Co-Planning: Science PT2

Thursday, September 24, 2015
Fast forward several days, and it's come time to sit down and co-plan for the next week. I contacted her (3 hour phone call ya'll!) and told her what my expectations of our co-planning meetings were:
  • sent her an empty co-planning format to use
  • review IEP goals, modifications, accommodations, and MTSS/RTI
  • UBD - assessments first - we'll figure out the steps together
I was shown some ideas on what tests she wanted to use, assignments she wanted to assign, anchor charts, and vocabulary. Now the best part of this was that she was willing to try out some things I recommended. In addition, it was much easier to show her the modifications (via Google Drive) I was planning on doing. This way, nothing is new to her - she knows exactly what all students are doing. This will be super important when it comes to periods where I am not in the room. 

So here are some of the things we ended up doing:

Anchor Chart that was used for whole class.
  • Vocabulary - She wanted to make sure vocabulary was something we used all the time in class, so we agreed on making a glossary at the end of the notebook (the last twenty pages). Many of the students in class were handwriting their definitions, while I provided an accommodated version of the weeks vocabulary. This was a print out of exactly the same content on the anchor chart, but it contained fill in the blank notes. We both wanted to ensure that the vocabulary was rich, where students could display their understanding in a different way, so we added a visual component to it. Lastly, we agreed fluency and accuracy was important to us. We included a pronunciation guide for our students in addition to the visuals and definitions.
An example of what we modeled for students to copy.

Notes I made for students to glue into their notebooks with adjusted
pronunciation and keyword fill in the blank notes.
  • Homework - My co-teacher had planned the week's homework, so we discussed what we wanted from the students and what kind of homework system we wanted to implement. I made sure she knew what I wanted to modify and how I was assigning things that was based on the students goals. I also showed her ways I was accommodating the executive functioning needs of our students - formatting, labels, etc. Her organizational skills are awesome, and I made sure she knew it. Having a week's worth of homework pre-planned is great for our students since it's not a rush at the end of the day to fill in assignments in agendas and students have a print out of what we expect to be completed.
Original Homework Calendar

Modified Weekly Homework Calendar.
  • Assessments - We spoke in-depth about rubrics and standards based grading. Since our middle school has transitioned to this grading system, my co-teacher created a rubric and an assessment based on the learning goals she wanted students to achieve. I made sure that we agreed on what we expected of students and that she knew the strengths and abilities of our diverse learners. In addition, I made sure the rubric aligned with the IEP goals of the student.
Original Document
Modified Assessment with modified standards based grading rubric.
  • Do-Nows & Exit Slips - I think do-nows and exit slips are great, but I also think they need to be modeled. How else will you great quality work if students don't know what quality work looks like? I made a suggestion that my co-teacher loved: use the first week of do-nows as a model. This means hand out pre-filled do-nows and exit slips to the students along with a rubric, and have the students grade for themselves. This way, all students are using higher level thinking because they have to read the answer, determine if it is accurate, grade, and provide feedback. In addition, I just have to provide accommodations (i.e. read out loud, different wording/checklist on rubric). 

Oh hey long post - why does all this matter? Co-planning and showing your co-teacher that you are a part of the classroom. It shows that you want to assist with planning and you want to help make some of the day-to-day decisions. Plus, it becomes a "we decided to do this" versus "I did this, and you did this." Last but not least, both teachers know exactly what's going on with both gen. ed and sp. ed students.

Not going to lie to ya, I took the world's longest nap after this co-planning session. My brain was DONE.


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