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Published on Aug 4, 2015

Sharing is Caring!

Twenty-first century learning is enhanced by twenty-first century sharing! Collaboration among teachers creates a feeling of community between schools in a county as large as Baltimore County, Maryland. In 2013, I established an online network of Baltimore County first grade teachers on Edmodo that has now grown to over 290 members. My initial goal was to share resources in order to support one another as we transitioned to new curriculum. I began the site by personally creating and posting numerous interactive resources, including ActivInspire flipcharts for ELA, math, phonics, social studies, and science units. Teachers can access and modify any resource for their specific classroom. Why should we all recreate the wheel?

Edmodo has a chat feature as well, and throughout the year, teachers post questions to one another to clarify curriculum questions, request resources on various topics, and support one another by sharing successes!

In a world of teachers-pay-teachers, my colleagues appreciate the generosity of spirit enabled by my Edmodo group. The membership has expanded to over 290 teachers, support staff, and reading specialists. As the 2015-2016 school year begins, I will reach out to all new first grade teachers and invite them to join as well. In 2014, I co-created an Edmodo group for Baltimore County Kindergarten teachers that now has over 140 members. In 2015-2016, I plan to work across the elementary grades to create additional groups for second-fifth grade to respond to the ongoing requests I receive from teachers across the county who crave collaboration opportunities. One reason these sites have a long-lasting impact is that as our county changes or adapts its vision, the site can be used to support the vision. For example, as our county moved towards more small-group instruction, teachers began asking for and sharing resources related to Daily Five-style rotations. Teachers also post resources from different professional development meetings they attend. I envision the site in the upcoming school year becoming a way for teachers to establish personal connections that will facilitate having students share their digital products with other classrooms. In this way, the Edmodo site has become a one-stop-shop for resources, professional development, and support!

The second project I used as a vehicle to share high-quality curriculum and resources was through the BetterLesson.com Master Teacher Project. In the 2014-2015 school year, I was chosen as a Master Teacher for Science to write curriculum and provide professional development for teachers across the nation. Funded by the National Education Association, the Science MT’s curriculum aligns to the newly instituted Next Generation Science Standards. In my units, first grade teachers find lesson plans, digital and traditional resources, videos and photographs from my lessons, and my reflections about the standards, practice, student performance, and more!

The BetterLesson Science Project resources I have created are available for free to the world, and weekly I receive emails citing the number of downloads of my materials. I also cross-referenced my units on Pinterest and Teachers-Pay-Teachers (as free resources with links to the units). Many of the in-class video clips and reflections are available on YouTube as well. My YouTube video describing the science anchor chart called KLEWS has over 650 views and is now a part of Baltimore County’s science curriculum as well as recommended by the KLEWS creator, Carla Zembal-Saul of the University of Pennsylvania.

Working together, where can we go today?


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