Every new initiative that becomes a success must first have a few brave rabbits that leap quickly ahead.
That is illustrated by the recent adoption of Google Docs in our middle school as a collaborative writing platform. Two teachers, one from ELA and one from science, created a series of interdisciplinary lessons based on the bestselling book by Andy Weir, The Martian. They submitted the lessons to a contest Curious Classroom offered by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (kicking off their new website HMH Marketplace). These lessons explained that they would be using many of the instructional strategies with these lessons that they do everyday and won second place: 30 Chromebooks and 500 books.
According to the Curious Classroom website, the 2nd place winners
“…were rewarded “for their collaborative and engaging interdisciplinary mini-unit based on Weir’s novel, The Martian, which helps students learn about the science behind realistic fiction. Matt DiGioia and Sherry Mitchell, teachers at Bailey Middle School in West Haven, CT, created a collaborative resource that highlights Language Arts and Science lessons, but can be easily modified and applied across the curriculum.”
The success of their venture is an example for other teachers to follow, but more important was the authentic lesson they taught their students. These teachers collaborated in submitting the lessons and encouraged student participation. The success of their 2nd place finish demonstrated to students how to be a part of a larger venture…a Google Doc adventure of sorts.
Now that these rabbits are out of the gate…the pack will follow.