George Lucas Educational Foundation

YES Prep Demonstrates Successful Team Teaching

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

YES Prep Demonstrates Successful Team Teaching (Transcript)

Erica: So, the moon is going to be right here. Remember that we're going to look in a straight line through the center of the Earth, so we're going to…

Narrator: Erica Waybright teaches science.

Lindsey: …90 and 270. If you have a quarter-moon, a quarter-moon…

Narrator: Lindsey Pairs teaches math.

Lindsey: It shouldn't look like a crescent at all.

Narrator: And they work in the same classroom.

Erica: Pass these out to each table.

Narrator: Like all other core-subject teachers in the sixth and seventh grades at YES Prep North Central, they teach as a team.

Katie: Did you have any connections to this poem, or did it make you think of anything else?

Narrator: While YES Prep spends slightly less per student than other Houston public schools, the team-teaching approach is an unusual allocation of resources that seems to be paying off.

Erica: I actually think the team-teaching model is amazing. My partner teaches basically the math portion. I teach the science portion, but we do a lot of shared responsibilities. We do a lot of planning together, making sure that we're integrating math and science.

Nice job.

Narrator: Whether it's math and science or arts and humanities, a prime reason for team-teaching is the integration of subject areas, which, as studies have shown, results in deeper understanding for students.

Katie: It's hard for teachers at first to integrate, because they want to teach their own subject and teach it well, which obviously needs to happen, but I think we've learned that kids love it when we integrate. They see the connections a lot more quickly than I think we ever thought they would, and they sort of latch on to that information.

Student: It's waxing, because after a while it's going to get bigger, and then it's going to be waning.

Erica: Perfect.

Katie: Being in a classroom with 36 kids by yourself, you'd probably go crazy. I mean, there's always someone to help you and to bounce ideas off of, and it's good for grouping. We can do a lot more group work, a lot more centers, a lot more projects, where the kids are going to get the attention they need.

What else? Ms. Knapp?

Teacher: I thought of world's greatest boss, world's greatest teachers.

Katie: Absolutely.

Philip: We know how important that collaboration is, not only in terms of sharing the workload but, more importantly, if you have hired two people that are incredibly intelligent in a content area, their lesson's only going to be stronger by them sharing their ideas with each other. I think every single type of poem we can incorporate into the different aspects of community.

Narrator: Teacher teams meet for 50 minutes each day to strategize and plan lessons.

Katie: I think what we talked about with you having them actually write poetry in history is huge.

Lora: It does take a little bit of extra time to meet and make sure our two subject areas are aligning. It would be a lot easier to just do my subject and stay in that box, but it wouldn't be as beneficial.

Why don't I just write the poems for the lesson on Thursday and Friday?

Narrator: The YES Prep formula for effective team-teaching includes: daily 50-minute common planning sessions for teacher teams, lesson plans that require active participation by both teachers, professional development specific to best practices in team-teaching.

Katie: So, the upcoming week…

Hard parts about it? I mean, personalities have to match. I've been lucky enough this year to have a really great team teacher who we get along perfectly, but that's always a struggle for administration, I think, to put teacher together who're going to work well together and just that there's not a lot of research, I don't feel like, about how team-teaching can really work, so we've kind of made it up as we go along, and we've learned every year different ways that we can best use that relationship, since we're both there in the classroom.

Lora: You guys have the same thing?

Narrator: For YES Prep, team-teaching has provided smaller teacher-to-student ratios, deeper student understanding of subjects and connections and positive examples of successful collaboration.

Katie: So let's try to put that into a paraphrase.

Lora: I think that team-teaching models how you can be even more successful if you can work positively in a team, so it's really cool that our students get to see us every single day interacting, and they also see us outside of the classroom interacting with each other, and they know that just being in relationships and having a positive working environment can help you be successful.

Erica: Make sure you get even with it and tell me what you see. Good.

For more information on what works in public education go to

Get Video
Embed Code Embed Help

You are welcome to embed this video, download it for personal use, or use it in a presentation for a conference, class, workshop, or free online course, so long as a prominent credit or link back to Edutopia is included. If you'd like more detailed information about Edutopia's allowed usages, please see the Licenses section of our Terms of Use.


Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis


  • Karen Sutherland

Coordinating Producer

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

Production Assistant

  • Doug Keely

Camera Crew

  • Thomas Waldron
  • Mark Angelo


  • Kris Welch

Original Music

  • Ed Bogas

Support for Edutopia's Schools That Work series is provided, in part, by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Click on any of the titles below to download a PDF of one of YES Prep's many resources.

Team Teaching

Expectations for Team Teaching 145K
Five expectations for team teaching

Team Teacher Meeting Guide 107K
Team teacher meeting guide

More at How YOU Can Do It: YES Prep Resources and Downloads

Since this video was produced, Philip Wright has accepted a position as codirector of the YES Prep Southeast campus, and teacher Bryan Reed has taken his place as principal of YES Prep North Central's high school.

What do you think of Schools that Work?
Tweet your answer to @edutopia or post your comment below.

Comments Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.