Mural created by art students in the library media center at East Cary Middle School in Cary, NC
Collaboration, planning and team-teaching with my core teachers – English language arts, social studies, science and mathematics – is second nature for us. My English language arts teachers and I are always talking about the latest reading, writing and literacy research and how we can best meet the needs of our students. We easily team teach the ELA standards, share reading lists and booktalks, and focus on literacy strategies to improve vocabulary and comprehension. My science and social studies teachers brainstorm with me on projects and presentations, lessons and activities, and they often work with me to seamlessly integrate inquiry and technology standards. Even my mathematics teachers seek me out for technology integration and supplemental materials, although we don’t do any co-teaching.
It is just as important to seek out those elective teachers and specialists with which to collaborate, plan and team teach. Inquiry, research and technology skills and standards are essential in those courses as well, but we often neglect those classes for the core curriculum. Some of the best teaching I can remember has been with arts teachers: integrating research, inquiry and critique writing with dance classes; creating and implementing interdisciplinary lessons with visual arts and language arts classes; researching and creating audio projects with music classes.
We should strive to build those collaborative relationships with all teachers. How do you support the elective teachers and specialists at your school?
Author: Deanna Harris
I have spent my career in education as a middle grades language arts teacher, a middle grades teacher librarian, and a coordinating teacher at the NC Department of Public Instruction. During my twenty-three years, I have focused on teaching and learning, student achievement, and teacher leadership. I have worked with beginning and veteran teachers through mentoring, internships, staff development, and professional learning teams.