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Preliminary Discussion Questions

The questions below are designed to serve as a starting point for co-teaching discussion. Depending on previous
experiences working together, some questions may not be relevant. Remember that differences of opinion are
inevitable; differences are okay and perfectly normal. Effective co-teachers learn and grow professionally from their
work together. Competent professional skills, openness, and interest in working together are more important than
perfect agreement on classroom rules.

1. What are your expectations for students regarding:

a. Participation?
i. Lynseys expectations for all of her students are ALL sitting up, heads up,
eyes tracking, 3-4 hands & 100% part when cold called
ii. Madison agreed for all of these expectations and noted that she isnt
consistent waiting for hands
b. Daily preparation?
i. As a team, we plan Thursday before each week, send the plans to be
reviewed by manager, and discuss together the day before each lesson if
any extra printing or prep needs to be done.
c. Written assignments and/or homework completion?
i. In our classroom (a study skills class), we look for 100% completion and
are a little lax on accuracy. We are pushing our students to develop the
habits of completion and then will move on to looking at accuracy later in
the year.
2. What are your basic classroom rules? What are the consequences?
At the beginning of the year we met together and decided to have one set of rules
since many of the 9th graders would be in and out of both of our rooms. We wanted to have
consistency so when we were teaching together we wouldnt have to explain to students
the shift in rules. We agreed on the following: uniform on point when you walk in, no food
or drink, collegiate language, respect each other and the space.
3. Typically, how are students grouped for instruction in your classroom?
a. We typically split students by course and courses that are tiered by level. We also
try to group by behavioral needs so classes can run more smoothly.
4. What instructional methods do you like to use (i.e. lectures, class discussions, stations,
a. Lynsey uses primarily activites in which students are able to agree, disagree, and
state why; stations; review games; visuals and manipulatives; media
b. Madison uses mini lectures, class discussion where students can agree and
disagree and explain process, visuals and manipulatives
5. What practice activities do you like to use (i.e. cooperative learning groups, labs, etc)?
a. Lynsey uses tiered groups that rotate through stations, review games
b. Madison uses white board drills and small group discussion
6. How do you monitor and evaluate student progress?

Adapted from Walter-Thomas, C. & Bryant, M. (1996). Planning for effective co-teaching. Remedial and Special Education, 17(4).

a. Lynsey uses vocab assessments, essays, exit tickets, unit tests, projects, graded
discussions and debates, reading quizzes, homework
b. Madison uses exit tickets, homework and unit tests and wants to expand to
incorporate projects.
7. Describe your typical tests and quizzes.
a. Our quizzes and tests are standardized by the school and incorporate reading,
writing, and the occasional multiple choice. Students are always pushed to explain
the why even in a math problem.
8. Describe other typical projects and assignments.
a. Lynsey uses a variety of creative projects that are research based. For example,
researching and creating a survey.
b. Madison uses application based projects where students need to show
understanding of a topic learned to approach a new problem.
9. Do you differentiate instruction for students with special needs? If so, how?
a. Madison differentiates on an individual basis according to IEP goals
b. Lynsey uses independent books at their level, scaffoldeds her questions for
rotating groups, and has a variety of accommodations of time
10. Is any special assistance given to students with disabilities during class? On written
assignments? On tests and quizzes?
We both follow IEP documentation as best we can, giving students assistance in
every capacity we can manage.
11. How and when do you communicate with families?
a. Madison does not regularly communicate with parents. She mostly calls for
meetings or negative occurrences, emails individually, or text parents who are
b. Lynsey calls when student shows improvement, after a series of negative calls,
and uses calls during class situations. She also mass emails at the end of quarters
for failing students and missing work.
i. We both noted it is easier to communicate with parents who reach out
12. What are your strengths as a teacher? What are your areas of challenge? How about
your pet peeves?
a. Lynsey challenges: patience with behavioral needs, case management in terms of
b. Lynsey strengths: with-it-ness (expectations, logistics, systems) messaging the
why, student investment, student data communication
c. Madison challenges: with-it-ness, student data usage and communication,
differentiating to the fullest
d. Madison strengths: patience with behavior needs, case management and
documentation, student relationships and trust-building.
13. What do you see as our potential roles and responsibilities as co-teachers?

Adapted from Walter-Thomas, C. & Bryant, M. (1996). Planning for effective co-teaching. Remedial and Special Education, 17(4).

We are equal members when it comes to planning I (Madison) sometimes differ to

Lynseys experience when it comes to what kinds of activities will work with out students, but she is
always open to hearing my suggestions for changes to our planning or how its usually done. We
both have equal disciplinary responsibilities in the classroom, although we sometimes fall into the
good cop bad cop routine and neither of us like that situation, its just how our personalities play
out in the classroom. We share all responsibilities and try our best to communicate when we need
help and always have each others backs. There have been a number of situations already where
one of us didnt fulfill responsibilities and the other one came in and assisted where needed.
14. If we co-teach together, what are your biggest hopes for our work as a team? What are
your biggest concerns?
Lynsey said My biggest hope is to see you take more ownership of the classroom.
To see you develop as a teacher and bring your own views into the classroom (speaking
to Madison)
Madison said My biggest hope is to be seen as an equal and necessary part of
the Learning Support Team in our classroom which will translate to in our school.
We both fear that our classroom will stay where it is now and not progress towards
a more cohesive and collective group of students and teachers who can support each

Adapted from Walter-Thomas, C. & Bryant, M. (1996). Planning for effective co-teaching. Remedial and Special Education, 17(4).