Using IXL to support co-teaching

Alyssa Evans is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with experience as a middle and high school teacher.

Co-teaching is becoming more common as schools work to support a diverse set of learners. Co-teachers are often general education teachers and special education teachers who work together in the same classroom. 

Co-teaching can look different from classroom to classroom; in fact, there are six well-known co-teaching models. Let’s take a look at three of those models, and share strategies for how co-teachers can use IXL to support student learning!

Parallel teaching

In this model, the class is separated into two groups, and both teachers cover the same information simultaneously in different sections of the room. This allows teachers to work with smaller groups and pay more attention to students’ individual needs. 

In this model, teachers typically plan the lesson together, but deliver it separately. The lesson may be exactly the same for both groups, or it may be adjusted to meet the needs of students in each group.


How IXL supports parallel teaching

  • Creating groups. IXL’s Diagnostic Strand Analysis is a report that pinpoints each student’s level of understanding across key strands. With this knowledge in hand, you can easily split your class into groups based on their current understanding.
  • Lesson planning. While planning the lesson together, you can use IXL skill plans to  quickly find the activity that matches the lesson. For example, if you’re planning to cover a chapter of your textbook, you can see the exact skills that perfectly match the content within that chapter. Then, you can preview each skill and select the option that will work best for each group.
  • Monitor progress. While students are working in groups, you can use Live Classroom to see their responses and step in to help when needed. If each group is working on a different skill, you can use the “Group by skill” toggle to easily sort your class.


Station teaching

In this model, teachers set up different learning stations in various areas of the classroom. Each teacher instructs at their own station, and there is usually at least one station where students work independently.

Station teaching allows students to get support from their teachers in small groups. This model is especially valuable when small groups are made up of students with similar strengths and challenges.


How IXL supports station teaching

  • Creating groups. IXL’s Diagnostic Strand Analysis automatically creates suggested groups based on students’ current working level, so you can easily create small groups. You can even use the recommended IXL skills for each small group in their station rotation!
  • Personalized practice. IXL’s Recommendations wall provides an excellent learning opportunity for an independent student work station. Each student’s wall is full of personalized skill recommendations that are just right for them. You can have students choose any skill from their Recommendations wall, and feel confident that it will help them grow from where they are.


Alternative teaching

In this model, one teacher leads a majority of the class in large group instruction, while the other teacher works with a small group of students in a different space. Alternative teaching can be a great way to provide additional support to students who are struggling with a concept. It also creates opportunities for re-teaching, reviewing, and pre-teaching. 


How IXL supports alternative teaching

  • Reviewing in small groups. In addition to the Diagnostic Strand Analysis, the Trouble Spots report is a great way to identify where students need extra help. The Trouble Spots report automatically groups students based on their current understanding of the topic, and provides the exact material to review with them.
  • Scaffolding. When you view IXL skills by topic, you’ll be able to see all of the skills on a given concept across all grade levels. This allows you to have students working on similar skills and concepts, but at the level that will be most conducive to their growth. Simply navigate to the “Learning” tab, select your subject, and then select “Topics” on the “View by” bar.

We know that effective co-teaching can have a huge impact on students’ abilities to learn and grow. With the many tools available to you on IXL, you can feel confident that you and your co-teacher can successfully implement any of these co-teaching models!

Looking for even more implementation ideas? Check out IXL’s implementation guides and other teacher resources.

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