COETAIL Course 1 Project and Reflection

My final project for Course 1 of COETAIL at YIS is a collaborative blog unit that focuses on culture and digital citizenship.  It begins as a collaborative class activity and then expands into collaboration on a larger scale.  The “tweet” of it’s description would be:  “a project that allows student teams opportunities for research, creativity, and collaboration with students from around the world.”  The full description of the unit is contained in the Google Doc that I have embedded at the end of this post.

In thinking about this final project,  I consulted with my teaching team and shared many ideas, all of which are on our radar now.  We decided the best option would be the “collaborative blog” idea since we have just launched a school-wide digital portfolio initiative using Edublog.  The theme of the blog project, “culture”, is based upon the fact that each of our social studies units focuses on a particular culture of the world.

We are excited at the possibilities of this project.  Not only will we be reinforcing information that we have already covered about the elements of culture, but we will be giving students opportunities to collaborate, create, and model good digital citizenship.  It’s a great way to learn all about the bells and whistles of blogging in a small group setting, before students embark on creating a blog of their own.  The digital citizenship “mini-lessons” that are embeded into this unit will be a valuable part of ongoing instruction to help students understand the importance of building a positive online presence.

Using the UbD unit planner was a great experience for me professionally.  I have read about UbD and even attended EARCOS conference sessions with Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe presenting, but this was the first time I had ever formally used the format.  While I consistently referred to the UbD website to remind myself of the terminology, I’m pleased with my final product.  This is an efficient and effective way to approach unit planning and documentation.

So where am I now?  I’m happy to say that I no longer dread beginning a blog entry.  I’m gaining more confidence each time I post and receiving a comment on one of my posts sends me over the edge with excitement.  I’m learning so much from the members of this learning cohort.  COETAIL at YIS is hosting a group of outstanding thinkers and I’m happy to be able to take advantage of that.  Thanks to Kim and Adam for being awesome facilitators.

I’m keen to learn more and relieved that I’m not completely wiped out after the first course.  I’m tired…just not wiped out.  This course has been a real challenge for me and I have worked hard.  It’s paid off; because, I find that what I am learning can often be applied immediately to my teaching and I am making every effort to do just that.  So, my teaching has been affected and that has trickled down and affected the teaching of my team members.  We are making some exciting changes.  Course 2 will no doubt bring on similar challenges and improvements to my teaching.  That’s why I am here.


Global Flags Photo:

UbD Photo:


About Jamie

I am currently a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at The American School in Japan.
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2 Responses to COETAIL Course 1 Project and Reflection

  1. Hi Jamie,
    This sounds like a very exciting project with many great student objectives; this is the kind of learning experience that should stay with the students for a lifetime. I am glad to see you jumping ahead with this. I am wondering if you already have specific schools or academic communities in other parts of the world who are poised to respond to your students as they begin to post their blogs and look for students around the world to interact with. How much of the response will be serendipitous and how much will be planned? Have fun with your project!

  2. Kim Cofino says:

    Fabulous! Love the project idea – a great way to get students collaborating and to start exploring a new tool, and I love reading about how you were able to bring some new ideas from this course into your work at your school! I’m so glad that you’re no longer dreading blog posts, I think (and hope) they will become even more valuable as the program continues. Thank you for all the effort and energy you’ve put into the course so far! Looking forward to number 2!

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