Posts Tagged 'Marquette'

A Co-Teaching Model

296-1246152442owjrBy Elizabeth Jorgensen

Because creative writing accommodates students with a variety of special needs, administrators assigned a special education teacher to one of my sections. But what did this mean?

At a summer, morning-long meeting, my co-teacher Heidi and I learned about co-teaching models. School administrators said, “Co-teaching is when one classroom has two teachers: one general education teacher and one special education teacher. Both are in a single classroom and both provide inclusive instruction to students of all needs.”

At the meeting, Heidi and I defined our roles and discussed our classroom goals. We read articles and gained tips for effective co-teaching. We discussed our experiences and our students. Then, we reviewed what we learned and created lesson plans and a strategy for the year.

Throughout the next three years, Heidi and I collaborated and instructed (and laughed and met for breakfast and attended athletic events together). Administrators have told us we are a model for successful co-teaching. But why? What do we do?

  • We developed a relationship with each other. Heidi and I talked about our significant others, about our weekend plans, about our goals for our students and about our successes and failures. Heidi and I developed trust and rapport—and this made collaborating easy.
  • We communicated and collaborated. Once every two weeks, we spent an afternoon creating lesson plans. (Our administrators provided substitutes for this planning time.) We collaborated on activities, worksheets, assignments and assessments. We analyzed previous assignments and activities and made modifications for future semesters. We discussed our roles and our classroom timeline. And we created and shared a Google spreadsheet. This kept us organized and on-task and allowed for constant communication.
  • We provided support for all students. We discussed particular students, their needs and potential solutions. We made plans for interventions and assistance. We contacted parents and provided accommodations and commendations. In the classroom, Heidi and I supported all students regardless of their special needs.
  • We were equals. Heidi and I shared duties equally, instructing, assessing and grading assignments. We didn’t want the students to identify the “English teacher” or the “special education teacher.” And we learned from each other (Heidi taught me more about differentiation and how to insert movement in my classroom; she also provided innovation and encouragement).

Heidi and I are not perfect, but we are open to discussing our mistakes and making improvements. We have fun and we aim to engage all students and to make our classroom better every day.

This semester, I didn’t have enough students with special needs to warrant a co-teacher, but I’m already looking forward to next semester when Heidi re-joins creative writing.

Looking for more resources?

Brown, N.B., Howerter, C.S., & Morgan, J. J. (2013). Tools and strategies for making co-teaching work.

Intervention in School and Clinic, 49(2), 84-91.

Graziano, K.J., & Navarrete, L. A. (2012). Coteaching in a teacher education classroom: Collaboration,

compromise, and creativity. Issues in Teacher Education, 21(1), 109-126.

Mastropieri, M.A., & Scruggs, T.E., (2006). The inclusive classroom: Strategies for effective instruction (3rd

ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Murawski, W. W., & Dieker, L. (2008). 50 ways to keep your co-teacher: Strategies for before, during, and after

co-teaching. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(4), 40-48.

Do you want to see Heidi and me co-teaching? Here are two videos from one lesson: 1 and 2.


 Building A Better Bulletin Board

language_bulletin_board_ksuBy Peggy Wuenstel

In these days of Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, none of which I am very proficient in using, the old-fashioned bulletin board seems like a dated if not obsolete concept. Users today seem to feel a need to record every aspect of their life, meals, fun with friends, and exotic vacations, all carefully edited for public consumption. I would argue against the retirement of the traditional bulletin board. There are two distinct camps in the bulletin board debate. There are those who love to create, display and use them. There is a team in my building who create amazing art that makes students, teachers, and families feel valued and welcome. There are also those who hate them and think of them as a waste of time better used for direct instructional activities.

There is also the demarcation between the pre-fab vs. the personally created. Our favorite teacher resource books and websites offer lots of choices for those short on time, talent or inspiration. Some educators see the bulletin board as a chance to display student work, create a gallery, track progress, and provide cues for schedules, expectations or timing in their classrooms. Things posted on a board rather than delivered verbally can help build independence and responsibility in students.

This month I am celebrating a different type of corkboard, the kind that we use to attach new thinking, to record experiences, opinions, visual memories, graphic organizers, and memory aids. The larger the board we create for our children, the more new knowledge that they each can attach. With the right kind of encouragement we can help transform them into vision boards, those images that move us, inform us, inspire us to reflect and create.

Every teacher has at least one bulletin board. It might be cork, fabric, magnetic, or digital. It is also always mental. It’s that place where we keep all those things that we can’t afford to or don’t want to forget. You might have caught on to the fact that I am no longer talking about the classroom version that includes the lunch menu and tomorrow’s homework. I’m talking about the personal one.

I am appreciating my bulletin board before it is gone. I have begun the winnowing process, but there are a few things that will always remain pinned there until the very last days. My calendar, a paper version that allows me to smile at puppies every day sits at the center. Just like an analog clock, a paper calendar with its rows and columns is essential to teach kids about the systematic passing of time in ways that our digital tools cannot.

There are the assorted “love notes”, pictures, valentines, and other student created mementos tucked into the frame, expressions of affection that everyone needs to see now and then. There are pictures of my grandchildren, my niece in full combat gear, a vacation snapshot to remind me that not everything I love is here in this building. There are the magazine photos of sea otters that remind my students that I have favorite foods, colors, songs, and animals just like they do and the fact that we know that about each other makes us better at working together.

There are the utilitarian pieces, the contact lists, phone numbers, important dates, and meeting reminders. These change with the seasons, and the reasons for teaching. There are a few inspirational quotes, and always, my theme quote for the year front and center. This year’s version is “Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever” from Mahatma Gandhi.

There are the things I need help to remember, along with those that I know I will never forget. The handmade library card holder made of foam and duct tape, fashioned by a student who knows how often I go to the library, the photo of colleagues sharing a laugh, a cherished thank you note. There are also things that are not there, because they are private and would be hard to explain to students and parents. Things that make me laugh, and things that make me cry, including funeral cards for students who left us too soon. There are the cartoons meant for adult eyes, evidences of my political leanings, the talismans of the faith that guides my steps and my educational practice. And because I want no one to think I am anxious to leave here, there are no vision board pieces on this school board, no New England fall foliage or cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. No baby turtles struggling to get to the Atlantic Ocean or tombstones on the fields of Gettysburg because these are the things I hope to see in the first year of retirement. I have a vision board at home that includes these images as well as a tentative itinerary for a year of travel in an RV following the last days of school.

I have plans to send progress reports back to school, possibly labeled “Where in America are the Wuenstels?” but those reports will be on someone else’s bulletin board. I’ll likely post more often on Facebook, but not much more. There won’t be nearly as much that I need to remember, except maybe where we parked the RV.



Small Talk = Big Connections

chat-23713_640By Parker Lawson – As I have begun to familiarize myself with the people and places around me here at Marquette, I am constantly reminded of how happy I am that I chose to come here. I chose the most beautiful campus, in the middle of a great city, surrounded by some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met in my life.

Now that the awkward icebreaker games have come to an end, and the orientation madness has settled down, I am starting to develop true, genuine friendships. A Marquette alum once told me, “You have no idea the amount of wonderful people you are soon to interact with there.” You were so right, Mom!

I have already connected with amazing, beautiful people here. The Marquette community is different from any other I’ve ever been in, and although the majority of the people here are truly interesting, smart and kind, I have noticed that there are still some who are holding back. Understandably, it is still pretty early in the school year, adjustments are difficult, and meeting people isn’t everyone’s forte. But in my humble, extroverted opinion, there are still too many people I’ve run into both on campus and off, who simply make no effort.

Why are people so scared to talk to one another?

Now, I’m not asking you to spill your entire life story in our two-second elevator ride, but small talk seems to be SO uncomfortable for so many people. What in today’s society has made a simple, “Happy Tuesday! How’s your day going?” so miserable? I understand that I’m a little bubbly for a Tuesday 8 a.m. class, but there are so many people that seem like they have absolutely no desire to test the waters and eek out beyond their comfort zone, even just a little bit.

Whether it’s the technology that has destroyed us, or the fear of judgment, I wish people knew how important it is to reach out to people and TALK. A quick hello or simple compliment can mean SO much to someone who maybe hasn’t received that sense of compassion in weeks. As cliché as that may seem, rich relationships are just waiting to form, and although small talk might be a bit of an awkward risk in the moment, the payoff can be immeasurable and long lasting.

These little connections we make in our mini conversations can help us find our very best friends. Isn’t something that wonderful worth the risk?  There are so many people who are anxious to meet people like you, all you have to do is put yourself out there!

I challenge you to start small talk today and become genuinely interested in learning more about the people around you! You have the power to create the most beautiful connections, and today is the perfect day to do just that.

Balancing Idealism and Practicality in the Student Affairs Profession

By Michael Lampe — It has been yet another sizzling skillet of fun at the practicum site while producing an online orientation program and assisting at UW-Waukesha’s registration sessions.

On my days off these last couple of weeks, I was contemplating finding out who started the company that made my air conditioning unit and send them a thank you card.

However, once I got back on track, I was excited to offer the opportunity for one of the orientation leaders to be a voiceover for some of the online tutorials explaining students how to utilize various institutional tools. It is amazing how much you could do with a smart phone. I was able to use my phone as a microphone, send it to my email, then use it as the audio to the tutorial videos.

One of the great aspects of Marquette’s College Student Personnel Administration Program is the focus gaining practical skills through their practicum courses and numerous assistantship opportunities. Having these opportunities combined with a rigorous study on student development theories and best practices allowed me to analyze and balance between the ideal and practical. Although it is quite simple to just blindly follow best practices, professionals should analyze and critique the documents that guide our practice in a forward direction.

There are many variables that play into best practices and approaches that may inhibit our ability to do so. For example, we live in a new age of rapid information sharing that creates an environment of criticism from the media and analysis from political institutions. On top of this environment, the economic labor markets have some implication on how institutions may adjust in their academic programming and student services. The million dollar question is how to balance these two variables while providing the best service for our students?

Also, should student affairs professionals have an enhanced understanding of politics and economics? The answer should clearly be yes.

Just as highly rely on accountability measures for learning outcomes, professionals should learn how to explain their importance in a manner to which the general public understands. There should also be a call to have more connection of why our services help create a better competitive workforce applying for jobs.

Do not get me wrong, I am completely on the student affairs bandwagon when it comes to professionals enhancing the student experience. However, we must not totally disregard the political movement citing fiscal red flags connected to government educational funding.

The more we learn to work together, the more we can save money and present a case for doing something about it. If we continue to disregard criticism as a profession, economic and political forces will undo the impact student affairs has had on the college population since the profession’s inception.


Tuesday Trivia – September 6, 2011

The semester is officially under way!  Let’s hear that school pride!

How many teams wear the Marquette Blue and Gold?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.


How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge every Tuesday this summer during Tuesday Trivia!

Tuesday Trivia – August 30, 2011

A fun fact about our namesake…

What year was Rev. Jacques Marquette born?

Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 6pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers after the close of business and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.


How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge every Tuesday this summer during Tuesday Trivia!

Basketball Memories Inspire Long-Term Literacy

By Katie Simet — Ever wonder how far a single high five, “well-done,” or “nice job” can go with a child?

Just ask the school children in the area who team up with Marquette’s Family Literacy Project.

The Family Literacy Project, operated through the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center and directed by Dr. Kathleen Clark in the College of Education, supports approximately 50 area children each semester by busing them to Marquette’s campus for weekly lessons in reading and math.

While visiting the participating schools last week to do some pre-assessment for the spring term, I had the pleasure of walking and talking briefly with students. It is here in these precious few moments that I was able to ask, “How is your day?” and “What are you learning?” From there I usually introduce myself, explaining that I am there with Marquette University at which points their eyes immediately light up with excitement: the dream of attending Marquette one day is a common one for these youngsters and the anticipation of visiting again next semester is irresistible.  After another inspiring visit to the schools this past week, I couldn’t help but feel proud to be part of such an impactful program that really makes a difference in the lives of students. Continue reading ‘Basketball Memories Inspire Long-Term Literacy’

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