforms. Perhaps we could even mix parties across "site lines" and have them create their platforms together on a wiki.

Let me know if you are interested in fleshing something out.

- Cole Smith



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