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I love this paragraph. The author, Parker, a grade three boy, certainly has some wisdom about  collaboration.

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He wrote this short paragraph reflecting on an inquiry unit focused on this question:

“How can we collaborate to solve design challenges?”

As a group of four teachers, we had engaged our students in several design challenges in which they worked in groups to practice and develop their collaboration skills. Small groups created marble runs, tall structures, bird’s nests, and stick ships, for example. In addition, with the use of capacity maps with clearly articulated essential learning outcomes, students tracked their progress.

Afterwards, students were invited to write a paragraph to give advice on how to collaborate. The paragraphs were delightful! I love the one posted here for two reasons.

Firstly, I appreciate the confidence he has in collaboration: how one gains friends through the process, the value of sharing ideas and the importance of being a team first. He says, “Trust me, it will work. I’ve done it.” ¬† Wonderful!

Secondly, I recognize the significance of this sentence, “You have to include all ideas and make a new one that’s better.” Too true.

Author Roger Martin in The Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking, (2009) would concur with Parker’s advice.

Martin defines integrative thinking as:

“The ability to face constructively the tension of opposing ideas and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new idea that contains elements of the opposing ideas but is superior to each.”

I wonder what our schools would look like if we all could collaborate like Parker.