Thursday, January 1, 2015

Co-Teaching in an Autism Classroom: Scheduling

Throughout this miniseries of posts, I really want to share with you one of the best things I ever did as a teacher: Co-Teaching.  Co-Teaching with one of my colleagues best friends was almost always the highlight of my day.  I learned so much from her, and I truly believe that the two of us working together helped our kids make more progress than either one of us could have done alone.

Co-teaching is not something I started with in my first year of teaching...I waited until I was a few years in before taking on this project.  Since our co-teaching set-up is quite complex and involves a decent amount of prep work, I am going to take the next few days to bring you through the nitty gritty of co-teaching in an autism classroom.
We will cover:
6.  How to Schedule Co-Teaching
7.  How to Plan for Co-Teaching
 Today I’ll cover how we scheduled our students when co-teaching.   This can often be one of the hardest parts of co-teaching.  We were working with 9 adults and 26 students spanning 7 grades.  We had to schedule around inclusion classes, staff lunch breaks, speech/OT schedules, etc.  You know how hard scheduling can be in one autism classroom…now we are talking about trying to coordinate with two classrooms!  This is obviously going to be very different for every classroom and will most likely change from year to year.

If you remember from my last post on Grouping, we had 3 main groups of students (6-8 students per group). Our general idea was that the 2 teachers would work with one of these groups at a time while the other students were engaging in either independent activities or stations run by paraprofessionals.  I think it is easiest to look at this visual representation of what our schedule looked like last year…

I don’t want to confuse you any more, but all of these activities (including our group times) were occurring in 2 different classrooms.  For instance, while we were working with Group 1 in my coworker’s classroom, Group 2 was in my classroom working with a few paraprofessionals, and Group 3 was in my coworker’s classroom working with a few paraprofessionals (and a few paraprofessionals were taking lunch breaks).  We did this because, if you can imagine, having 26 kids and 9 adults in one classroom for 1.5 hours can be quite overwhelming for everyone involved.  We tried to arrange the location for each activity so that it was most conducive to learning and teaching. 

Today I am having a TPT sale to celebrate the New Year!  Feel free to check out my store and get 20% off anything you like.  Click on the picture below to be redirected to my store.

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