Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Benefits of Teacher Collaboration in Delivering Common Core Based Lessons

With common core lessons on the horizon, teachers will be entertaining many new ways to address lesson topics that they have probably been teaching for years.  One highly effective way to objectively plan and review a lesson's success as well as shortcomings is to jointly plan lessons with one teacher who is teaching the same grade and subject matter.  This is an approach that some schools are presently using to ease teachers into the common core.  The whole process of lesson planning becomes less stressful when there is another person to plot and plan together with. 

Once the lesson is developed including all phases of lesson planning( standard, objective, "I do, we do, we do," checks-for-understanding, closure, and independent practice), team teachers should try teaching it exactly as planned within the week.  As they teach it, they should make notes of what worked for them and what didn't.  If at all possible, it might be even more insightful if the teachers could record each other teaching the jointly planned lesson.  Recordings are often more accurate than note-taking.  Further, since this activity is peer support in action, there is no anxiety on either teacher's part.  The videos are for their use only.  Cooperation on this level leads to increased student success and here ELLs especially benefit since teachers will be looking for increasingly more effective approaches to reach all students.

See if your school supports course-alike planning sessions.  If not, try to get them included in the monthly meetings schedules.  Many districts are actively pushing for it because they want to make sure a firm instructional foundation is in place before the common core standards are fully implemented.  I will be doing more of this shortly with some teachers who have elected to collaborate with me on creating common core based lessons.  I will offer to be recorded first so that they will quickly see that the videos go no where (in fact, last year I let them take my iPad and erase them with a click).




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