In my new role with the RECIT Provincial Service, I work with our RECIT AGE team, teachers, and consultants from across the province to build resources and create connections. The Quebec Provincial Social Integration Network is a great example of how all our teamwork comes together!
The Quebec Provincial Social Integration Network grew out of a project that we started last year, with my new role with the RECIT AGE Provincial Service. In meeting with Social Integration (SI) teachers across the different school boards, one common challenge that many expressed was their feeling of isolation. SI teachers worked well with other teachers in their board, but didn’t know each other and didn’t have many opportunities to collaborate with their peers outside of their centres.
In talking with these teachers, my colleague Tracy Rosen and I discovered that there were many similarities in what they were doing and creating and we saw great opportunities for teachers to connect and share. Many of the teachers were creating similar resources and they didn’t have an effective way to share them.
Building the SI Dream Team
We started by inviting a team of Social Integration teachers to get together and talk. These teachers were from multiple school boards and they nicknamed themselves the SI Dream Team. The SI Dream Team talked and brainstormed about what they needed, and together they realized that the two biggest challenges they faced were not having connections with their peers, and not having access to the great resources that other teachers across the province were creating. From these discussions, they decided to build a website and choose Google Sites as their tool to do so. Google Sites allowed them all to contribute to the creation, without spending time learning new tools and technology.
Our website, which the team named the Quebec Provincial Social Integration Network website (http://bit.ly/quebecsi) includes links to the different Quebec SI programs in our Centres, a variety of free curriculum and assessment resources, links to conferences and workshops for ongoing professional development, and tools for networking like a community calendar.
… so while we originally set out to build an online resource, we ended up building a community too! Tracy wrote a great article on PD Mosaic about how this initiative organically evolved into a Community of Practice, be sure to check it out:
This school year, our network is continuing to flourish and the SI Dream Team is changing and growing. Emilie Bowles, from the RECIT AGE Regional Service, is now working with us to help coordinate the resource too.
Once the team had the site framework together, we decided to get feedback from the SI network before we launched it. Back in September, we hosted an Après-Cours FGA webinar with the help of Richard Painchaud to provide all of the SI teachers in the province with a sneak peek at the Quebec SI website to gather their feedback and preview what we’d been working on. This webinar provided us with lots of constructive feedback that we were able to integrate into the site before we launched.
The webinar also provides an overview of all the different sections of the Quebec SI website and how the various resources can be used in your SI classroom. Watch the video if you’d like to know more:
Workshop and SI Website Launch at QPAT
Just last week, a team of teachers from the Network, led by Matthew Kennedy (Lester B. Pearson School Board) and Tara Wheeler (Riverside School Board) hosted a workshop at the QPAT Preconvention. This session connected SI teachers across the province and also served as our official launch event for the Quebec SI website.
The SI workshop started with teachers and consultants taking turns sharing their best practices around Social Integration. We then broke up into smaller teams to identify common problems and brainstorm solutions. We also co-created SI resources, like Social Stories and activities, that we are now in the process of adding to the Quebec SI website.
Now that the Quebec SI website is up and rolling, what we need to make it successful is your participation. If you are a Quebec Adult Social Integration teacher, we want you to start using the site and hopefully, become part of our network. We’d also love for you to be a part of our future events and collaborate with us to pool more resources, in whatever capacity makes the most sense for you. (No huge commitment necessary. We realize time can be tight!)
At the moment, we are looking to document different SI classrooms to share ideas and experiences, especially if you are using technology in your classroom to engage your learners. If you are interested in working with us or sharing what’s happening in your SI classroom, please reach out to me or any of the members of the SI Dream Team by clicking on our email addresses at the bottom of this page.