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Cap’n George: Mentors Who Matter

Shirley McPhillips finds the mentoring that helps her most as a poet includes principles that are useful in any teaching situation.

Mentoring from the Real to the Ideal: Mental Images of Teaching

We know the power of mental images as a strategy for helping readers comprehend difficult text.  Suzy Kaback uses a similar technique to help novice teachers envision success.  Thisl is an activity you might want to try with a new teacher group.

Letters in the Middle School Classroom

First-year teacher Erin Ocon finds an old-fashioned way to build rapport with some of her struggling middle school students – she writes letters to them. This brief article would be a good reading for a middle school team meeting or new teacher group.

Read Our Walls: Bridging Professional Development and Student Achievement

Jennifer Allen and her colleagues knew test scores weren’t the only way of defining their students’ achievements and the value of their professional development program. “Read Our Walls” is an easy but powerful way to celebrate writing from the entire school community.

Structuring Coaching Conferences

Get the most of your one-on-one coaching conferences with these suggestions from Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan.

Connecting Language and Hope: A Study Group Activity

The teaching profession needs an abundance of hope. In this creative study group activity, Andie Cunningham helps young teachers connect language and hope through art.

New Teacher Conversations: Breaking Through Roadblocks and Sustaining Support

The roadblocks activity can easily be adapted for study groups looking at almost any topic.

Mentor Interviews — A Protocol of Questions

This series of  over 30 questions for mentors or novice teachers can be used to plan a mentoring program, match mentors and novice teachers, or launch partnerships early in the fall.

January New Teacher Group Update: When Life Happens

Preparing for a forced sick day with her daughter, Jennifer Allen is reminded that the culture of professional development in her school is something she can depend on.

New Teacher Conversations: Management Stories from the Classroom

Ruth Shagoury provides a workshop model for teacher leaders looking to encourage respectful conversation with new teachers on the topics that are near and dear to them.

The Language of Coaching Part I: Word Choices

If you believe it’s challenging but “possible to be tactful without being inauthentic,” Jan Miller Burkins will guide you around the thorniness of the language of coaching.

How Study Groups Are Like Self-Cleaning Ovens

With a few key elements in place, Brenda Power and Jennifer Allen explain how study groups can almost run themselves and get everyone involved.

The Language of Coaching Part II: The Leading Edge

Jan Miller-Burkins explores the “how” of shifting language so that it is less judgemental in discussions with colleagues.

Books That Touch the Heart

Is it ever alright for a teacher to cry when reading aloud?  Shari Frost and her colleagues select their favorite tearjerker read alouds, and what they’ve learned from sharing them with students.

Learning from the Shadows

Jennifer Allen writes about the power of being shadowed by a young teacher, Jeni, for a full day.

Preparing Walls for Displays

In this four-minute video, The Sisters (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) help a new teacher “frame up” an area of the room for future displays of student work, in a way that draws attention away from book bags and other clutter.

Word Choice Lesson: A Collaborative Coaching Session with a New Teacher

Jennifer Allen collaborates with a new teacher, Jessica, early in the fall to teach a lesson in Jessica’s 4th grade classroom.

Planning a New Teachers’ Professional Development Program

Jennifer Allen maximizes resources as she plans for a monthly professional development group for new teachers.

Night Terrors: Let the Coaching Begin!


 Jennifer Allen realizes how much we miss if we wait till the start of the school year to begin mentoring colleagues.  When she helps new teacher Jess deal with nightmares about the first day of school, she discovers some big themes they will be mulling together all year long.

Reflective Observation: Helping Teachers Observe, Analyze, and Guide (TEMPLATE)

This template helps teachers focus their classroom observations.

Collaborative Teaching: Finding Common Ground First

These are important questions for teachers entering into a co-teaching situation to consider in advance.

Opinion Exchange: A Workshop Activity for Study Groups

New teachers need so much their first year and having the ability to be heard and have their opinions valued is right up there. Ruth Shagoury offers a respectful exchange to meet that need.

Keeping It Simple: Reflections on the December New Teachers Study Group

What is really important for our time and energy? Jennifer Allen reflects on words of wisdom that keep her centered as a literacy coach.

Reorganizing the Classroom Library

In this time-lapse video, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser help Carrie, a second-year teacher, begin to organize her classroom library according to themes and traffic patterns in the classroom.

Assessment and Curriculum Mapping

In this video from a new teacher study group for grades 3-5 teachers, Jennifer Allen demonstrates how teachers can use assessment data to develop instructional plans for individual students and create curriculum maps for an entire class of students.

Teacher Study Group: Writing Focus

In this video of a teacher study group, Jennifer Allen leads a group of grades 3-5 teachers as they launch their monthly meeting in October.

The Sisters Redesign a New Teacher’s Storage Area

The Sisters help a new teacher, Amy, sort through junk she inherited from previous occupants of her classroom. The video uses time-lapse videography to show how the coat, storage, and book area is transformed in the process of winnowing down these materials.

Idealism Fades to Reality: Thinking Back to My Days as a New Teacher

Jennifer Allen makes connections between her new professional life as a literacy coach and her beginning as a classroom teacher.

Layered Support: Meeting the Needs of Beginning Teachers

Jennifer Allen reflects on essential layers that provide a safety net for the challenges facing beginning teachers.

Coaching Moment: Reorganizing a Classroom Library

Gayle Gentry reflects on how a colleague’s simple request to reorganize a classroom library turned into coaching opportunities that had a direct impact on student learning.

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