A Vision of What Collaboration Looks Like

Smith, Chloe


D’Orio, W. (2019). Powerful partnerships. School Library Journal 65(1), 24–27. Retrieved from: http://bi.galegroup.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/essentials/article/GALE%7CA571039786/f75ab9be847fcd344b7bfd9295f1f88b?u=csusj

Summary: This article from School Library Journal discusses collaboration strategies for teacher librarians/media specialists and classroom teachers. It acknowledges the challenges involved, particularly around scheduling and time commitments, but also emphasizes the value of collaboration. Librarians can build strong relationships with their colleagues and raise the library’s profile within the school and–even more importantly–students can benefit from the insights and creativity of multiple staff members working together. The article points out that library staff need to actively pursue these partnerships, reaching out to classroom teachers, making sure that projects are aligned with learning goals, and following through so that projects see completion.

Beyond these tips, the article spends most of its length discussing successful examples of long-term, collaborative learning projects in different school settings. Teacher librarians and classroom teachers worked together to create units for 7th graders to explore the the complex interrelations of systems in the human body or to support kindergartners working together to create a machine that can paint. These and other examples show that collaborations in the library setting enabled student inquiry and design thinking. These learning projects pushed students to explore, take ownership of their work, and use tech solutions to create new things.

Evaluation: I really appreciated the specific examples in this article. The strategies and tips for librarians and teachers weren’t anything I hadn’t seen addressed in more detail in other sources, but the descriptions of successful projects were really inspiring. It showed the breadth of possible successful projects that collaboration can make possible.


Collaboration and Co-teaching – Nicole Walker

Smith, N. (2017, August 16). Balancing Teacher Autonomy and Collaboration. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2017/08/16/balancing-teacher-autonomy-and-collaboration.html

Summary: This relatively recent article published by Smith is all about how to balance co-teaching and collaboration in a teaching environment with teacher autonomy. It attempts to answer the question: how can we collaborate while also allowing teachers time to plan and reflect for themselves? It discusses the reasons why allowing teachers to work alone occasionally is also incredibly important, and is just as important as collaborating with other teachers and school staff members, such as librarians. It also provides feedback for administrators and those running professional learning communities on how to get the most effective collaboration among teachers without creating burn-out or diminishing their autonomy in their classrooms.

Evaluation: While a highly opinionated article, this article really resonated in the way it described reflection and independence as integral parts to the learning process. It discusses in a candid way how finding a balance between expertise and working together can be difficult, but it also provides ways to manifest healthy, collaborative relationships in schools for both teachers, staff, and administrators, and outlines the clear benefits for all involved – from teachers to students. It also links other articles that are relevant on the topic, making it an information rich piece of literature that can be a very valuable resource for anyone who is a teacher or is working and collaborating regularly with teachers. Overall, I found it very helpful for my own project and learning, and felt that despite its apparent biases, it was valuable and worthy of being shared.

The Impact of Collaborating

Ford, Jennifer


McNee, D., & Radmer, E. (2017). Librarians and Learning: The Impact of Collaboration. Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/ELQ/0401-aug2017/ELQ0401Librarians.pdf

Summary: This article highlights the advantages of working with the librarian as co-teacher. A teacher librarian outlines her experience of working with a classroom teacher to co-teach a unit in a middle school. She discusses the challenges presented, as well as the benefits to both teachers and students. The article also highlights some strategies to use when beginning a co-teacher partnership.

Evaluation: I found this article to be very useful, as I will be embarking upon my first teacher librarian position this fall in my elementary school. I have been a classroom teacher there for the past five years, and a teacher in other schools five years before that. I believe this experience has really helped me to understand the classroom teacher’s perspective well, but this article was very helpful in viewing the position of the teacher librarian.

Teachers’ Time: Collaborating for Teaching, Learning, and Leading

Fox, Marie


SCOPE Study–Teachers’ Time: Collaborating for Teaching, Learning, and Leading. (2018, May 02). Retrieved from https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/library/publications/Teacher_Time_Study

Summary: Description of study and video interview with administration and teachers at various public schools across the country which experienced successes as a result of their policies and procedures for teacher collaboration time. These schools exhibited shared values for teachers’ time, structured it and made sure it was used for collaboration with fellow teachers/admins/staff teams. This structure and commitment indicated it was integral to those members learning from one another, sharing best practices and gaining a fuller picture of their students across the school. Having this shared time structured into a master schedule and making sure it was included/respected assured it was truly a part of the culture of the school – collaboration was built in because its importance was recognized.

Evaluation: Wonderful to hear from professionals on the ground in a variety of public schools across the country finding success when their administration and school culture truly values their collaborative work and the true value of their time. Offers some great aspirational practices for school culture and optimal support for students.

Aligned Curriculum and Assessment Support Student Success

Cassandra Gonzalez, Curriculum and Assessment

Rudland, J. (2018). Aligned Curriculum and Assessment Support Student Success. Retrieved from https://www.rubicon.com/aligned-curriculum-and-assessment-support-student-success/

Summary: The article discusses collaborative thinking and curriculum design by administrators and teachers. Rudland proposes creating a district consensus for student learning that is agreed upon by all parties involved.

Evaluation: Redesigning the curriculum with all the right parties including the students centered toward student success would be a huge step for the education system. I would like to see more districts adopt this policy.

Collaboration in Teacher Design Teams: Untangling the Relationship Between Experiences of the Collaboration Process and Perceptions of the Redesigned Curriculum.

Macchio, Monica


(2019). Collaboration in teacher design teams: Untangling the relationship between experiences of the collaboration process and perceptions of the redesigned curriculum. Studies in Educational Evaluation61, 138–149. https://doi-org.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2019.03.010

This article is about a case study about teachers and their perceptions of collaborative teaching.  Depicts the positive aspects of teacher design teams.  Teachers are able to put into the curriculum topics of their choice and the article reflects on the teachers’ positive perceptions regarding this process.

Evaluation:  While at times methodical, it was an interesting read and one in which those interested in collaboration should look into.


Piloting the Learning Commons

Jay, Jessica


Murray, E. (2015). Piloting the learning commons: Coteaching and collaboration between a classroom teacher and a teacher librarian. 43(1), 18-24.https://sjsu-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_gale_ofa433385848&context=PC&vid=01CALS_SJO&search_scope=EVERYTHING&tab=everything&lang=en_US


This article focused on the collaboration efforts of a 3rd grade classroom teacher and a teacher librarian.  The media center was changed into a learning common area with the classroom teacher and the teacher librarian collaborating together to teach students.  This article detailed a successful coteaching plan between a teacher librarian and a general educator. This study proved to be academically advantageous to students, as well.  


The results of this study were inspiring to me as a future teacher librarian.  To have a space that isn’t set aside just once a week for ‘library class’, but instead is transformed into a common, easily accessible learning area, is very exciting.  The students benefit, as well as the teachers. I’d love to try this model when I am officially a teacher librarian!