Last Friday I had the chance again to sit down with James Dykstra, a history teacher here in Winnipeg. Together the two of us worked on mapping out the Teachmeet/UnConference sessions that we are building for the Manitoba Social Science Teachers Association conference this fall.
We had some great discussions, and I think we have a good plan in place for what we are going to try. The question is how do we facilitate discussion amongst teachers, without speaking for the entire process ourselves.
The plan we've come up with is to recreate the social bookmarking experience with live action. Now I would love for everyone to pull out their laptops and iPads to share resources, but we're starting small here and I don't want to spend an hour explaining Delicious.
So we're going to have each teacher write down a website or resource, attach their name or online handle, and tag it with three words from a predetermined vocabulary based on themes within the Manitoba curriculum.
Each of these will be written on construction paper and then posted on the wall, to get people up and moving. After collecting connections based on grade level, we're going to try and physically resort the items by tags, as a way to show the connections between different teachers in the room. Then we can let those teachers speak to each other in groups about common goals or challenges they face in the classroom.
I'm not sure how we will get it all done in 50 minutes, but I think it will be a unique experience compared with most workshops and professional development. I'm excited about how it will develop further over the coming months. And of course we're going to videotape it all to record the experience.