Thursday, August 29, 2013

Starting the year in the co-teaching classroom

“You can’t teach a child to swim in a parking lot.” That statement was made by a man with cerebral palsey.  As a child, he was placed in a “language classroom” in which not one of the students could speak.  His speech pathologists gave him strategies to make his speech more intelligible, however, he was unable to use those strategies until he went home and interacted with the neighborhood kids.  Fortunately, his parents eventually advocated for him to be in a general ed classroom so that he could verbally interact with his peers.

We don’t ever want to go back to that era. 

As I visit our co-teaching classrooms and consider the benefit to our kids—all of them, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the work behind the scenes.

Teambuilding: It’s very important, especially in a classroom with a great deal of diversity that teachers work deliberately to develop a sense of community.  These students begin every morning with a greeting to launch their morning meeting.

Meeting with specials teachers, recess staff, lunchroom staff, etc.:  The school social worker and I met with the science, music, PE, and ESL teacher so that we could share information regarding all of the students with behavior or learning needs.  The ensuing discussion helped to stress the importance of staying in the “adult voice” as well as being a calming influence.

Planning and consideration of the role each of the co-teachers takes during various lessons and workshop times:  This lesson plan template can be used by co-teachers to help guide them in planning.  co-teaching planning template