Collaborative Connections with EdCo: Addison Barrack and Mike Mitchell

We’re pulling insights and shared experiences from EdCo Member, Addison Barrack of Cohort 3.  Addison recently collaborated with Mike Mitchell, finding a way for students to bring funds of knowledge to the classroom and present it with clay work.  Joining EdCo provides direct connection to amazing educators like Addison.  Click here to join Addison and hundreds of other teachers who have already benefited from the power of collaboration and the Educators’ Cooperative’s professional community. https://educatorscooperative.com/application/

One of my teammates is a MNPS EL Fellow, and her project centered on bringing students’ funds of knowledge into the classroom. In order to dive deeper, our team did a book study on Funds of Knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti, 2009) and collaborated with an anthropologist in Guatemala to learn more about the backgrounds of our indigenous students and the Guatemalan education system. 

After getting to know our families through home visits and homework assignments intended to generate dialog in our students’ homes about their families’ funds of knowledge, we started work on a migration project. This paralleled our units on migration of animals in science, our reading of Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight (Tonatiuh, 2018) in which we examined a character’s experiences with migration and wage theft during English class, our unit in math on measuring distance, and our unit in social studies examining push and pull factors of human migration. 

For the migration project, students crafted narratives about their own experiences with immigrating to the United States. Drawing inspiration from the artist Edgar Plastilina, our students created a series of backdrops using pastels as well as sketching and mosaic techniques to illustrate their immigration journeys. Guest artist, educator, and fellow EdCo member Mike Mitchell then joined our students virtually to show them techniques for working with clay. For the culminating product, students positioned their clay figures in front of the backgrounds and arranged the corresponding text so that their stories could be shared through artistic and written mediums. 

The artist’s name is Edgar Humberto Alvarez and Plastilina is the name of his website, and the Spanish word for clay.

The Educators’ Cooperative is a non-profit organization that provides a professional learning community for K-12 teachers. Created for teachers by teachers in 2016, EdCo provides professional development and support for educators to collaborate across sectors, disciplines, and career stages. EdCo aims to revolutionize teacher development and leadership by focusing on the essential agency, autonomy, and common ground all teachers share. EdCo is based in Nashville, Tennessee with a reach far beyond that physical location and potential for replication in communities throughout the nation. When educators collaborate, the future of education is greater than the sum of its parts.   

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