Co-Teacher Must Haves #3 (Partnership)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Now we're getting into the good stuff - figuring out what the partnership will look like in the classroom!

In the beginning of the year, Julia and Sheila (who I totally want to be when I grow up. #goals. Yes, I said "when I grow up") met with staff to discuss what inclusion is, will look like, how it works, etc. They were awesome. I received a co-teaching binder that had all this stuff in it. The one piece of "stuff" that really left an impact on me and my first year of inclusive teaching? A checklist. Check it out below.




AddYou can find it here, on page 5.
I spent a lot of time looking at this checklist throughout the year. Especially, during the times when the issue of "Ms. N isn't in the room all day, therefore it's not co-teaching" or the equally popular "we're not parallel teaching, therefore it's not co-teaching."

Let's face it, the image of co-teaching is not limited to two teachers in the same room, all day, every day.

Co-teaching is a partnership. There's just no way around it. The best way to put it is: if one person is doing something, then the other is doing something. There's no room for passively sitting in the room. Although, I have to admit, I've done that in classrooms where the teacher would not give me any control/ wasn't budging/ was on a power trip. Regardless, don't do it! It sucks! Refer to my "Co-teaching and some feels" entry.

That's where this awesome checklist comes into play. I've used this more as a justification - is what I'm doing considered co-teaching? According to this list I am. Huzzah!

This checklist really helps to prepare both teachers. I keep saying this over and over again, but it is seriously awkward the first two months of co-teaching. You don't know your co-teacher well enough, your teaching styles might not be the same, you're probably going to talk over one another, there's probably going to be awkward moments of silence while you both try to figure something out, etc. This checklist eliminates most of those problems.

Some of the things listed are pretty obvious. I mean, most teachers are circulating and checking for understanding, right? Take some time and review this checklist, it really helps you to start thinking about how both teachers can assist one another and/or design activities and defining the roles each teacher plays during those activities!

Here's an example for ya!

Problem:

  • We have a mixed classroom of both 6th and 7th grade students. There were some issues in the beginning. For example, determining what curricula to teach, how to approach both groups of students, etc. 


Solution:

  • Julia came in and observed our classroom and then recommended that we station teach. 


Implementation:

  • We made a powerpoint presentation that showed students what the procedure will be like and expectations from the students during group work and transitioning to a different station.
  • My co-teacher Sandy's role was to direct teach the students new content and doing foldables with the students. My role was to review previous skills with students who did not understand, go over homework, study tips and tricks (PEMDAS, CUBES) on how to solve this problems.
  • A third group was made with our paraprofessional. She would oversee students working online (IXL, TTM, etc)
  • Students were given an informational sheet that contained: login information, which group they belonged in, and a schedule that informed them where they would go on specific days of the week.
  • Each station was 20 minutes long, with both of us checking in with one another 5 minutes before switching.
Julia has a great blog entry on what this looks like (with pictures)! You can see it here.


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