The Acorn

A Newsletter for CSB/SJU Cooperating Teachers

Volume 3, issue 3 * September 11, 2020

Growing, Nurturing, Developing, and Supporting

"The Acorn" is a newsletter for the cooperating teachers working with student teachers from the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University. This publication is intended to help our cooperating teachers understand their roles and responsibilities as well as provide them with current research and best practice on working with student teachers.

Resources for Teachers

This school year is opening like no other, and this school year is providing opportunities we have never had before. This school year is providing us with opportunities to stretch all aspects of our teaching, to address the needs of the whole child, to examine our attitudes and actions around significant educational and social issues, and to think about how we are caring for our students and ourselves when we are all stretched thin.

To frame how I consider working with preservice teachers and all of their supports (cooperating teachers, university supervisors, faculty, and other stakeholders), I have been turning to the principles we share at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. In the past few weeks, two of those principals have come into bright light: the importance of listening and the need to be fully present (essentially, the need to pause and rest in the moment). These have been extremely challenging as my mind is constantly going; I’m always thinking about what needs to be done next, of ways to improve, of what I’ve read or listened to that will make a positive impact on others. That’s fine; openness to improvement falls within the Benedictine way (Rock, 2013; p. 59). However, this year is different. This year being in the moment and really listening is of greater importance!

The Chinese character for listening captures its essence of beautifully. It combines several elements: ears, eyes, undivided attention, and an open heart. Much can be gleaned from spending time with this idea, and having done so, I’m taking a pause on a well-articulated article on working with student teachers.

Of the 20 student teachers we have with CSB/SJU this fall, half of them are teaching in face-to-face situations (as of Wednesday night). The other half are completing their student teaching in hybrid or distance situated classrooms. They, along with their cooperating teachers, are all reimagining teaching as we have known it. Like their cooperating teachers, they are learning that last year’s distance learning really wasn’t distance learning at its best. It was “crisis learning” (Fisher, Frey, & Hattie, 2021; p. 1). Student teachers have expressed that it is challenging this year to keep students interested, engaged, and technologically involved, even when distance learning isn’t the delivery method.

One of the greatest challenges we face in teaching and learning is keeping our students engaged. We know there are many teaching and learning practices that impact or influence achievement; John Hattie’s research and Robert Marzano’s high yield instructional practices highlight this (See Hattie’s Visible Learning and this Marzano Chart). How we translate these into the distance or relevant-to-today practices can be challenging and finding the best resources can be difficult as well.

I’d like to offer you some excellent resources that may assist you in capturing current, relevant, engaging content and strategies for today’s students.


Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Hattie, J. (2021). The distance learning playbook Grades K-12: Teaching for engagement and impact in any setting. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, a Sage Company. (I have found this to be extremely relevant and helpful!)


Cult of Pedagogy—Jennifer Gonzalez’s blog is chock full of current, relevant conversations, ideas, and links to content. This is one of my favorites!

CoolCatTeacher—Vicki Davis is an IT teacher whose blog relates to all teachers

The Tech Savvy Educator—Ben Rimes makes technology integration interesting, easy, and relevant

Function of Time—Great math material!

A Year of Reading—If you’re looking for literacy ideas and connections, this is a WOW!

Articles on Education in times of COVID and Social Unrest

“COVID-19 and Remote Learning: How to Make It Work”

“How to Balance In-Person and Remote Instruction”

“How to Make Lessons Cohesive When Teaching Both Remote and In-Person Classes”

“Supporting Racial Equity in Distance Learning” –The Minnesota Education Equity Partnership ( offers fabulous materials for us on race, equity, and cultural competency

Open Educational Resources (This is a strong interest of mine, and I’d be more than happy to work with you, your teaching team, or your school on understanding this more!)

Edutopia OER Round Up—Edutopia created a collection of resources to understand OER practices and access OER materials

The OER Commons—This site allows you to search for materials that you can use or re-author to suit your needs

CK Foundation—This organization has online texts available for grades k-12 in both teacher and student formats. Many texts are identified as being aligned to state standards. (See or

Public Broadcasting Service—According to its website, “TPT and PBS have curated FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more for teachers like you.”

Valdosta State University—Valdosta’s library has curated a large list of OER resources and free e-books.

The University of Pittsburgh Library System—This list includes several guides and sources as well as lists of multimedia, art, and other large repositories


Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Hattie, J. (2021). The distance learning playbook Grades K-12: Teaching for engagement and impact in any setting. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, a Sage Company.

Rock, Michael. (2013). St. Benedict's guide to improving your work life: Workplace as worthplace. London, CT: Twenty-Third Publications.

Big picture

Weeks 3 & 4 Documentation and Timelines

Please refer to the previous issue of The Acorn for details on Weeks 1 & 2. These weeks are determined by the first day there is responsibility for student instruction.

Many questions can be answered within the Student Teaching Handbook

Week 3:

· Work with the student teacher in planning, preparation of lessons and materials, monitoring student work, and assessment.

· Review the student teacher’s lesson plans (CSB/SJU approved lesson plans should be used for the first two-three weeks of teaching).

· Co-teach in subjects/classes the student teacher is not leading

· Conduct one formal observation (see form link below)

· Elementary:

o Allow the student teacher to solo teach 30-40 minutes per day in one subject independently; adding 10 minutes as the student teacher is ready.

· Secondary: Allow the student teacher to teach at least one section of a course, build to two sections by the end of the week if the student teacher is ready

Week 4:

· Conduct informal observations of the student teacher and provide feedback

· Co-teach in classes/subjects the student teacher is not leading

· Elementary:

o Allow the student teacher to fully teach in one subject if ready

· Secondary: Teach a minimum of 40 minutes per day. Allow the student teacher to continue with the previous course and all other sections of that course (up to two classes less than a full-time load, if the student teacher is prepared to do so)

Observation Form

This link will connect you with the online observation form required by our program to assess our student teachers' progress in student teaching. Cooperating teachers should be completing 4 observations of students whose placements are 12 weeks or longer. See the handbook for specific details.

Observation Form

The New EdTech Classroom--A YouTube Channel for Teachers in Embedding More Technology in Their Classrooms

Education Technology Tutorials | The New EdTech Classroom Channel Introduction

CSB/SJU Education Department

Jennifer L. Meagher, Ed.D.

Director of Elementary and Secondary Student Teaching