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The Power of Two: Stories of Co-teaching in the TERI Partner Network Schools

The first group of teacher candidates to spend a year co-teaching in classrooms is transforming teacher education

IN A FIRST-GRADE CLASSROOM at Earle Brown Elementary School in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Michelle Hauser and Caitlin Halsey have finished up an early-morning prep. Their 23 students begin to wander in, stowing little backpacks, scanning an assortment of rocks spread over the countertop, and checking the leprechaun traps in the back of the room.

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, the class is on a campaign to catch the culprit sure to mess up the room over the holiday. Four students have finished and brought their homemade traps. One contains a lure of enticing green paper. "Free money!" says another. But so far none has captured the leprechaun.

Hauser and Halsey have reviewed the day's lesson plan: after breakfast, they will resume work on the Earth materials unit, which started yesterday. Then writing. Then reading before lunch. They know who will do what for the next few hours, and they know how to adapt when things don't go as planned.

Hauser walks around the room, checking in with the kids as they get organized. Halsey sits at a table where kids come to her with questions.

While Hauser leads the unit on properties of rocks, tallying sizes, colors, shapes, and textures in lists on the board, Halsey keeps working on the periphery of the classroom with individual students.

A half hour later, Halsey takes the lead with the group, reviewing the writing assignment. Each student is making a simple instruction book to tell someone else how to make a leprechaun trap like theirs. Hauser puts away rock-unit materials and gets ready for reading.

The morning proceeds seamlessly as the students group and regroup, with Hauser and Halsey teaching side by side, moving through subjects, exercises, and activities uninterrupted. They advance at a clip that still never seems rushed....

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