Co-Planning: Science PT1

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Another year, another class that I'm co-planning for when I'm not there - which is okay, it's expected.

Science class with my co-teacher. Students are creating group project boards.
I'm only in science for 1 period, but I need to provide the supports for all the other periods. I think my favorite way of describing how I hound down teachers for lesson plans and setting co-planning meetings is "getting your co-teachers in the groove." It's positive, sounds groovy, and makes me want to dance awkwardly in the hallways. Yup.

This is my first year working with the new science teacher. So, I'm not going to lie ... my science co-teacher was super overwhelmed and started crying when I first approached her. Whoops. She had no clue what I was expecting and wasn't prepared to meet. That's fine. I'm empathic, so I gave her some wiggle room. I told her I wanted her lesson plans by a certain date. The lesson plan for the first week was primarily Socio-emotional learning/ modeling appropriate talk, procedural set ups, and some hands on activities with appointed roles for students. Very little modifying to happen.

We discussed her classroom instead - I asked her if we could design some spaces specifically designated for students who require iPads, places to keep their belongings, and space for students to see teacher created examples. She's super supportive and has helped to create these spaces well ahead of time/ before we begin teaching some major content. See some examples below:

  • iPad Storage - A lot of students on my caseload will need modified notes, that has to be read aloud to them OR they will need vocabulary assistance using Quizlet. I use the iBooks and Quizlet App for science last year and it worked really well for the students, thus I plan on bringing it back. I asked my co-teacher for a safe place to store these iPads, but is also accessible by the students. We decided on a red bin, near her desk. I'll talk about iBooks and Quizlet another day.
  • Belongings Storage - Many of our students can't keep track of which notebook to bring to class or will lose their notebook if they are held responsible for it. Last year, these students kept their notebook in the cupboard. This year, we decided that the students will keep their notebooks and science folders in class, based on a color coded (based on grade level) and name labeled system. Each student in the middle school has their own bin to keep their science materials in class. In addition, a system was created where each book bin is labeled with the same color as their grade level, and by their group number. Thus, all students will know where the materials are and where their materials should be. This makes my life much easier since I can easily input modified science journal pages and have access to them pretty much whenever I need them. In addition, it's much easier for me to save all science related work for data purposes since student work will all reside in their bin.
Student reference storage - numbered by group and
color coded grade level.
Personal Bins per student, color coded grade level
and labeled with student name.

  • Teacher Created Examples - A simple way of differentiating for ALL students. We plan on implementing group project boards this year (just to reinforce Kagan group skills), thus students who need visuals can easily see what our expectations are for these boards. This makes my life easy because it's like anchor charting, students see the example and they can recreate it with their group. No need for me to create modified project boards per student. The questions are given in clear and concise language and are read aloud. Students are working cooperatively, therefore they hold each other accountable for the end product. I can easily assign a specific role to a student, and they can actively participate in the group without a completely different board in their notebook. Team members can help a student if they are struggling or I can have a peer leader assist the group.
Teacher Modeled Project boards.
  • Co-Teacher Storage - It's really hard to always be bringing things into different rooms. Last year, I had bins set up at all rooms I visited. This year, I'm going to try out th emagazine holder. it's slimmer and easier to carry if I have to move it around. I asked for a space where I can drop off modifications for the day, and was told that she had handouts organized into magazine holders behind her desk. This is where she will reach for any handouts. We decided that I'll label any modified handouts with the student names and she'll make sure she add it to the correct stack of handouts. Purrfect!
Assignment Bins labelled with unit name.
I drop off modifications, labeled with student names in each bin.


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