30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom
Reviewed by Laura Von Staden
As the education community does a better job of including students with disabilities into classes with their non-disabled peers, the more important good co-teaching becomes. Unfortunately, many of the books on the subject focus on the ideal — “perfect world” strategies that are often unattainable in the real world.
Paula Kluth and Julie Causton have broken from this mold by writing a book that uses everyday language, is littered with wit and humor, and genuinely addresses many of the obstacles that face co-teachers in their real-world classrooms. Furthermore, their book is broken into 30 bite-sized doable steps that are each 6-8 pages long, making it easy to read.
Creating success through planning
With numerous helpful lists, tables, figures and forms, tips for implementation and brief to-do list of specific items at the end of each chapter, the authors help co-teachers accomplish the goal of the day, creating the success and momentum to continue to the next challenge.
The organization of the book starts with the first meeting of the co-teachers, getting to know each other and establishing a vision and non-negotiables. The book then walks through effective ways to create opportunities to meet and to then use this limited planning time effectively.
Bringing co-teaching models alive
The authors continue with several chapters on the various co-teaching models, which are well explained. They address pushback from others, strategies to communicate with parents, and how to involve students in creating a strong shared environment. They also discuss the benefits of having two teachers (what can be done differently that would be difficult to do without a second educator in the room), including strategies for differentiating instruction.
Finally, they conclude with several days (chapters) that complement the quick tips sprinkled throughout the book – focusing on keeping the momentum going and continuing to build the co-teaching relationship.
Actionable information, served with humor
So, you’ve just been assigned to co-teach and don’t know how it’s supposed to work. Kluth and Causton challenge you to commit to 30 days of action laid out in their book, presented using short chapters, a relaxed writing style, and humor. The simple actionable information, usable tips and forms to help with implementation, along with a short to-do list, make this book a great resource for building a strong positive co-teaching environment in your classroom over the course of a single month.
Dr. Laura Von Staden is a middle school Special Education Lead Teacher in Tampa, Florida. She serves on numerous committees, both at her school and within her district, and works closely with the local university where she is a Professional Practice Partner and master mentor. Dr. Von Staden also facilitates both online and face-to-face Professional Development for her school district.