Build Collaborative Partnerships with Colleagues

Last year I was moved up to fourth grade after teaching first grade for 16 years.  All of sudden I found myself  with an accumulation of 16 years’ worth of books, materials, ideas, and experience that was almost worthless in fourth grade.  In terms of curriculum, I was starting from scratch.

But one of the fourth grade subject areas is Virginia Studies.  I thought, “At least I can do this one.  I’ve lived my whole life in VA – how hard could this be?”  Silly me.  Have you seen the VA Studies standards?

So, of course I relied on my team mates for ideas and materials.  But as a team, we really didn’t have a whole lot, either.
“Whatcha got for this one?”
“A study guide and a foldable.”

Hmmm.  Okaaay.

So we looked to our county for resources – again, not much to offer.  We started to look outside of our building.  One team member had a daughter in 4th grade at a different school.  I recalled some of the things my own sons had brought home when they were in fourth.  I called an old friend who taught fourth across the state.  We searched Pinterest, TpT, VDOE…

I soon realized that we had the same problem for all our subject areas.  We don’t use textbooks in our district anymore and every week we were scrambling for resources.  This was getting time consuming.

To add to our situation, we are in Virginia and we teach the VA Standards of Learning.  Completely unique to our state.  Resources for Common Core and other states and countries were often compatible, but sometimes they just weren’t.

One night, I was discussing something in a Facebook group with a few teachers from across the country (and a few from across the world.)  We were sharing ideas, suggesting links, brainstorming together.  And it hit me…

This is what we needed to help solve our curriculum problems!  Collaboration!  We already collaborated in our own school and in our own district.  We needed to hear what teachers in other schools and districts across the state of Virginia were doing!

And the VA SOL Teacher Support groups were born!  

The Facebook groups are a place for Virginia teachers to share ideas, resources, links, and ask questions of each other specifically related to teaching the VA SOLs.

Here’s how the groups work:

  • There are six groups divided by grade level or specialty.
  • The groups so far include K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, VAAP, and a Gifted group.  If there is interest, we can add a group for ELL.
  • The groups are closed so discussion is hidden unless you are a member.  We hope this allows for more candid discussion.
  • To join the groups, click on the link, then click “Join.”  An admin will add you as soon as possible.  You can also be added by any current member.
  • If you are already a member, please feel free to add your friends and colleagues.

What Do I Do Once I Join the Group?

  • If you have a question, post it and others will jump in to help.  
  • If you find helpful and relevant ideas, resources, blog posts, links, or giveaways you may share the link with the group.   
  • However, this is not a marketing platform for members.  While many of us are sellers on TPT, please keep in mind that this group is for ideas and support for Virginia teachers.  Please do not promote your store, blog or other similar things unless someone specifically asks for ideas or resources.   Please do not use this group as a place to enhance your advertising.

If you post an unsolicited item from your store, it must:

  • Be free forever.
  • Be relevant to Virginia.

If you post an unsolicited post from your blog, it must:

  • NOT be an ad for a product.
  • Be relevant to Virginia.

If you want to share actual files, please follow these rules:

  • Please share files using the File tab at the top of the FB group page.
  • Files must be copyright free.   Files should be either created by you or you should have permission to share.
  • Be aware that files you share are available to anyone with the link to be downloaded.  If you send editable files, they can be downloaded and edited by others.
  • Do not post paid or free files from Teachers Pay Teachers, Teachers’ Notebook, Etsy, or similar sites.  You may share links only.

We feel like these guidelines will help the groups remain fluid and productive.  If you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free t message one of the admins.  You can find us by clicking on the word "MEMBERS" just under the header of the page, then click on "ADMINS."

Below the groups and links are listed so feel free to come and join any groups you need!   Please feel free to share this link with teachers in your schools.  The more teachers involved, the more sharing there will be.  We are looking forward to collaborating with our Virginia colleagues!



  1. Thank you so much for organizing these. You are doing a great job monitoring them and making them a useful tool to teachers. :-)

  2. These groups are very helpful to Va. Teachers! Thanks!