At her co-teaching station, South Ridge Elementary School teacher Megan Suarez works with a group of students using colored squares to visualize multiplication.

When teachers Meagan Suarez and Dana Swensson attended a training on co-teaching, they went straight back to their classrooms to implement it. 

Co-teaching allows Suarez, a special education teacher, and Swensson, a traditional third grade teacher, to teach all of their students together in a unified classroom. Students get to spend time with peers and achieve at their own level, no matter their academic level. 

Suarez and Swensson grouped students with similar skill sets together and created teaching stations in different areas of the room. 

Each group circulates through the same teaching stations. At one station, students work as a group on a list of problems. At the next station, they use laptops and headphones to do independent math games. Swensson teaches multiplication to one group at the whiteboard while Suarez helps other students use colored square as a visual way to solve problems. 

“I’ll typically start each group with the same problem. If they struggle a little bit, I can either re-teach or work on the fundamental skills. If they do fine or notice some mathematical challenges, then I can go a little deeper,” Suarez said in the news release. “I can really tailor to each group.”

With two teachers in the classroom, students get more focused attention with each lesson. 

“It’s not exactly one-on-one but the small groups allow more time to meet the needs of the kids,” Swensson said in the release. “We noticed once we started this teaching model that they got the best scores they’ve ever had.” 

Swensson and Suarez enjoy working together, being able to support each other and planning together for their classes. 

“The kids like working with another teacher,” Swensson said in the release. “And they enjoy getting to work in a group, getting to collaborate. Students aren’t excluded; they get to be included with their peers. It allows them to be part of a more positive community. They’re all a part of this together.”

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