Task Jam 2015

Saturday, January 24th,  I had the great privilege to participate with project sites across the country in the Assignments Matter Task Jam (#tasksmatter).  The idea behind the day, made possible by the great thinking of Tanya Baker, was to give teachers across the country a day to work on creating assignments that ask students to delve into rich texts and do some kind of writing/creating/making in the process.

I’ll freely admit that as a member of the leadership team I was nervous about how the day would transpire. We met in Washington D.C. at the Annual Meeting in November to show the teacher consultants how they would pull this day off with their home participants, and people left fired up. It was exciting and groundbreaking and really exhilerating to watch  from all over the country who don’t even know one another come to an agreement about how best to pull off this day of learning, the Task Jam.

On the day of the Task Jam in January the teacher consultants could  request members from the leadersip team to call in and do a Google Hangout with their groups if needed. Participants recorded their findings on our G+ community as well.

There were so many things that could go wrong: the internet connections, the snow storm, the participants could rebel, the communication of who was presenting when…so many things. But they didn’t.

In fact, I had a blast that day. I felt energized after talking to the Kent State Writing Project crew. In discussing our experience with the Literacy Design Collaborative, it reminded me why I really like the new standards and how much I have learned since I began my work with the LDC and the rest of the Assignments Matter Leadership Team.

The conversation reminded me how I now have the ability to create assignments in my classes that allow students to work on skills and create critical thinking.  It reminded me about the things that matter to me: teaching my students skills they will use when they leave me.

These reminders, these discussions we have with one another, are the most important aspect of the work we do in the writing project. We have people from all over the country we can tap into in order to make complex thinking happen in our clasrooms,

If we put teachers in a space together, they will find a way to make great learning happen in their classrooms.