Category Archives: collaboration

Team Teaching

Photo Credit: Omar Eduardo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Omar Eduardo via Compfight cc

I feel like our school has done a few things right that really improve it. One thing we do that I feel is very powerful is team teaching. I teach with a partner in an integrated social studies/ELA class. I so value working with another teacher and I could list many advantages to it, but the one I want to focus on for this post is the huge advantage for new teachers. This year we hired four new teachers as we are a new school adding another class of 100 students each year. Three of them are first year teachers. Also last year one of our original teachers was a first year teacher.

So my partner and I team teach a group of 50 students. The science and math teachers work by themselves half of the time and team teach the other half. Team teaching allows the new teacher to get their feet wet in the classroom without having to be alone with organizing a classroom, preparing content, discipline, and a host of other things. It allows the new teacher to learn from a master teacher over time and plan together. Team teaching is like a paid internship for the new teacher as they are never by themselves. I also think it stretches and grows the mentor teacher too.

From an administration point of view it does not have to cost any extra money because it can be the same teacher to student ratio just with the larger classes. The one problem many schools might have is the space to have these large classrooms, but other than that I think it is a simple yet powerful apprentice model. I think this model of team teaching could be a huge positive change in schools. It would help with retention of young teachers, bring energy to established teachers, and help build skills and confidence in new teachers. I can say I absolutely would have improved greatly as a young teacher if I would of had this opportunity.

My MACUL11 presentation

I presented for the second time at MACUL this year on the topic of collaboration based on the video games my students made with students in Vietnam. Overall I was very happy with how it went. I had less attendees than last year, but great conversations. My goal going in was to get the audience to participate and not just have me talk at them for an hour. I created a backchannel for the session and at first was disappointed that no one used it, but then I realized that was because they were having real conversations instead!

I would like to thank @bruce1lj@kchichester@TheNerdyTeacher, and my tech support @toddhower for their participation in my session. (I would thank the rest of you but do not know your twitter names) It was fun to meet these people face-to-face for the first time in my session, and they definitely added to the conversation. The highlight for me was Skyping in my collaboration partner Gary Bertoia from Vietnam followed by four of my students at school. The audience was able to ask them questions and hear about our project from multiple perspectives.

Here is my Prezi which probably will not make much sense without the audio 🙂

I Ustreamed the session, but forgot to start the recording until I was a few minutes in. The video is not so great but you can hear the discussions. The skype calls start at about the 33:30  mark if you want to jump to that part.

Here is the Livebinder that I created for my session. It contains a lot of information that was not talked about in the session, but to help you in your collaboration efforts including tools, collaboration examples, places to connect, and the Scratch games that the students created.