Friday, July 5, 2013

Team Teaching Tips Linky Party

Welcome to my first every linky party! I'm very excited to be hosting this meeting of the departmentalized minds! 

This fabulous button was designed by Kimberlee at Digital Doodle Designs

I have been teaching 7 years and I've always been part of a teaching team - sometimes 4 teachers, sometimes 2, and this year will be 3! Managing up to 80 students in one day comes with a lot of special challenges. In this post I'll be sharing tips and ideas from all the different team teachings experiences I've had.

I think scheduling is the most important piece in making team teaching work smoothly. I've had the most success with a schedule that has a 3-5 minute cushion for restroom breaks and lessons that run just a bit behind. All the teachers on a team must really be sticklers for the schedule or everyone can get behind in a hurry!

When I taught on a team of four one teacher taught each of the four core subjects. 

As a team of 2 I've done and seen a few different things. Each teacher reading to his or her homeroom and they are departmentalized for math and science/social studies. For the upcoming year a team at my school plans to departmentalize for reading and math and then each teacher is responsible for social studies/science instruction for her own homeroom. 

This year with my teach of 3 I will teach ELA, another teacher will be responsible for math, and the third will take science and social studies. 

Seating Arrangements 
Seating arrangements are a little more tricky with team teaching - how do you tell kids where to go? I can't put 4 name tags on one desk!! I learned a great trick for this from one of my co-teachers. I do a name tag for my homeroom students and then I put a post-it on the top of the desk and write the names of other students who will use that desk as well. After the first 3-4 days of class the post-its start to loose their stick and everyone remembers where they sit. Not the cutest idea, but it does get the job done!

When I use the post-its I also project the seating arrangement on the Smartboard so I can direct students to look there instead of wandering around the room and wasting time! I always save this document on my computer so I can leave it with a substitute and also use it when I want to rearrange seating for a particular class. 

Student Materials 
When I have more than 2 classes rotating in and out of my room the kiddos in my homeroom do not keep any of their personal school supplies in the desks. We've tried this before and inevetiably someone ends up with missing or damaged property and I'm wasting using my time to play detective. 

My students have cubbies in the back of the classroom so that is where they can store supplies. 

This frees up space in the desks for students to use them for storing books and supplies while they are in my class. I dislike tripping over books that are strewn all over the floor. I also like to keep a dictionary in each desk so that is readily available anytime a student needs one. 

Makeup Work 

With our team of 3 next year we will have a clipboard that rotates with our students. 

We stick any makeup work for absent students on this clipboard. I like this system for a few reasons: 

1. I put papers on the clipboard as I'm handing them out so I don't have to do any "extra" thinking about who is absent. 

2. All of a student's makeup work ends up in his or her homeroom and we often times have a lot of requests from parents to send that work to the office at the end of the day. I already have it all together and don't need to interrupt any of the other teachers. 


The clipboard also works as our recording sheet for our discipline program. The sheet clipped there has all the names of the students from my homeroom and a box for each day of the week. If a student doesn't turn in homework or loses recess it is all written down. 

With multiple classes documenting (even the littlest things) is so important. It is very easy to forget what happened in the first class, so by the end of the day you can't make a note of it. I hang on to these clipboard sheets so if there is ever a question I have everything written down. 

We also use the Fun Friday system. This post is getting a little long so you can go here and here if you'd like to read more about it. 

Final Thoughts
As with any team, communication is the key to a successful year. It is important to collaborate and have a consistent policy for discipline, makeup work, etc. Building that feeling that we all stand together is very important. 

Wow! I have so much more I could say. I think I'll stop there for today and do another post a little later in the month. Now, the fun part of a linky party is hearing what ides everyone else has! I can't wait to hear all the great ideas! So grab my button and link up with your ideas for teaching in a team. 

I'll leave you with some ideas to get you started with your posts, but these are by no means the only things you can blog about - I sure didn't! Also, feel free to link up more than one time just be sure to grab the button each time you do! 

Classroom Management
Rewards and Incentives 
Grading/Collecting/Returning Papers
Seating Arrangements
Tips for Back to School 
Collaboration With Partners/Teammates 

Polka Dot Lesson Plans


  1. I wish I had cubbies to store stuff. Since, I seriously lack storage, we split our desks. Bottom half is for homeroom only, and the smaller top half is for the switch class.

    To solve the "missing" supply issue, students were expected to have a pencil bag in their binder that traveled with them. I let my students know up front that I am NOT the pencil police. If you left it behind, then it is your responsibility to find it.

    I'll be back to link up more ideas later. Thanks for hosting!


  2. Love this link and hope it takes off! I team taught last year for the first time and it was terrific! I'll link up soon!

    Teaching With the Middle Sister

  3. Great tips! I taught all subjects for 14 years and I have been team teaching for 7 years! I really do prefer team teaching, but you must have great communication! Love this linky idea! I'll be back to link up!

    Lizzy from *The Teacher Chick*

  4. Love this this is great! I was moved from Kindergarten to 4th grade science! I have taught it for 4 years. I have has had as many as 5 classes of science and 120 kiddos a day! I personally don't care so much for it but any tips to make it easier/better are appreciated!

  5. The clipboard is brilliant! I will definitely suggest this next year. Thanks for sharing :)


  6. I've just started my first teaching blog. I'm moving to fourth grade reading from being in fifth grade self contained the past two years. This is some great advice! Thanks for sharing!


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