Collaborating With Teachers
Collaboration: 6 Tips
1. Choose one teacher who you have a positive relationship with. Approach that teacher with an idea of a collaborative project. Be ready to provide details on why she should work with you and how it will benefit her and her students. You want to make sure this is a successful collaboration. Once you do this a few times other teachers will see this and be more inclined to work with you as well.
2. Clear and effective communication is key to ensure a successful experience. Make sure both you and the teacher understand the goal of the lesson and know what the expectations are for each of you. Who is responsible for what aspect of the lesson? What materials are needed? Where will the lesson take place (the library or the classroom?) Feedback after the lesson is completed is also important.
3. Keep in mind that collaboration comes in many different forms. It is not always a complicated research project that will take weeks to complete. It can be simply providing a list of books or digital resources on a topic. Helping a teacher choose a read-aloud or a book set to use in small groups. Or showing students how to search for and find mystery books to complete a genre activity. All of these things are collaboration and they are all important.
4. Eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge and attend curriculum and grade level meetings if possible. Don’t hide at the back of the room during meetings. The more you interact with teachers (both in a formal and informal setting) the more likely collaboration will take place. If your school uses Google Classroom you can ask to be added to grade level team drives. This way you can see what classroom teachers are working on, share lessons and ideas and plan together.
5. Read the curriculum maps and pacing guides for your school. Know what resources you have in the library that will meet the needs of your teachers and students. Be ready to provide quick answers to questions like “do you have any fiction books on Ancient Greece” or “do you have biographies that my first graders can read?” Now I’m not saying you have to memorize every book in the library and know what every grade level is teaching every minute of every day. But being knowledgeable will show your committment to your students, teachers and the school.
6. You will want to keep track of not only of the collaboration lessons but also all your ideas, resources and notes. I suggest making a dedicated Google folder to keep everything in. Not only will you be able to access it from anywhere but you can also easily share a document with teachers. Another idea is to use Google Keep. Google Keep is an organizational and note-taking platform where you can create lists, take notes and save websites and images. Here is a blog post from Elementary Engagement on using Google Keep if you are unfamiliar with it.