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Effective Co-Teaching: Co-Planning for the Co-Taught Classroom

Planning together is the key to effective and efficient co-teaching. There are three essential levels needed to plan for effective co-teaching

June Erskine

on 4 June 2013

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Transcript of Effective Co-Teaching: Co-Planning for the Co-Taught Classroom

Level I: Planning that occurs prior to beginning Co-Teaching:
“Must-Have” Conversations Level II: Planning GPS units:
The Foundation of Effective Co-Teaching Level III: Planning Weekly:
“Touch Base” Planning The first level of planning should take place prior to the beginning of the school year or semester for the new co-teaching team. However, in the “real” world, if a team has started to co-teach, this planning should take place as soon as possible. Level I planning is designed to give co-teachers an opportunity to create a vision of how the co-taught class will be managed. How will we show parity/equality in our co-taught classroom? How will we introduce ourselves on the first day? How will we introduce ourselves to parents? How will we address instructional routines within our co-taught classroom? How will we address warm-up activities, vocabulary development, lectures and discussions, hands-on activities, writing activities, textbook reading, lesson reviews, and testing? How will we as a team address behavior management within our co-taught classroom? What are our expectations for student behavior with the noise level in the classroom? How will we ensure that the behavior intervention plans of students with disabilities are being implemented in our co-taught classroom? Level II: Planning GPS Units
The Foundation of Effective Co-Teaching
Planning Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) units is the second level of planning. With tongue in cheek, showing up and asking, “What are we doing today?” is not considered an effective strategy for co-teaching. However, co-teachers often find themselves in this situation. GPS unit planning allows co-teachers to effectively plan for longer periods of time, therefore making their use of time more efficient. Before the co-teachers can actually begin planning the GPS unit together, the general education teacher must bring a curriculum map for the course or grade level subject. This may have been compiled at the district level, at the grade or department level or by the individual teacher. Sharing this map with the special education co-teacher will provide valuable content expectations for the year. Before unit planning begins, the special education teacher brings the Individual Educational Plans (IEP) of students with disabilities that are in the co-taught class. If time has allowed and the co-teachers have had an opportunity to review the IEPs, then the special education teacher may complete the IEP Snapshot developed by Lisa Dieker (2006). This will serve as a reference to assist the co-teachers as they plan and retain a focus on the individual student’s goals, objectives, accommodations and/or modifications needed for learning. The special education teacher also will bring specific information about particular learning processes that impact the learning of the students with disabilities. Such information would include strengths and weaknesses students may have in attention, memory, visual-spatial, sequential, language, motor functioning, and high-order thinking (Ward and Anderson, 2005). It is important to remember that instruction and learning activities should allow students to utilize their strengths through differentiation. However, specialized instruction must be provided to remediate weaknesses. Questions to be considered when differentiating instruction, materials, and activities:
1. What different instructional approach should be considered for students with deficits in visuals, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic processing?
2. What different activities could we develop to assist students with processing deficits? Do some students with disabilities require adaptations to the activities in which the entire class participates?
3. What assistive technology is required to meet the needs of the students?
4. What are some alternative activities based on the students’ processing deficits? Level III: Planning Weekly:
“Touch Base” Planning
Co-teachers should carve out 30 minutes each week to reflect on the “teaching and learning” of the class. These reflections should include: *What worked and did not work?

*What do we need to do differently for those students that are not getting it?

*What revisions to instruction, materials, and learning activities are required?

*Have we monitored the data for IEP goals and objectives? References:
Friend, M. (2005). Successful co-teaching strategies: Increasing the
effectiveness of your inclusive program (Grades 1-12). Bureau of
Education and Research. Bellevue, WA. www.ber.org
Dieker, L. (2006). Successful strategies for middle and high school
Inclusion. University of Central Florida
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom
instruction that works: Research based strategies for increasing
student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development.
Ward, H., & Anderson, T. (2006). How to differentiate instruction in
the co-taught classroom. Student Achievement in the Least
Restrictive Environment (SA/LRE) Project. Georgia Department of
Thompson, M. Learning Focused Schools.
Wiggins, G. P., & McTight, J. (2005). Understanding Planning together is the key to effective and efficient co-teaching. There are three essential levels needed to plan for effective co-teaching:
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