The most up to date research is clear in what it is telling us, that one of the most influential things we can do as teachers is partner up, collaborate and co-teach lessons to our students. The Prep School Library is being driven by this idea as they continue to offer co-teaching to all students from Pre-K to Year 6.
During the course of the year students have allocated time in the library, both as individual classes and as whole grades, to research, share, explore and inquire into the different aspects of their Unit of Inquiry. When the students join us in the library space they have the support of the classroom teacher, the librarian, the library service specialists, TESS teachers and aides. Having more adult support ensures that students understand the basics of a lesson, allows them the opportunity to grasp bigger ideas and makes space for individual explorations of new concepts and ideas. More teachers equals more support for the students!
It doesn’t stop there though, when teachers come together to collaborate they bring together the different ideas and perspectives that they all hold. You will see from our co-teaching model (above) that we place as much importance on the co-ideation and co-planning stages as the co-teaching. This is to ensure that we discuss the big ideas and enduring understandings of a lesson with all teachers before we map out the learning experiences.
As all year levels use co-teaching in the library space there are plenty of fantastic learning experiences during this year. Some of the standouts are –
Earlier in the year the Year 6 students were inquiring into different natural phenomena. The questions and ideas that these students had were incredible! We needed two teachers in each classroom to help manage discussions about the big questions and thinking the students had. Whilst exploring these concepts the students were also able to develop their communication skills by listening to the ideas of others and learning how to respectfully disagree.
The Pre-Kindergarten students were inquiring into living and non-living things during term 3. We organised a Museum-in-a-Box for the students and they set up their very own museum. Whilst the museum was set up, the students were split into smaller groups with the classroom teachers and library staff and used their observation and recording skills to extend their understanding which prompted them to ask further questions.
Year 1 explored how different primary resources could be manipulated and changed to create the food and materials that we use in everyday life. During the co-teaching sessions we were able to split the students into groups, make predictions about what would happen to grains, milk and fruits and then explore by doing. We made bread, cheese and pastes from the initial primary resources. Having multiple teachers here allowed us to have smaller groups, which gave the students more opportunities to share their thinking, ask questions and have a go at the tasks.
The Year 3 students are currently exploring how different stories are told and the perspectives held by different people. By having the students exposed to different teachers telling stories, they are automatically exposed to their perspectives. We are also teaming up with the music staff to look at how stories are told through song. When students hear different ideas from multiple adults, it allows them the opportunity to build their own meaning as they draw upon what they hear and feel comfortable to make their voice different to others.
We love co-teaching here at the Prep School Library and continue to learn about new approaches and successes as we build on our co-teaching knowledge and experience.
Abigail Nel | Inquiry Learning Integrator