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Teacher Collaboration

Teacher Collaboration

Cold Spring School is not just a school for children - it is also for the grownups. Focusing on the collective knowledge and thinking of the adults makes us all better educators, better human beings. We also know that the most impactful learning experiences for children come from creating a culture of thinking in which children and teachers are learners, thinkers, and problem solvers. 

Our faculty gain so much from the exchange of ideas and resources, observations in classrooms, discussions around student learning, and connections with each other on a professional and personal level, even as we face constraints like not having enough time to collaborate in the midst of our busy days. Building ideas and deepening relationships at every opportune moment, whether it’s when passing each other in a hallway or during a faculty meeting, is so important. 

What’s unique about Cold Spring’s teachers is the way in which they think about co-creating and layering their curriculum. It is a careful, iterative, playful process between classroom and special area teachers that include children’s voices and curiosities. Designing backwards and then working slowly and methodically over weeks or months towards an end goal allows teachers to be creative, meet children where they are, and make adjustments along the way.

Here is an example of a long-term collaboration between one of our K/1 classes and Art from the 2020-21 school year  -

Inspired by Black History month, Kim’s K/1 class read about Christian Robinson, an incredible illustrator, author, animator, and designer. Children used his work as an inspiration to write true stories about their own lives. Over many months, children used the collaging technique to create beautiful books with all the components in it - a front page, back page, dedication page, and an author’s biography. They spent time during Art class, and in Writer’s Workshop to create these personal stories which all included a beginning, middle and end - all in their own words. Take a look at some of the creations. 

Over the years, I’ve realized that the finest practitioners of collaborative work are teachers who are curious, those who engage in dialogue with each other and approach teaching with an openness to learn. For them, the inspiration to collaborate comes from asking our children to do the same. For my part as a Director, I am committed to continuing to make time and space for teacher connection, growth and collaboration - an aspiration which I know is easier blogged than done!

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