Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vertical PD: Co-teaching

Today was another in our series of vertical professional development days - vertical because the content cuts across grade levels. This day was billed as a day to see co-teaching at its best, including watching co-teachers deliver a mini-lesson, watching them each take a small group during the work session while monitoring the students that were working independently, and then finally watching two teachers conduct a closing meeting.

First we watched Christy Constande and Vicky Cole in their inclusion 3rd grade classroom. They presented a very deep and difficult lesson on the "seen" and "unseen" or rather how to make inferences. This is such a difficult concept. Christy and Vicky used the text, Book Fair Day, to demonstrate the megnacognition of the skill and then had the children practice with a different piece of the same book as their active involvement before they had the children practice independently at their seats with "just right" books in their book bags. In the work session Christy then took a small group that she knew would be challenged with the skill to offer guided practice with the picture book, When the Relative Came. At the same time Vicky took a small strategy group that she selected based on their data. After the children worked for about 40 minutes the teachers came back together and had two children demonstrate their thinking.

Eighteen teachers attended this professional development day. Well actually, 30 teachers signed up with an interest in the topic, but we were only able to accommodate the first 18. The others will be signed up for a second day on this same topic. The 18 came together to view and debrief the lessons and also to share lunch together.

Next it was off to see Melissa Ross and Ashley Russell's second grade Math Workshop. Once again the two teachers delivered a masterful lesson together that included both a Calendar Math and Math Investigations lesson. Their opening included modeling a problem with both teachers participating equally. During the work session of the Workshop the students worked with partners. As the students settled down to work with their partner, Ashley took a group that she knew would struggle with the hands on activity while Melissa took a challenge group. All of the students completed the first problem in their small group, with a partner, or on their own and then the second problem was differentiated - a more difficult problem for the challenge group. After the teachers got their groups started, they left the group to continue working alone as they each did "drive by" conferences with other partners that might be struggling. As they worked with their small groups and with partners, the teachers looked for and chose specific children to explain their thinking in the closing meeting to help all of the children understand several different strategies for completing the first problem.
I'm not a Math teacher, but anyone would understand how exceptional this lesson was!  What an outstanding day!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I agree, it was an incredible and valuable day. In my opinion, these Vertical Demo Days offer the vehicle for vertical collegial dialogue like nothing we've done in the past, and offers the avenue for teachers to self-reflect on their instructional practices and classroom environment. I will be interested to see if these days will be noted by teachers in their end of the year surveys as learning days they value most.