Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mentor Text for Persuasive Writing

Check out this New York Times Bestseller by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. As I searched for mentor texts to teach writing during this dreary snow day,  I ran across this great children's book. I can't wait to add it to our persuasive writing unit and have students add their own pages.

Is it a duck or is it a rabbit?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Basics of Virtual Co-teaching

Co-teaching is an education buzzword that has been around for MANY years.  My first experience with co-teaching was in...ahummm (I’m showing my age here)...2000. I must admit that back then I did not have a real understanding of co-teaching.

The past 2 years I’ve come to realize the power in co-teaching and am in LOVE. Not only have I had the opportunity to co-teach with amazing student teachers and incredible classroom teachers, I’ve also had the opportunity to virtually co-teach with teachers as far away as Europe and New Zealand.

Let’s start with what is co-teaching?

Co-teaching can be described as two teachers working together to instruct students and it can be implemented in many different forms.  I’ve listed a few examples below:

  1. One teach and one support - One teacher teaches the lesson.  The other teacher monitors student understanding and clarifies learning.  I love to use this strategy when creating anchor charts with students.  One teacher leads the class discussion while another teacher records on the anchor chart and adds clarification to the discussion. Note: The support teacher may or may not be the teacher who monitors and clarifies.
  2. Parallel teaching - Both teachers are teaching identical lessons but the class is divided into smaller groups.  This approach fosters balanced participation among students.
  3. Small group instruction - This is similar to parallel teaching except each teacher teaches a different lesson to their perspective small groups.  This allows the teacher to be an expert at 1 lesson that is taught multiple times during the instruction time.
  4. Team teach - I like to call this tag team.  The co-teachers plan instruction but 1 teacher leads a specific section while the other teacher supports.  The teachers swap back and forth roles throughout the lesson.  

Why co-teach?
In my opinion this is somewhat obvious.  When more than 1 teacher is teaching in a classroom you have a second pair of eyes, a second pair of hands, and another professional to collaborate with and reflect on the learning.  If “two heads can be better than one” then why wouldn’t we want two teachers working together to monitor data, plan instruction, give instruction, and assess student learning.

I’m sure you are thinking I get it, but what is virtual co-teaching...stay tuned to my next blog post or join us this summer in Philadelphia, PA for our presentation at ISTE 2015 (SORRY, I hate to watch a show that ends with "to be continued").

Co-teaching resources you must check out:

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!