You Know You Want Some Co-Teaching Chat!

A MiddleWeb Blog

two_teachers-nobord-210If you’re a co-teacher, you’ve probably been looking for understanding in all the usual online places. But have you looked on Twitter yet?

Adding a Twitter chat group to your PLN may finally fill that empty place in your co-teaching heart.

If you’re not an avid Twitter user, you may be thinking: why would I want to get involved with THAT?!  The first, best answer is: You’ll find your people. And a good second answer is: We’re better together!

Here’s another: No searching required. The Twitter chat group #coteachat is a well-established, robust crowd of co-teaching educators eager to hear your voice. You’ll be joining in on some meaningful, thoughtful, and resource-filled conversations – and you don’t even have to leave your house!

If you’re in the midst of setting personal growth targets for this school year, here’s your chance to add the important goals of increasing your collaborations and expanding your professional learning community.

Here’s how you do it

Just how do you join our twice-monthly Twitter chat all about co-teaching? Simply type in the hashtag #coteachat in your Twitter search to follow the discussion.

using hashtag in Twitter search

If you’d like to improve your Twitter chat experience, check out Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. And if you feel a little awkward at first, read this affirming and funny blog post about teacher Debbie McHorney’s first time in a chat. If you need more help, just google “twitter chats for educators.”

#coteachat-in-tweetdeckTweetDeck lets you create columns and follow Twitter streams you like, including #hashtags!

#coteachat happens every 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month from 8:00-8:45 PM (ET). We’ve taken a brief summer break, but our new co-teaching chat events will resume on August 23. Meanwhile, you can explore and follow daily traffic at the hashtag. Co-teachers are always around, sharing resources at our ground-breaking, solution-seeking, action-based chat!

Deepen your connection with co-teaching

Co-teaching is quite possibly the most rewarding experience in ANY teacher’s career! The secret to success: Each teacher must be open to the opportunity – as they co-create and expand possibilities together. It’s the “when great minds get together” haven of dreams!

two teachersAnd let’s take a broader view of co-teaching here. We know that in today’s schools the need to collaborate goes beyond the typical general education + special education co-teaching pair. In today’s classroom, co-teaching comes in many guises. We may find two general education teachers collaborating. We have teachers of ELL students co-teaching in general education classrooms. And we have the need to include all educators together in a collaborative sweep to co-create learning environments for all learners. It can be a powerfully enriching experience.

OK, OK, I will step off my soapbox here to acknowledge that co-teaching experiences – especially in the early going – may not always have the most positive feel. But even inside those seemingly troubled partnerships, we can find the reasons to add a co-teaching experience to our “Wow! I’m glad I did that!” kind of professional reflective moments.

If you need more convincing about this rationale, just check out this blog post at Brookes Publishing: A Deeper Look into Co-Teaching Success.

How #coteachat came about

Type in the hashtag #coteachat and get a feel for the connectivity that naturally unfolds as like-minded folks join together. When you have co-teaching questions, ideas to share, or just need to feel some collaborative support, #coteachat is the place to be!

Our chat began 3 years ago when I was feeling the need to communicate with other co-teachers and found myself turning to Twitter. I connected with some great thinkers and found myself looking for a more structured way to consistently elevate co-teaching conversations and action plans.

storify-01As the chat grew, I found two co-moderators (and stay tuned because we are adding 3 more co-moderators to this powerful mix!). Creating and participating in this chat supported my everyday co-teaching moves.

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My #coteachat connections provided that professional development supports and connections I craved each day.  It has grown to be a place where new and veteran co-teachers can go to discuss solutions and ways to positively impact learning for students and for teachers.

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Explore #coteachat and see for yourself!

Topics galore! Boundless support! Ongoing learning! If you have a chat topic idea – send a tweet (with the #coteachat hashtag included) – and/or add it to the comments section below.

Since our first chat 3 years ago, our topics have ranged from the best co-teaching models (and going beyond the models), to parent communication, effective instructional strategies, breaking down co-teaching barriers, embedding strategies for student-centered learning, growth mindset, and co-teaching relationships.

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Check out some of our archived chats on Storify here and get motivated to add your voice and learn alongside colleagues from around the world during this school year.

Hope we see your Twitter handle on Tuesday, August 23 – or on some Tuesday evening soon after!

What questions do you have about the value or the techy aspects of chatting on Twitter? Use the comments to share…

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Watch for Elizabeth Stein’s new book from CAST, Elevating Co-Teaching Through UDL, available on September 1. Or pre-order it at Amazon.

Elizabeth Stein

Elizabeth Stein has more than 20 years teaching experience spanning grades K-8, specializing in universal design for learning and special education. She’s currently a special education/UDL instructional coach and new-teacher mentor in Long Island NY’s Smithtown Central School District. Elizabeth is National Board Certified in Literacy, and a contributor to Education Week and other publications. Her books include Comprehension Lessons for RTI (Grades 3-5) (Scholastic, 2013), Elevating Co-Teaching Through UDL (CAST, 2016) and Two Teachers in the Room: Strategies for Co-Teaching Success (Routledge, 2017). Follow her on Twitter @elizabethlstein and #coteachat

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