Latest Content
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.

Not That Into Me

If you're a literacy coach, those teachers who don't want to work with you can make you feel like the wallflower at the prom or the last kid picked for the basketball team.  Heather Rader has positive, proactive suggestions for making the best of an awkward situation.

Best Practices All Day Long: Balancing Personal and Professional Success

If you’ve ever experienced that disequilibrium of feeling completely organized in your professional life, and hopelessly scattered during your personal time, you’ll enjoy Melanie Quinn’s reflective essay.

The Power of Linking Words and Perceptions

Melanie Quinn relays a powerful practice for staff members to reframe language and perceptions while putting common labels for students in a whole new light.

Rethinking Mentor Texts

Shari Frost writes about the ways our perfectly organized bins may limit the teaching possibilities for many books.  She takes readers step by step through her process of determining ways to use a sample mentor text to teach a multitude of lessons and strategies.

Virtual Book Clubs for Teachers

It’s virtually possible to get together around a book without getting together at all. Shari Frost shows us how.

Getting the Most Out of Visiting a Colleague’s Classroom (PODCAST)

Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan talk with Franki Sibberson about strategies for getting the most out of observing in a colleague’s classroom.

Big Ideas: Balancing Plans with Authentic Response

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan learn important lessons about planning, themes, and life when they share Knuffle Bunny with a group of kindergartners.

Virtually Coaching a Lesson

Coaching cycles look different depending on teachers' needs. Via email and phone, Heather Rader has professional conversations with a teacher as he plans and designs a lesson for observation.

“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.

Balancing Assessments Through Better Classroom Notes

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain how literacy coaches can validate and support teachers by helping them refine their classroom notetaking skills.

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.

Math, Writing, and Coaching to Learn

Heather Rader works with a 5th grade teacher to infuse more writing into her math curriculum.

Creating a Coaching Schedule

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

Daily Tidbits: Professional Development in Small Bites

Jennifer Jones suggests an easy way to provide bits of useful professional development to colleagues.

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.

Portable Anchor Charts for Literacy Coaches

Jennifer Allen explains the many uses of portable lightweight anchor charts in her work as a literacy coach.

Injecting Writing into Everything: Bringing the Outside In

Heather Rader helps a 3rd grade teacher break through the resistance of some student writers.  The magic tool?  A dirty onion from the garden.

What Velcro Can Do: Science, Literacy and Coaching Connections

No time for science? Don’t like messes? Heather Rader works with a teacher and helps her find a way to fit science neatly into her full teaching day.

Helping Children Build Notetaking Skills

Whose job is it to teach notetaking skills?  Heather Rader finds teachers often expect colleagues in previous or subsequent grades to teach these skills, as well as a lot of hesitancy about how best to instruct students.  She presents a simple notetaking template and describes how she uses it to help students learn how to list important details with words and images.

Ways to Avoid Coaching Traps

There are many traps for new literacy coaches that are rarely discussed. Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share the most common four they try to avoid.

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.

Supporting Successful First-Year Coaches

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

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.

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.

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