Strategies for collaboration

Katy Golden


Kabal, C. (2014). Strategies for successful collaboration. Retrieved from

I really enjoyed this article because it’s clear, concise, and written by a teacher about her experiences. She gives strategies about how to collaborate with a variety of specialists, not just media specialists.

This author encourages teachers and other educational professionals to “work smarter, not harder” through collaboration, and gives several strategies for collaborating. She encourages you to start by creating an actual document that serves as a working agreement for the entire year – this would be for a completely cotaught classroom, obviously- that clearly defines roles and responsibilities. While this might not be necessary for a single cotaught experience, it still might help to have clearly defined roles for the media specialist and classroom teacher. She also stresses the necessity to “communicate, communicate, communicate” and to connect with your students and coteachers in many different ways.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to coteach this fall and will definitely be using some of these collaboration strategies as I do!

Co-Teaching Without Boxes or Boundaries

Paslay, Juliana


Stein, E. (2017) Co-Teaching Without Boxes or Boundaries. Middleweb. Retrieved from I found a bunch of articles that gave tips on Co-Teaching. This one was my favorite. I like that it focuses on very specific issues instead of more general obvious ones.

An Example of Co-Teaching

Mary Fobbs-Guillory


Ainsworth, L. (2016). Teacher and teacher librarian collaborative inquiry. Teacher Librarian, 44(2), pp. 28-31.

This article gives a detailed account of a co-teaching experience between a 5th grade teacher and a teacher librarian in Canada.  The class was studying Inuit culture and the skill of questioning.  The article documents the process of the professionals planning the lesson together and then teaching the class in two groups.  This method is also called Station teaching because the students rotate from being taught by one professional to the next.  The teacher librarian created a short video on challenging vocabulary for students to view ahead of time and posted it to the class blog.  The teachers taught how to ask questions and provided them with question builder frames and rubrics.  They read books, facilitated discussions, and provided artifacts and art prints from the local museum for the students to analyze and develop questions about.

This article gave a very detailed account of the lesson, I felt as though I watched it.  It gave me a full picture of what co-teaching looks like and how fun and powerful it can be.

MOREILLON, J. (2016). Making the Classroom-Library Connection. Teacher Librarian, 43(3),  
8-18.  Retrieved from:
This article discusses how classroom teachers are often unprepared or unknowing of how to collaborate with librarians.  This makes it difficult for teacher-librarians because classroom teachers often feel uncomfortable with collaboration. This article discusses some of the issues that are experienced by classroom teachers and teacher librarians and it also discussed some possible remedies to these issues.  This article explains possible options that can be offered to teachers to help them understand what the teacher librarians can offer their classes.  It includes information on how the librarian can provide workshops to help teachers learn to work in tandem with the librarian.

Effective Co-Teaching Strategies

Did you know there are four approaches to co-teaching? I didn’t. I thought there was only one way and it was #4. This article I found on Teach, Effective Co-teaching Strategies by Dr. Richard Villa. He describes the four collaborative teaching approaches and he has a cool chart which describes how the co-teaching approaches are similar, how they are different and what the potential problems are with co-teaching.

The four approaches are:
1. Supportive co-teaching – where the one member of the team takes the lead role and the other member rotates among students to provide support.

2. Parallel Co-teaching – where support personnel and the classroom teacher instruct different heterogeneous groups of students.

3. Complementary Co-teaching – where a member of the co-teaching team does something to supplement or complement the instruction provided by the other member of the team (e.g., models note taking on a transparency, paraphrases the other co-teacher’s statements)

4. Team Teaching – where the members of the team co-teach along side one another and share responsibility for planning, teaching, and assessing the progress of all students in the class.

Check it out! Effective Co-Teaching Strategies

Changing Roles of School Librarians.

Lo, P. & Chiu, D. K. W. (2015). Enhanced and changing roles of school librarians under the digital age. New Library World, 116(11/12), 696-710. DOI: 10.1108/NLW-05-2015-0037

Lo and Chiu conducted research that explored the changing roles of school librarians under the digital age. Their research methods included qualitative analysis of interviews within three secondary schools that were conducted on three separate occasions. These face-to-face interviews were of importance to this study because it allowed for unexpected responses and discourses to emerge. To clarify answers, the researcher initiated follow up questions to verify immediately their responses against the researchers’ understanding. This study concludes by offering advice for becoming a successful school librarian under the digital age. Findings indicated that interdisciplinary instruction across the school communities was an important aspect of the librarians’ success.

Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting, and Learning

Andrighetto, Kourtney

Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning. Educational Psychologist, 26(3/4), 369.

CA, ET- Project-based learning


Educational theories, curriculum development, and assessment are shifting from teacher centered to student centered, project-based learning instruction. Project-based learning has gained much attention in the field of education due to self- directed learning methodologies and opportunities for students to engage in problem-solving and evaluation. This article provides an overview of project-based learning theories and how it contributes to learner motivation and relevance in the 21st-century. The authors note that in order for project-based learning to be successful, the selected topics must be high-interest and valuable to learners. In addition, project-based units must be structured to allow students opportunities for activity, creativity, and interaction with technology. When students are moving, doing, and collaborating, high-yield learning will take place.


This source provides an in-depth explanation of project-based learning theories and how technology integration may boost student learning. For teacher librarians, the discoveries in this article highlight opportunities for co-teaching and unit planning with classroom teachers across content areas.

Co-Teaching without Boxes or Boundaries

Alpers, Jessica


Stein, E. (2017, January 30). Co-teaching without boxes or boundaries. Retrieved from

Summary: The purpose of this blog post is to encourage teachers to “allow their thinking to be stretched and empowered” in the area of co-teaching. The argument is made that two teachers who are “in-synch” with each other will have a wonderful co-teaching experience. The advice Stein gives is to express the expertise of both teachers, make sure to co-plan, create a log, communicate with post-is and email, and be resilient.

Evaluation: What I like about this blog post is that it is concise but gives really good advice about co-teaching. Some educators are afraid of co-teaching, due to the fact that collaboration is required. But two experienced educators can create such a valuable experience for both themselves and their students. The advice Stein gives is easy to follow and helps create a path to success.

Coteaching and the Learning Comons

Alpers, Jessica

ET-Educational Theory and Practice

Loertscher, D. V., & Koechlin, C. (2015). Coteaching and the learning commons: Building a participatory school culture. Teacher Librarian, 43(2), 12.

Summary: The focus of this paper is to inform on how to build a school culture with emphasis placed on participation. The two strategies used to accomplish this are creating a learning commons and instituting collaboration and coteaching with the librarian and teachers. Dr. Loertscher defines coteaching as “the art of two or more mentor adults who plan, teach, and assess a learning experience together.” This is then supported with a study he conducted. A learning commons is then described, much like we have described in our workshops. Adding to this, the collaboration is described. One specific not is the use of the 18 think models, and moving past “bird units.” The paper concludes by stating that this movement will strengthen the school as a learning force.

Evaluation: This paper is a wonderful source for a summary of what many of our workshops have discussed. None of the information is new, however it is a good review and a good resource. For those wishing to have a written form of what we have discussed, or a compiled summary, I would highly recommend this article. It does not hurt that it was written by our very own Dr. L.!