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Special EDition: Co-Planning for Success

January 28, 2014 / by Tiffany Ko

Cristina Salvador, Michael Mancini, and Bradford Capozzi co-plan an ELA lesson at Phillips Academy Phillips Academy teachers Ms. Salvador, Mr. Mancini, and Mr. Capozzi co-plan an ELA lesson

In my last post, I wrote about the importance of co-teaching.  I highlighted several approaches that co-teachers can use to maximize their instruction, including high-leverage models such as station teaching and parallel teaching.  These approaches were first introduced over two decades ago by Friend, Reising, and Cook (1993).  Since then, much has been published about the rationale for co-teaching and the impact that reducing the student-teacher ratio (i.e. small group instruction) can have on student learning.  Why, then, is it that so many "co-taught" classrooms still implement the One Teach, One Assist model where the general educator leads the class and the special educator circulates?  The answer is simple… 

This model requires little to no common planning.

Co-planning is one of the essential ingredients of successful co-taught classrooms.  It allows co-teachers an opportunity to discuss topics such as classroom expectations, discipline
procedures, and pet peeves.  It also ensures that lessons are differentiated and individualized to meet the needs and characteristics of both the students and the teachers.  Moreover, co-planning Co-Teaching Modelsallows teachers to deliberately select the best co-teaching approach to deliver the curriculum, content, and instructional strategies.  For example, a review of literary elements might be best presented through station teaching while modeling how to write a DBQ essay might work well in small groups using parallel teaching.

Despite the benefits of co-planning, many co-teachers do not plan instruction together.  Barriers include scheduling challenges and unclear expectations.  But the number one reason?  Lack of time.  However, technology such as Google Hangouts, has made remote co-planning a viable option.  Click here to learn more about how to co-plan lessons using Google Hangouts and Google Drive.

So what are realistic co-planning expectations?  How can we co-plan when we don’t have time in our schedule? What do co-taught lesson plans look like?  Where does co-teaching fit into the CPS Framework for Teaching?  These are some of the questions that will be answered at the next Best Practices in Co-Teaching Workshop on Wednesday, February 5.  This session will be held at NTA from 4:30-6:30pm and all teachers, coaches, and administrators are welcome to attend.  Click here to register now!

Topics: Professional Learning, Co-teaching, Special Ed

Tiffany Ko

Written by Tiffany Ko

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