The observers were extremely impressed with the fast pace of the EDC instruction, the students' accountability as they each wrote their answers on a lap size whiteboard, and the organization of the EDC corner which provided efficient transitions. Furthermore, the depth of questioning on the part of each teacher was noted and admired.
After EDC, Mrs. Ross and the four students rejoined the class, and the teachers co-taught the mini-lesson to review the writing of an equation with a missing addend. Several students shared their strategies for attacking a missing addend problem. Then, the teachers explained the game
The observers noticed immediately that for every auditory direction or explanation, the other teacher added the visual representation so all students' learning styles were met. The teachers, while explaining the directions, modeled and recorded their thinking on a teacher created handout which students were asked to fill out as they played the game in Work Period.
As students transitioned to Work Session in pairs, select students joined a small group in the front of the room, while others joined a small group in the back of the classroom. Mrs. Russell's group worked on the game together with more structured support, while Mrs. Ross' group had a modified handout. They were working on finding missing addends in an equation without the support of the manipulatives provided by the game. This challenge group also had additional problems with one of them requiring a written response at the bottom of the modified handout. It was evident while observing that these teachers met with all students in the classroom to meet the needs of every child. Several times, during their small groups, they left the group working and did "drive bys" in the classroom.
In closing session, several students shared their work, that was selected by the teacher during Work Session, and both teachers questioned students to extend their learning.
If you want to see a classroom environment that is organized and purposeful, and instruction that is well planned and extends student learning, you must visit their room to watch their instruction. They truly demonstrate the best of co-teaching and small group instruction inside a math/science classroom.