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Undercover Coach: Making Time to Work with Children

If you're a literacy coach, the most important question to ask yourself may be this: How much time am I spending in classrooms?  Shari Frost writes about how coaches can move beyond a quest for perfect demo lessons to a stance of co-learners with teachers.

Great Little Books for Professional Book Clubs

What books are most likely to succeed in teacher study groups? Shari Frost shares her criteria for books teachers will embrace. . .and actually read with enthusiasm.

Supporting Successful First-Year Coaches

Heather Rader gets the inside word from novice literacy coaches about the support they need to thrive.

Tips for Conducting Demonstration Lessons, or How to Avoid the “Am I Doing This Right?” Question

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan have advice for teachers and literacy coaches leading demonstration lessons.

Jennifer Allen on Working with Veteran Teachers (PODCAST)

Jennifer Allen has developed some innovative support systems for veteran teachers. She shares her insights in this podcast.

Draft Stamps: Moving Learners at All Levels Forward

The draft stamp is a simple tool for tracking and accountability, no matter the age of the learner.

“To Teach is to Learn Twice”: Creating Professional Communities in Schools

What are the hallmarks of professional learning communities that work well in schools?

Calendaring a Literacy Coach

The joy and challenge of literacy coaching is creating a good structure for the day. Heather Rader has suggestions for short- and long-term planning on the coaching calendar.

Building the Reading Community Among Teachers

Jennifer Allen shares a few strategies for building the reading community beyond individual classrooms in your school. Book swaps, a shared staff novel, and family literacy breakfasts all reinforce the most important aspect of reading – it should be pleasurable and engrossing, no matter the age of the learner.

The Email Mirror and Literacy Coaching

Are you a minimalist when it comes to email, or do you tend to send rambling and reflective posts?  No matter your email style, it likely is a match for some of your colleagues, and a barrier to communication for others.

Creating a Coaching Schedule

Tammy Mulligan and Clare Ladrigan give advice on creating schedules for literacy coaches that integrate district goals and teacher interests.

Still Revising After 10 Years: Sorting Through Pitfalls of Study Groups

Jennifer Allen considers how her study groups have changed over the past decade as she continues to balance district demands with teacher choice.

Language Patterns: Reflecting with Transcripts and Wordle

If you are familiar with Wordle, you already know it is a great free tool on the web for creating “word clouds” – visual representations of language.  Heather Rader uses Wordle in her literacy coaching to give new and veteran teachers a succinct and powerful visual representation of their teaching language.

Quick and Thorough: Literacy Coach Conferring Notes

Jennifer Jones finds in a time of budget cuts it is more important than ever for literacy coaches to keep good records of how they spend their time with teachers.  She shares a very simple spreadsheet system which includes content codes and brief notes.

Digital Handouts: An Alternative to More Paper and Meetings

Jill Ostrow creates a flexible and practical online tool to support teachers of English language learners.

Coaching Beyond the Curriculum: Reframing Our Talk and Attitude Toward Difficult Students

What role should literacy coaches have in helping teachers manage unruly students? Melanie Quinn settles into a morning of poring over assessment data, only to have it interrupted by a child who has been disrupting his class. Her interactions with Darren and his teacher lead to strategies for helping colleagues take an inquiry stance with challenging children.

Relevant Support for New Teachers

Jennifer Allen finds she only learns what new teachers really need when she builds a relationship and rapport with them.

Assessing Professional Development: Focus on Feedback

Jennifer Allen details her professional development formats, and the crucial role feedback plays in their success.

A Thanksgiving Take on Differentiating Instruction

Kathy Collins looks around the holiday table, and discovers differentiating instruction is similar to hosting a Thanksgiving feast.

Returning to Our Creation Chambers: Supporting Experienced Teachers

Jennifer Allen reflects on her experiences as a teacher, and develops ways to help the veteran teachers she works with return to their “creation chambers.”

Creating Shared Learning Experiences for New and Veteran Teachers

Laughter or struggles – the experiences we share are the ones that bind us together. Jennifer Allen mulls over how to foster more of those shared experiences for the colleagues she coaches.

How to Use a Coach: Four Things to Consider

Teachers, are you getting the most out of your relationships with the literacy coaches and other mentors in your midst?  Heather Rader has some thoughtful back-to-school advice for building more powerful teacher-coach relationships

How to Be of Use: Starting Strong

"Peppers make cats cry."  If you want to understand the wise advice for literacy coaches within this mnemonic device, you'll have to read this article. 

The DIBELS Divide (LITERACY COACH CONFIDENTIAL)

A curriculum coordinator loves DIBELS; a first-grade teacher doesn't.  We provide a range of suggestions from our contributors on dealing with disagreements over assessment.  This article is useful for teachers and literacy leaders who are working together with assessment data early in the year, no matter what evaluative system your school or district has in place.

Triangulating: The Importance of Multiple Data Points When Assessing Students

No data point for any child stands alone.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan write about the importance of triangulating data when looking at student assessments, and in the process affirm the value of classroom observations.

Creating a Model Writing School

Julie Johnson shares the professional development plan and experiences that led to her school's evolution into a model writing school.

Creating a Model Writing School . . . Next Steps

Julie Johnson documents the continuing evolution of her learning community as a model writing school.

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.

Out of the Closet and into the Classroom: Bookroom Management Tips for Literacy Coaches

Is your system for sharing books from a school bookroom or literacy closet working well? Shari Frost provides 10 practical tips for getting the best use out of shared literacy resources.

Towards Thoughtful Strategy Instruction

Sometimes the pendulum swings so hard in education that it’s hard not to feel whiplash. Shari Frost considers critiques of strategy instruction, analyzing what’s valid and what’s not in attacks on the flurry of post-its in classrooms.

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