Jumping aboard the Co-Teaching Train
This is my first year that I’ve had the privilege to co-teach a class. After reflecting on the first 2 1/2 weeks, here are some thoughts:
Things going well:
1. Formative Assessment – My co-teacher and I have freedom to regularly require students to do a problem on a 1/2 sheet and turn it in. One of us can walk around to make sure students are on task and available for students with questions. The other can collect the sheets and offer quick feedback. We do this, typically at the beginning and end of class.
2. Yin and Yang – My co-teacher has a great calming affect on our classroom. This is especially good for students who panic when they don’t understand. I can think of one student, in particular, who needs regular reassurance. I, on the other hand, can best be described in three words, “too much caffeine.”
3. Foldables – I think these have been helpful to all of my students for taking down key information and/or formulas. In addition, students with IEPs may be allowed to use them on quizzes and tests.
4. Planning – We have a common plan! Though my co-teacher is often running around meeting with students during this period, he usually makes time to meet with me briefly to go over the next day’s lesson. That’s been fabulous!
1. Differentiation – It is still a difficult balance to not overwhelm some and bore others. One day, as an exit slip, we gave a more challenging problem to about 5 students that I had printed out earlier. It’s progress, but we’ve got a ways to go.
2. Grouping – Though it is nice to be able to group students who are stronger with some who are weaker in order to explain misconceptions etc., some of the stronger students are leaving the weaker in the dust. Should we group our weakest students together with either my co-teacher or I to coach them? Not sure.
3. Collaboration – There is not enough collaboration in this group yet. I’m not sure if weaker students are intimidated by the stronger or just have lost interest. I could also do more to encourage the communication. I thought about doing some brain-based instruction. Thoughts?
As I mentioned, this is my first year as a co-teacher and I’d love some feedback. Those who have been doing it forever, fill me in! 🙂