I love to collaborate! I'm one of those teaching nerds that will take ideas from anyone anywhere. The book Thrive by Meenoo Rami was recommended to me by my friend Kimberley over at: 1stinMaine. Now as my Amazon account will tell you, I'm not one to refuse a book recommendation. It was a quick, easy read and I got 2 very important things out of it.
One-I became active on Twitter. The PLN's over there are made for nerds like me! I still haven't really figured everything out yet, have yet to join a chat. But I can see posts daily from other teachers, administrators, journalists--all with ideas in education. I follow some of my favorite authors and although I haven't had the nerve to do it yet, have seen them answer people's questions. Can you imagine being able to pick Donalyn Miller's brain or someone like Todd Whitaker's? I actually tweeted a poem my student wrote about Derrick Coleman (the Seahawks football player) to Derrick Coleman. There was no response, but there is a chance he read it-just that possibility put my student on cloud 9 for the day! One of our local sports celebrities just came to read to a campus in my district because of a Twitter campaign begging him to. People on there are so connected-I love it!
Two-EdCamp. In case you haven't heart of it-my understanding is that it's this grassroots effort by teachers to put on pd's that are more collaborative and meaningful than your average pd. Teachers show up and there is a discussion as to what they want to learn about for the day. Teachers are sharing their ideas with other teachers (fortunately sans powerpoints, etc.) and really just creating discussions about how to better their craft. I am attending my first one tomorrow and am excited about it. I can see how the no agenda part might scare people, but if that means what I'm learning about is meaningful to me, then I'll take it. My guess is the fact that these teachers volunteered to be there on a Saturday mean they are as passionate as I am. And it's all free! Google it and see if there's one in your area-they are cropping up in cities all over America.
I think collaboration is just so important in our business. Sometimes you aren't able to connect with people on your campus or in your district the way you'd like to-here are 2 ways you can change that! :)