Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 6 -- The Co-Teaching Edge

This chapter is all about utilizing the community in educating your students. How are you involving "co-educators" in your classroom? This may include bringing others into your classroom, taking your students outside of the school walls for lessons, or getting parents more involved in your classroom and their children's education. Have you seen improvements in your students' behavior or grades? What suggestions do you have for your fellow teachers regarding this topic?


  1. We are in a Catholic School, where parent involvement is very high! It's really a perfect situation, where people show up on a regular basis and just want to help. Even so, you still have to give them some direction,and make sure background checks are done, etc. We have a constant flow of parents here, and we try to direct them depending on their skills and our needs. They are very helpful!

  2. I came across this quote in a post I was reading, “'We are taking the kids farther than I could do,' said Michael Braun, a teacher at Rainier Beach High who is working with Microsoft volunteers." I wonder how many Indiana companies provide their employees community service hours to volunteer in schools.

  3. Thanks for sharing this article. What a great example of schools using co-educators. And it is beneficial to the business community, too, getting kids interested in and excited about the field.

  4. It should be easier than ever to find, connect, and collaborate with people outside the teaching realm. But, as Chen mentions, we frequently become Prisoners of Time. At one of my schools, teachers have reached out with a cross-school project dealing with various aspects of water, culminating in a literacy night with many project-based presentations. I can't speak to the behavior of the students, but I do know that their interest was piqued in very different ways, and the task was more authentic. Several different outside businesses were contacted.

    I thought yet again of the Flipped Class workshop, and the chance for students to connect with experts outside of school via some of the videos (one of the points made at the conference was that you don't have to create all of your own videos). In some cases, parents and students might be learning together as they watch the videos.

    I thought the YES prep program looked wonderful, getting students and parents to commit at 6th grade to several steps that would create a pathway toward college. What parent would not want that for their child? My own children attended a parochial school for a few years that included home visits, but I don't know how feasible that would be in my school. And would current Board of Health rules allow a potluck? That would be interesting!

    The basic idea of teachers, parents, and community/business members as co-teachers would definitely be a step in the right direction. The hard part is orchestrating the connections. I think we are fortunate in Indianapolis to have many businesses who encourage volunteering and work in partnerships with schools.

    I think the best way to start is to tap the parents of your students, and to find out their interests and talents. It is often very difficult at the middle level, where we sometimes encounter parents who were frequent volunteers when their children were in elementary, only to fall by the wayside when they reach adolescence.
    Susie Highley

  5. In our small rural school, I see many teachers trying to apply the co-teaching edge. We all understand the importance of connecting to the parent "partner" in our student's lives. We use the Harmony student management system that allows parents and students to monitor grades and homework assignments. (I would love to have the system mentioned in the reading!)

    We do try to incorporate outside "teachers". Our high school is in a college town. We team with their Education department for tutoring and one-to-one help for some of our students. Our Agriculture teacher is probably the best example of using outside experts. He partners his students in a career/occupation unit where the students read, research and present about thier chosen topic. The biggest (most popular) part of the project is their finding and inviting an expert in the field to come to class to share his/her experiences.

    My job as the High School Librarian allows me to collaborate and co-teach with all my teachers. I have worked with English, History, Art and Ag teachers. Teachers should always remember, their librarians are there to make thier lives easier. Use us as a resource. That is why we are here!!

  6. I think this edge has been the easiest for me to incorporate. Since my technology class is considered a "specials" class, I get to see all of the students in the building. Most of the projects we work on are a part of a bigger project in other classes. I collaborate often with the grade level teacher to align my learning objectives with the learning objectives of a different subject. When we study presentation software, the presentations created are a part of a project they are working on in Science or Social Studies, etc. This helps the students connect to the learning tool and witness first hand how the tool can help them accomplish a goal.

    I have also been fortunate enough to find some local tech experts to come into the class and demonstrate the power of different pieces of software. A friend's wife is an accountant and she was willing to come show the awesome power of excel and quickbooks. I have another friend in the medical imaging business and he has come in to demonstrate ultrasound equipment and the software used to run the system. I am always looking for real world connections to software that is used by our students.