It’s a Cycle, Not a Hamster Wheel: Getting the Most Out of Coaching Cycles


Coaching cycles have transformed the way many literacy coaches work with teachers in classrooms.

The term coaching cycle was coined by Diane Sweeney, and refers to a multiweek schedule of assisting a teacher in her classroom with a plan for instructional change. Literacy coaches and teachers plan together, implement the cycle with lessons and debriefs, and end with reflection.

At least that’s the ideal.

The reality can be far different.

This course takes you into the nitty-gritty of coaching cycles with examples and advice from experienced literacy coaches from across the country. You’ll hear success stories, as well as tales of coaching cycles gone bad, and what can be learned from them.

What You’ll Learn

  • protocols for establishing norms
  • keys to developing a fair and reasonable long-range calendar for cycles
  • strategies for inviting teachers to participate
  • creative ways for new coaches to get into classrooms
  • advice on how to balance encouragement with suggestions for improvement
  • strategies for building trust and community
  • examples of group coaching
  • graceful ways to exit a cycle with reflection and follow-up
  • tips for troubleshooting the most common issues that emerge during cycles

What You’ll Get

  • four keynote sessions
  • access to 20+ site articles and videos to deepen your understanding about coaching cycles
  • seven PDFs of graphics and templates for invitations, planning, and reflection
  • a Certificate of Completion indicating five professional learning hours
  • lots of good-humored advice for collaborating with teachers on your best coaching cycles ever

You’ll view videos of an initial meeting of a coach and teacher to plan a cycle and sample demonstration lessons within a cycle, and get quick video tips for getting organized and taking good notes throughout the cycle.

More Details

The course is hosted by Dana Murphy, an experienced coach from the Chicago area. Contributors of print and video features are literacy coaches from across the country, including Amanda Adrian, Ruth Ayres, Heather Fisher, Shari Frost, Kristin Houser, Clare Landrigan,  Melanie Meehan, Tammy Mulligan, David Pittman, Kathy Provost, Heather Rader, Brian Sepe, Gretchen Taylor, and Julie Wright.

This course is included with Literacy Leadership and Literacy Team memberships.

Course Curriculum

Organizing for Coaching Cycles

Dana shares how to organize and prepare for coaching cycles.

Planning and Launching a Cycle

Dana shares how to plan and launch a coaching cycle.

After the Cycle: Reflection and Follow-Up

Dana organizes reflection and follow-up to the coaching cycle.

Troubleshooting Coaching Cycles

Dana troubleshoots common issues in coaching cycles.

Meet Your Instructor

Dana Murphy

Dana Murphy has been an educator for more than two decades in Illinois. She has served as an elementary teacher and instructional coach. Dana wrote for the Two Writing Teachers blog for several years, and is now teaching elementary school in the suburbs of Chicago. Follow Dana on Twitter @DanaMurphy.

Enrollment Options

Course Only

$39.00 Purchase Access

Get access to all book guides and Choice Literacy courses with membership.

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