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The Seeds of Collaboration...

By Ivy Waite

Walking around CSS today was much like the other days that I have been fortunate enough to spend at this school. As a teacher new to both the profession and the school, I seem to see things through a different lens... Teaching partners working together during their regular, scheduled planning periods; teachers team teaching in the library with 50 students; a lesson study involving teachers from multiple schools; this is incredible stuff! The real power in these events is the impact that they have on student learning. In all instances of collaboration at CSS it is evident that authentic student engagement and success are the main focus.

Through my different lens, an appreciation for and curiosity about the power of collaboration has begun. Working with my teaching partner, grade, and subject team members has been challenging me daily to reflect upon my own practice. What is the real difference that collaboration can make in transforming teaching and learning? What does it really mean to collaborate? What are the most effective ways to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that a spirit of collaboration can present? How do students and teachers collaborate among themselves, and among each other?

I find myself reflecting on how this all began, and what we all did when presented with the seeds of collaboration upon coming to CSS...

When I was told that I would have time to work with my teaching partner Jaime Groeller almost daily to plan collaboratively, I wondered how we would possibly make this work. What if we had different pedagogies? What if we didn't get along? What if??? Soon enough though, my worries were extinguished when I saw that she put as many exclamation points in her email to me as I did in mine to her. I was very excited by this first glimpse into our partnership.

Once Jaime and I began working together, we quickly realized that this is a match made in heaven.

This glimpse of our massive, eleven page year plan is illustrative of what happens when two brains combine their resources. Compared to past plans, this year's is incredibly detailed and expansive in it's scope and sequence. Naturally, it is a GoogleDoc that we both add to and change when inspiration or motivation sets in. What would have normally taken me endless hours and limitless stress was created casually over a period of weeks (that soon turned into months) by the two of us. I can confidently say that I can sleep easier at night knowing that we have the next seven months mapped out. There is no doubt about the direction that we are headed in, or what we have chosen to do with the seeds of collaboration that were presented to us.

I can honestly say that I have been continually amazed at what can happen when teachers work together openly in the spirit of true collaboration. This is more than just sharing ideas, but the process of working together to achieve a common goal. True collaboration is a process in which two or more people co-conceive, design, execute and reflect upon teaching and learning.

It is this process that ensures our students are engaged in meaningful, authentic, engaging, inquiry based learning.


  1. Hi Ivy: This is very impressive. I am wondering if I could get a copy of this that is easier for me to read. I really like this example of both collaboration and planning and would like to be able to use it for my teaching at university level. Please let me know at

  2. Hi Susan,

    If you click on the screenshot above it will take you to the GoogleDoc version of this year plan. From there you can download the document and work with it however you like.

    Thanks for reading!