Process over product…that’s what we’re often evaluating our students on, right?
This Course 2 Final Project was successful for me because it stimulated much-needed conversation and collaboration at my school. And even if we didn’t end up with a perfect polished product, we discussed, agreed, disagreed, and then agreed to disagree:). And that’s OKAY.
When I talk about “we,” I’m talking about the tech integrators and myself. I did end up collaborating with Coetailer Sanne, which was helpful and enlightening to see and understand issues other schools are going through; however, the most powerful part of this project happened right at my school (I’m the only COETAILer at my school). My tech integrators were tasked with the daunting task of creating a RUA (Responsible User Agreement) for the elementary school. Our school had recently adopted (like a week ago!) a new RUP for the entire school that is based off of the AUP from YIS and HKIS. I’m not thrilled with the new adoption, as I feel some parts are repetitive and there are some things missing; however, that isn’t my call to make:).
Back to the ES RUA…we decided to go the route that Taipei American School and other schools took–breaking the RUA into lower and upper school agreements. We thought the TAS cartoon AUP was brilliant as we all know that most kids (and adults for that matter) are visual learners. The only downside was that the cartoons/AUP stretched over several pages. Nonetheless, our school liked the idea of attaching some sort of image to text, as we are engaging students even more. We have some of our middle school students working on some cartoons to help illustrate the points for the upper school RUA. For the lower school RUA, we are going to attach an image to each statement.
My biggest push was that this document be not only a document–it needed to come alive. And how do we do that? We need to weave the document into our curriculum and class discussions. It needs to penetrate each of the subjects in an authentic and meaningful way. Why? So that it makes SENSE for kids, and it’s not just some piece of paper they signed off on in the beginning of the year in order to work on the iPad or computer.
Although this RUA doesn’t feel completely ‘right’ yet, I feel relieved knowing that it will be revisited each year, as it should be. What we’ve accomplished thus far is a feat in itself.
After reading several AUP final projects before posting this one, I have to say that one really seemed to call out to me. That was Grant Roll‘s, “The Big Four.” I’ve seen other COETAILers, like Michelle Lawgun reference the same idea of using the school’s values (and adding safety as a 5th) to tie in the AUP and continue teaching it throughout the year. As our ES handbook is currently being printed (with the new RUP and RUA), it will not be something that can be executed next year; however, I’d love to see our school move forward in that direction in the future.
*The first part of the Google doc below shows the final “product” that was decided upon [black print is the RUP for the whole school/ blue print is what we came up with for the lower school RUA (grades KG-gr2) / red print is for the upper school RUA (grades 3-5)]. This part of the document still needs work (adding the cartoons and images as well as some word-smithing), and that is why I’ve also added the “process” section (below the yellow dotted line). This is where conversations were continued (after meeting in person) and some real thinking came alive. I took the liberty of adding in various lesson plans that I though went with particular statements. I pulled these from Common Sense Media. These lesson plans wouldn’t be printed on our RUA, but as I mentioned before, I believe it’s critical for this document to come alive. And for teachers to be able to do that, they need to be supported and given resources.