Latest Content
Preserving Student Writing as a Curator

Once students are producing quality writing, there is a new challenge: what to do with it all? Heather Rader works with a teacher to design a system to meet her needs.

Trying to Coach Without the Budget in Mind

Melanie Quinn makes a somewhat surprising discovery in the midst of the budget cutting season.  The best way to justify her literacy coaching position is to do less – but do everything extraordinarily well.

Keeping It Real for Students: Never Underestimate the Power of Reflection

Melanie Quinn consoles a teacher who is recovering from a disastrous lesson captured on video, and shows the power of a "do-over" for both teachers and students.

Learning from Master Teachers: It’s the Process, Not the Content (Part I)

Have you ever wondered why lessons you attempt to imitate from master teachers you’ve seen on videos often go poorly? Franki Sibberson asked herself this question after trying a minilesson she viewed from Debbie Miller.  She discovered it’s what comes before the lesson that matters more than what’s in the lesson.

Communicating with the Y Chromosome

Heather Rader finds herself coaching a male teacher who is part of a male teaching team, and gets a lesson herself in gender communication patterns.

Katherine Casey on Sharing Blunders with Colleagues (PODCAST)

Katherine Casey explains why she shares her teaching blunders (on video, no less) with colleagues, and what she has learned from the process.

The Superpower of Reflecting

Are you more of a Pollyanna or Eeyore reflector? Heather Rader takes you inside the questions that help us reflect even more deeply on our instructional practices.

Katherine Casey on Coaching in Classrooms (PODCAST)

In this podcast, Katherine Casey shares her wisdom on classroom modeling for coaches that really works because both teacher and coach have clarity on the purpose and practice.

Off the Dance Floor and Onto the Balcony: Getting the Big Picture in Schools

In the day-to-day triage of our schools and the sense of urgency that pushes us to always be accountable for every minute of the day, it is understandable that we tend to forget to pause to think about our larger goals. No one wants to “waste time.” This activity helps everyone keep the big picture in mind.

Putting the “Mini” Back in Minilessons

We know that the shorter our minilesson, the more time students will have to read and write, but it's not easy for many of us. Shari Frost has tips to shape up minilessons that have become maxilessons.

A Bad Case of the Never-Ending Januaries

With a tough winter and tougher budget prospects, many schools will be dealing with the Januaries straight through March.  Our contributors have suggestions for dealing with stress, fatigue, and depression to help renew and re-energize your work.

Keeping Students Front and Center

Jennifer Allen realizes that her biggest fear as a literacy coach is forgetting to keep students at the heart of our coaching conversations. With this in mind, she shares what keeps student learning as her primary focus.

Sense of Little Engines

Heather Rader writes about "agency" – the challenge of letting students and teachers take charge of their learning.  In concrete examples from a third-grade classroom and a professional development scoring session with teachers, Heather shares the subtleties of learning to trust, wait, and celebrate when learners of any age are responsible and independent.

A Class with More Boys Than Girls

Heather Rader coaches a teacher who considers her boy/girl ratio and how it may be affecting students' understanding of directions and time on task.

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan on Getting the Most Out of Grade-Level Team Meetings (PODCAST)

In this podcast, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan, the founders of Teachers for Teachers, talk with Franki Sibberson about how to link grade level team meetings with student achievement, and build stronger teaching communities at the same time.

Acquiring Knowledge Two or Three Strategies at a Time

Amanda Adrian knows that a teachers learning new skills need accurate and timely identification of what's next as support.

What’s Good for the Goslings is Good for the Geese: Parallels Between Scaffolding Student Learning and Scaffolding Staff Development

Terry Thompson considers the concept of “scaffolding” for both student learning and professional development.

Books with Overlooked Potential for Launching the School Year (and Ideas for Using Them with Students)

You know those books that cause us to say, “Aww…I love that book.” Well, the team at Literacyhead has us thinking about using old favorites in new ways.

Walk Arounds: Gathering Data to Test Assumptions

Do you have a tattler in your midst?  Not a child, but a teacher complaining about the work habits of a colleague? Jennifer Jones explains her proactive use of walk-arounds to gather data and confront misconceptions.

How to Look at Student Work

With summaries as an example, Heather Rader uses trends from learners to help make smart instructional decisions about what is presented during whole group, small group and individual time.

Coaching for the Test

Two teachers are disappointed in student assessment results, but they have very different approaches to tackling the problem. Heather Rader shares her role as a mentor in assisting her colleagues.

Favorite Short Mentor Texts for Demonstration Lessons

For teacher leaders who are called upon to do demonstration lessons, here is a “must-have” list of short, potent books.

Coaching Monkey

Heather Rader has advice for literacy coaches looking for honest appraisals of their work from colleagues.

A Closer Look at Anchor Charts

Shari Frost has a gift for helping us think about purpose and this article is no exception as she turns her attention to the benefits of intentional anchor charts.

Tips from Literacy Leaders for Closing Out the School Year (ROUND-UP)

Here are some suggestions from Choice Literacy Contributors of the best ways to close out the year, with everything from personal organizing tips to family events.

Lesson Structure: Building a Strong Foundation

Stepping back to think about the design of quality instruction is essential for any teacher. Heather Rader looks to brain research and tried-and-true practices to lay out lesson components.

Writing Drafts and Stamina

Stamina is a term we use often in literacy instruction, but it can be tricky for students and teachers to define in classroom contexts.  Heather Rader looks at the specific attributes of writing stamina, as well as how to model it for students.

Whole-Group Share Sessions in Literacy Workshops: Essential Elements

Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan found that even though the group share is the shortest part of the workshop, teachers reported many issues that needed attention. These issues can be resolved with attention to the framework, modeling and more.

Ubiquitous Venns, Watch Fors, and Leverage Points: Coaching for Depth

Heather Rader examines the use of Venn diagrams as a catalyst for thinking about how to coach for more depth in classrooms.

Common Core Conversations: The Half ‘n’ Half Shift for Nonfiction Reading and Writing

Colleagues and coaches, Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader, explore the upcoming shifts in English Language Arts and anticipate what it will mean for leaders, teachers and most importantly, students.

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