Latest Content
Literacy Chats with Teachers: Routines and Guidelines

Principal Karen Szymusiak explains the format and goals of literacy chats at her school, and provides a video example of a grades 3-5 chat.

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.

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.

Two or Three Things I Know for Sure: A Teacher Workshop Activity

"Two or Three Things I Know for Sure" is a terrific short workshop activity for study groups or faculty meetings, and it also can be used in partnership discussions with mentors, literacy coaches, and colleagues. The activity gets everyone to explore their bedrock beliefs about teaching – as well as what it takes to change them.

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.

Collecting Stories: Opening Activity and Icebreaker (PRINT DOWNLOAD)

Ruth Shagoury’s collecting stories icebreaker is a fun yet thoughtful activity for opening a meeting or all-day professional development event with energy and reflection.  It gets everyone moving around the room, talking with colleagues, and best of all, focused on students and curriculum.

“Hard” Reading Workshop: Understanding How Proficient Readers Comprehend Difficult Text

The Hard Reading Workshop is a terrific professional development activity for launching conversations about text difficulty and strategy instruction.

New Teacher Conversations: Breaking Through Roadblocks and Sustaining Support

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

Literacy Chats: An Open Discussion Format

Literacy Coach Pam Hahlen discusses the value and format of monthly "literacy chats" for teachers.

Case Studies in Professional Learning Communities

In this brief video, Literacy Coach Pam Hahlen and Principal Karen Szymusiak meet with two teachers in a professional learning community group to discuss ongoing case studies.

Data Cards: Assessment Profiles at a Glance

"Data Cards" are ingeniously designed to allow an entire grade-level team to look at the reading levels of all students in the grade. In this four-minute video, "The Sisters" (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) explain how they work.

Quick Take: Protocols for Teacher Study Groups

In this three-minute Quick Take video, Clare Landrigan describes the teacher study group protocol she uses to foster shared understanding and allow for differentiated learning among teachers.

Collaborative Team Meeting: Assessing and Planning Together

Gail Boushey leads a collaborative planning meeting between 4th grade teachers, literacy coaches, and the principal early in the year.

Planning for a Year of Author Studies (TEMPLATE)

Meaningful reading, writing, speaking, and listening comes out of thoughtfully planned author studies. Gayle Gentry shares her thinking and planning.

Launching Teacher Study Groups: Guidelines and Resources

Jennifer Allen’s years of experience with teacher study groups has led her to best practices that make it “safe and easy” for teachers to learn from each other.

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.

Opinion Exchange (E-GUIDE)

How can quotes lead educators to awareness and acceptance of the diversity of opinions in a group? Discover what this format for discussion has to offer your study group or staff.

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.

Literacy Coach Confidential: What Can I Do About Poor Attendance at My Study Group?

When attendance drops in study groups, here are some ways to get it back on track (or take a new direction entirely).

Boosting Attendance at Study Groups

Brenda Power shares advice from teachers that are building and maintaining inquiry study groups with adults.

Planning a New Teachers’ Professional Development Program

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

Puzzle Kids: Observing and Analyzing Challenging Students (E-GUIDE)

This E-Guide provides teachers with a tool to analyze children who need additional observation and analysis to create successful learning opportunities.

Writing to Reflect: Quotes for Quick Writing, Reflection, and Discussion (E-GUIDE)

This e-guide includes ten different quotes from a range of educators, activists, authors, and innovators for reflection at all times of the year.

The Dog Ate My Study Group Plans! Four Instant (and Fun and Reflective) No-Prep Teacher Workshops (E-GUIDE)

This e-guide provides tried-and-true workshops plans for educators in need of energy and encouragement.

Literacy Coach Confidential: Some Study Group Participants Aren’t Reading the Book

Have you ever experienced the strange phenomenon of colleagues who show up for book study groups and gab away, even though they haven't read the text?  You may be a victim of "bullcrit" – the willingness of some people to critique movies they haven't seen, music they haven't heard, and books they haven't read.

Four Essentials in Designing Professional Development for Literacy Leaders

While clever activities for adult professional development are fun, what really helps colleagues become more competent and sensitive to classroom and school needs? Franki Sibberson knows what her colleagues need and gives it to them.

Charting the Course: A Yearlong Professional Development Plan for New Teachers (SCHEDULE)

Planning with the end in mind is essential for literacy leaders. Jennifer Allen takes us through her process for creating a focused and progressive year-long plan.

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.

Classroom Tours: Learning from Colleagues

Barbara Coleman finds classroom tours are a terrific professional development activity early in the year, fostering unexpected collaboration among colleagues.

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