It is funny watching what happens when people break things. Observations are made, insights are gained, comparisons happen, and lessons are learned. Launching ISP Lite, now called the “Learning Community at CCTS”, (Someone throw some siracha on this name – PLEASE!) has had a similar effect.
In this new system, we schedule and roster students in a way that allows us to team teach across the curriculum. Generally, math pairs with science and history pairs with language arts but we have the freedom to shuffle these pairings. The experience has been eye-opening.
In just three weeks, we were stunned to discover just how often all four us teach the same skills but use different language and methods to do so. When classes were separate, the results were confusions for students, inefficiency for teachers, and frustration for everyone. Once we put our classes together, however, each lesson fed into the next. My lesson on making quantitative observations using the metric system became a math lesson on proportions and solving for X which became an English lesson on differentiating between summary and reaction. Topics that required a few days each were compressed into single lessons taught cross-curricularly in a more effective manner.
All of this was made possible by “breaking” the schedule and giving teachers the room to act as professionals. It showed that simply aligning the curriculum on paper is not enough. We are doing things differently and it is already making a difference.