Teaching in Tandem

Valley Park Elementary

Interactive Read Aloud

Finding books and getting things ready for interactive read-alouds can be daunting! Stacy and I teamed up to make the work a little easier.

We work together to:

  • research & request titles for the month, skill, or theme appropriate for kindergartners.
  • align the read aloud with kindergarten standards.
  • use One Note to keep track of book titles used, teaching points, vocabulary, sentence frames, and discussion starters.

Kids talk about books, learn vocabulary, think about story elements, and give us their opinions about books. Stacy observes students during this time and takes anecdotal notes. It's truly a student-centered focus!

Words, Words, Words!

Big picture
Many team discussions have centered around a need for increased vocabulary instruction. Five teachers opened up their classrooms to change up their vocabulary routine. Michelle Sencibaugh and I partnered with Courtney Shamel to introduce an explicit vocabulary teaching routine. Specific words were chosen from Courtney's read-aloud book, then the teaching routine was modeled a few times. After a couple of days, Courtney was doing the routine on her own. I support her behind the scenes by helping choose the words, creating the word wall cards, and suggesting review activities.

The second grade team and I are currently working on the same model. We are using the Units of Study, read alouds, and academic vocabulary lists to choose words. The biggest improvement overall is the sheer volume of words that have been explicitly taught in just a few weeks. Kids are engaged, finding words in their reading, using it in their writing, and in conversation.

Feedback is important!

It's hard to open your classroom to someone. It's even harder for me to ask you to! I thoroughly enjoy being in classrooms supporting teachers' magic. Remember, you're the expert. You know your kids. Many of the ways I work with teachers isn't ground-breaking, but it's supporting them in trying out new things, old things, or just doing something together instead of alone.

Getting feedback from the teachers I work with is crucial to making any partnership work. See what other teachers have had to say

Focused Planning

Time to plan for teaching is precious! Upon Paige's return, we were able to review and plan third grade's non-fiction reading unit.


  • identified important teaching points in the reading unit.
  • organized read-aloud titles.
  • began working on anchor charts.
  • mapped out lessons.
  • made the unit work for the teachers and the needs of their students!

Through collaboration, 3rd grade also put together a parade based on the non-fiction book Balloons Over Broadway . Students prepared for this by working with their special person on K.I.S.S. Day. This engaging activity connected art, planning, research, and non-fiction reading!

Balloons Over Broadway in 3rd Grade