Collaborating & Connecting


I have always enjoyed seeking out resources from current and former colleagues and my PLN both near and far.  I may not have all the answers or solutions, but I can use my resources to seek out answers and solutions. Having the ability to find and use available resources to achieve goals opens up new opportunities for myself as well as my students.

It’s not the lack of resources that cause failure, it’s the lack of resourcefullness that causes failure.

-Tony Robbins

During the past few months, I have utilized my resourcefulness to build a final unit project that would have a great impact on students as well as our community. Being resourceful was a major component of my final project. Let me take you on a “tour” of how resourcefulness played a major role in the success of my final project.

Former Colleagues

At my former school, the fourth-grade class did a Social Justice Issues Unit each year that ended with TED Talks. Seeing this unit play out at my former school, inspired me to start this project at my current school. Our fourth graders have done a Social Justice Issues Unit each year, and now that I was teaching fourth grade this year, I knew that this was the unit I wanted to revamp for my COETAIL final project.

Before I started planning out my unit, I first reached out to the fourth-grade teacher at my last school.  My former colleague gladly shared her insights and resources to get me started.  Not only were her resources helpful, but so was the advice she gave along the way. It was also a good feeling to be able to share all the new resources I had created with her as she begins to teach this unit to her students in Korea.

After finishing my unit, I was happy to share the new resources I had created!
Marie generously shared her resources to get my going.
Social media makes it easy to connect with former colleagues!

Blog Post Comments

Although I felt super busy throughout the teaching of my final project, I did my best to check in with what the other COETAILers were doing.  Reading the blog posts was a great source of inspiration, not only during Course 5 but throughout my COETAIL experience.

My husband kept telling me each week as I put off writing another blog post, “You overthink your blog posts. It doesn’t have to be something big or groundbreaking. Just write about what you are doing at school.” He was right and I was reminded of this each week as I read the cohort 12 blogs. Some posts were “big” like Luis’s post “Speak Up,” while others were about the great work being done in the classroom like Holly’s post, which was a great reminder of the resources I have available to assist students with writing.

Connecting with COETAILers

In addition to using the Cohort 12 blog posts as inspiration, I was able to lean on my cohort for advice, tips, and encouragement. Using a Twitter group chat, we were able to connect easily. This was a great place to go when I needed clarification about a deadline or just a boost of motivation.

Luis also organized a Google Meet session for all of us to meet “face to face.” This was a nice way to put a face to a name since we had all been reading each other’s blog posts and collaborating on group projects during each course.

Cohort 12 supporting each other along the way.

Sharing Resources & Learning on Twitter

Although I used Twitter before COETAIL, I have been more interactive on Twitter recently. Rather than only sharing something cool that I did with my students, I am trying to share resources I find useful more often. I even found some good resources from the new Cohort 13 group! I also utilized my PLN to find ideas and inspiration.

Local & Global Connections

During Course 5, I sought out deep learning opportunities that would support the 6 C’s for my students. One way that I was able to build citizenship and character was by connecting students with both global and local experts. By connecting students with experts on the social issues they were researching, students gained knowledge that deepened their empathy towards others. Their connections with these experts also gave them a first-hand account of real-world issues and how they might be solved.

The Marketing Director at my school helped me connect students researching gender equality with EuroCham in Vietnam’s co-chair of Human Resouces and Employment Rights. We were able to connect with Mrs. Galeski via Google Meet. This was an excellent way for my students to learn about what is being done right here in the country we live in to support gender equality.

Another group of students researching the long-lasting effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam was able to connect through Zoom with Vietnam War Veteran, Mr. Searcy. Mr. Searcy is living in Vietnam and works with Project Renew, a group dedicated to cleaning up Agent Orange and landmines left over from decades of war.

(Connecting with Mr. Searcy to arrange a Zoom time)

Additionally, I connected students with Dr. Plastic, a local Vietnamese man who runs a small recycling center dedicated to educating locals about the plastic issue in Vietnam and an environmental scientist living in Canada.

Students connected with Dr. Plastic via Zoom.
Making global connections through Skype a Scientist.

Building Character by Showing IT!

One of the things I wanted to do with my students is take them on a tour of several different social enterprises within our community. There are so many people doing great things right here in Hanoi, and this unit on Social Justice Issues was the perfect fit for connecting students with people who are actually doing something to make a difference.

I connected with KOTO Villa and Simple Coffee to arrange for a field trip during the teaching of my final project. We were all set to go on March 19, but then sadly there was a small COVID outbreak and we had to cancel our trip as we went to home learning.

Emails setting up a plan for our field tip.

Although we were unable to go on the field trip, I was able to share and watch this inspiring TV interview with the owners of Simple Coffee who also run Imago Work, a training facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Students were particularly inspired as one of the owners is a former teacher at our school. It was cool to hear that a few of my students even went to visit Simple Coffee on their own after watching the interview.

Utilizing School Community

I also found good opportunities to involve those within my school community. Our marketing department caught wind of our Social Justice Issues Unit and helped connect us with experts. They also interviewed my students and wrote a Facebook post on our school’s page.

I also reached out to a high school teacher after learning that our high school communications class would be preparing TED Talks. These students came to offer feedback to my students before giving their final presentations.

Upcoming Opportunities to Expand My PLN

Recently I was contacted by Kim Cofino asking if I would be interested in appearing on the Podcast Coach Better. I’ve never done a podcast before, but I thought this would be a great experience! I’ll be joining a group for their new series on Women Who Lead and The Coach on April 27.

Lastly, our cohort leader, Joel, Tweeted about a project his Grade 1 students were doing at ISP. I’ll be connecting my students in Vietnam with a class in Panama as we track patterns in the sky. We will hopefully be doing a virtual meetup over Google Meet soon as well!

Connecting and collaborating with others has taught me that people genuinely want to help, share, and support each other! I am surprised at how much I was able to use my PLN to create a deep learning experience for students. Even though my COETAIL journey is coming to an end, I will continue to be resourceful and utilize those both near and far!

Author: Andrea Goodrich

I am an international educator working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have been working overseas for the past 13 years. I started my career in a bilingual school in Guayama, Puerto Rico as a fifth and sixth-grade reading teacher. Then I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and taught fourth grade for two years. While living in Ecuador, I met my husband and we moved to Seoul, South Korea together. In Seoul, I taught fifth grade for two years and then moved into a literacy specialist role. We are now teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam with our two Korean rescue dogs.

2 thoughts on “Collaborating & Connecting”

  1. Thanks Andrea, for taking us on a trip through resourcefulness! Wow you have been busy! This post shows how you have been really pushing yourself to connect out to the cohort and even further beyond. I am so impressed in all that you have achieved through connecting and collaborating both for your students and others in other schools. When we make the shift to share our thoughts, ideas, resources and time then we are actively saying that that is of value to us (and our students).

  2. Amazing blogpost, Andreea!

    I am so impressed. Congratulations! Way to go! I chat this out in our tweeter messaging post. I hope our peers will get inspired as well.
    Lots of success further!
    Best, Simona.

Comments are closed.