The Acorn

A Newsletter for CSB/SJU Cooperating Teachers

Volume 3, issue 9* December 4 , 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.

Lessons Learned and Thank Yous

We know that this year presented challenges and learning experiences for us that we may have never experienced before. Educators across all age groups, with all levels of students and abilities, and with a wide range of experience could agree likely agree that through these challenges, we have learned a lot and that we have some things to be thankful for. I would like to share with you what our student teachers for this semester have noted:


Student teachers have learned:

*To be more organized and planned out, but to stay flexible for students

*Where my passions lie—in content, grade and age level

*To be adaptable, positive, and keep moving forward

*The fine line between being strict and being “nice” knowing that respect is the key

*To always put students first

*That it’s OK if a lesson fails or doesn’t go as planned; students may still be learning

*Patience and to not stress the small stuff

*Time put in does not equal being a good teacher. Too much focus on perfection will exhaust a person, and being energetic, refreshed, and excited to teach is necessary

*Time management, balance, and self-care

*That I need to give myself more credit and some grace

*That there is so much more to teaching than teaching

*That I’m making a difference!


Student teachers are thankful for:

*Open conversations

*Mentorship opportunities

*Leadership opportunities

*The students and their enthusiasm

*Finding joy in the little things

*A chance to struggle and to have someone to help figure it out

*Smiles and laughter from students and staff

*All the time and energy cooperating teachers put in to helping [us] be better


I have learned:

*Our student teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors are flexible, resilient, and dedicated

*My teaching expectations and methods need to change to accommodate student-teacher exhaustion during this pandemic

*We are going over and above to make teaching and learning work for everyone

*I need to modify “The Acorn” to be more accommodating to cooperating teacher time and needs (reframing coming in Spring term)

*I can do more than I think I can but it will look and feel different


I am thankful for:

*Placements that have helped student teachers learn, grow, find their strengths, needs, and passions

*The hard work cooperating teachers have done to mentor our student teachers

*The ongoing support university supervisors provide for our candidates

*The quality preparation our student teachers have received to ready them for this experience

*The opportunity to continue to work with people in education to nurture, support, direct, and prepare the next generation of teachers


This term hasn’t been easy for any of us, but I do believe it has been a success. For that and so much more, I wish to thank you!

COVID-19 TEACHER MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION | American HERO | Jeremy Anderson

Weeks 15 & 16 Documentation and Timelines

Please refer to the previous issues of The Acorn and the Student Teaching Handbook as needed.


For student teachers with 16-week placements--

Week 15

*Continue to teach as close to full time as possible

*Continue to informally observe and offer feedback

*Prepare for the final triad meeting: schedule, evaluations, etc.

*Prepare a letter of recommendation/reference

Week 16

*Complete all CSB/SJU forms and evaluations

*Participate in the final triad meeting

*Share letter of recommendation/reference with both the student teacher and university supervisor


For student teachers with 8-week placements--

Week 7 of second placement--

*Conduct one formal observation

*Continue to teach as close to full time as possible

*Continue to informally observe and offer feedback

*Prepare for the final triad meeting: schedule, evaluations, etc.

*Prepare a letter of recommendation/reference


Week 8 of second placement--

*Complete all CSB/SJU forms and evaluations

*Participate in the final triad meeting

*Share letter of recommendation/reference with both the student teacher and university supervisor


For student teachers with endorsements in a 5-week placement—

Week 3 of second placement--

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

*Allow the student teacher to teach up to one course less than a full-time load

*Conduct one formal observation and provide feedback


Week 4 of second placement--

*Continue to teach as in previous week

*Assist student teacher to address areas needing improvement with continued informal observations and feedback

*Conduct one formal evaluation

*Prepare for the final triad meeting: schedule, evaluations, etc.

*Prepare a letter of recommendation/reference


Week 5 of second placement--

*Complete all CSB/SJU forms and evaluations

*Participate in the final triad meeting

*Share letter of recommendation/reference with both the student teacher and university supervisor

CSB/SJU Forms

This link will connect you with the online forms 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.


By the end of week 10, all student teachers should have had a minimum of THREE total formal observations by the cooperating teacher(s).


At the end of placements, cooperating teachers should complete three additional forms: an evaluation of the university supervisor, a dispositional rating of the student teacher, and a final evaluation of the student teacher.


Please remember to use N/A (unable to observe) for any areas not evaluated during a particular observation.


Observation Form

Evaluation of University Supervisor

Student Teacher’s Dispositional Evaluation

Student Teaching Final Evaluation

Thank You Again!

teacher encouragement

Resources for Distance Learning

This list is kept from the previous edition.


As many of our schools have moved to hybrid and distance learning, I have compiled a list of resources and articles that may be helpful in this process.

How to Co-Teach During Distance Learning

This article lists a handful of ways to honor each other and work collaboratively in the distance environment. It also links to other helpful resources.

Virtual IEP Accommodations

This article identifies common accommodations and offers online/digital resources and platforms to address each accommodation. These are great for all students!

How to Create a Self-Paced Classroom

Kareem Farah shares ideas and steps to change the organization of the distanced classroom to accommodate student learning and pacing. Situated in Jen Gonzalez's blog Cult of Pedagogy you will find other articles that are very useful in navigating distance learning.

The Learning Network

Created by The New York Times, this site has content, activities, and curriculum for students as well as professional development and teaching ideas for public use. It is an excellent source!

KQED/MindShift

This blog explores innovative ways teachers keep students engaged and provides content for use. It is highly rated in educational circles.

Free Technology for Teachers

Richard Byrne reviews and curates tech resources, websites, and program that are free for teachers and learners. His blog received the an award for being the best educational resource sharing blog in 2018.

CSB/SJU Education Department

Jennifer L. Meagher, Ed.D.

Director of Elementary and Secondary Student Teaching