Some weeks ago, I shared exciting news that my students were collaborating with a girls’ school in Israel on a joint wiki writing project. Just as we got our wikis off the ground, a teachers’ strike in Israel put our plans on hold. The strike has now lasted more than a month. If it is not resolved before the winter break in about three weeks, the project will be on hold indefinitely as my students will be writing a research paper from January to March.
I know that the teachers I am working with are saddened about this turn of events, and I think we all agree that the timing of our collaboration was unfortunate in light of the strike. However, I think our situation poses an interesting lesson for all of us who are interested in embarking upon global collaboration in our classrooms.
What do we do when the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley?
And what does it say about the project that the kids are still chatting through the discussion area of the wiki and friending each other on Facebook even though the project is on hiatus?
Many of my students feel a strong connection to Israel and have visited Israel at least once. Some of my students are Israeli. When an opportunity for my students to work with students in Israel on a “flat classroom” type of project, I jumped at the chance. I am pleased to introduce you to our project, which I am calling “Faces of Judaism.” Together with the Neveh Channah Torah High School for Girls, my students at the Weber School are exploring their Jewish identity through writing. Some questions guiding our exploration:
- What does it mean to be Jewish in Israel? In America?
- What is my home really like from my point of view as compared with how others see it or portray it in the media?
- Who am I, and how does my religion form that identity?
We are still very much in the nascent stages of our joint writing venture, and unfortunately, a teacher strike in Israel didn’t come at the most opportune time, but we are soldiering forward despite this setback.
You can check us out at the Weber Writers Wiki and Israel Faces Wiki.