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Hard Topics in Reading

Jennifer Allen explains how she leads conversations about hard themes in literature and how teachers might use these books that include trauma in their classrooms.

From Observations to Questions

The starting point for assisting any teacher with a struggling learner is to observe and question. Stella Villalba shares her process, including what she focuses on in observations and how she uses what she sees as a springboard to conversations.

Using Supplies to Inspire

Heather Fisher shares her favorite tools to share as gifts for a new literacy coach.

Coaching Minute: Leveraging a Calendar for Leadership

Jean Russell explains how a simple trick with a coaching calendar can build in more time and expectations for leadership growth.

You Don’t Write? No Worries

“You don’t have to write to teach writers.” Cathy Mere finds is shocked when she hears a literacy coach make this statement. But the more she allows her conventional wisdom to be challenged, the more insight she has into helping teachers who don’t see themselves as writers.

Field Notes: When a Coach Models in a Classroom

Ruth Ayres observes a coach who is a master at modeling lessons. What looks easy and natural on the surface belies all the skill and planning just below the surface.

When There’s No Time for Debriefing

A debrief in the midst of a coaching cycle can seem like one more meeting there isn’t time for in the school day. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share a virtual debrief option they have developed to use at times when it isn’t possible to meet.

A Little Bit of Clarity

Matt Renwick goes out to buy a new pair of glasses, and gets a stern lecture on taking care of them. The experience makes him ponder how we get clarity for best practices in literacy instruction.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Dana Murphy has wise words for any coach who wonders why some teachers aren’t welcoming them into their classrooms. Her honesty will help build your patience and trust in the early days of your relationships with teachers.

Smile File

Heather Fisher explains why the smile file should be a tool in every coach’s repertoire for building confidence and community among teachers.

Coaching Debrief: Author Styles Minilesson

Jen Court debriefs with second-grade teacher Logan about the authors minilesson and how it fits into their instructional plans.

Creating Coaching Visions

Vision boards are a marvelous way to help teachers and coaches reflect in positive ways on their professional goals and passions. Stephanie Affinito explains how she helps colleagues create them.

Making Time for Reflection

Reflection time is essential for literacy coaches. Cathy Mere shares practical tips for how she builds that time into her work with literacy coaches.

Beyond a Checklist for Teaching and Leading

Jen Schwanke explains why judging a teacher solely on whether they follow literacy workshop tenets may cause us to miss some essential (and elusive) qualities of great teaching . . . and leadership.

The 70% Rule

Stretch yourself, but not to the point of pain. Matt Renwick has practical tips for how leaders can continue to push themselves to grow and learn new things without succumbing to the hurry-up, stressed culture so prevalent around us.

Brain Dumps for Clarity in Coaching

Too much email, too much paper, just too much. David Pittman finds “brain dumps” are a useful tool for helping teachers sift through and clarify what’s important to work on with a literacy coach.

Coaching Minute: Using Quotes to Explore Beliefs

Jean Russell shares how literacy coaches can use quotes in professional development sessions to explore teachers’ beliefs and identities.

Student Files

To read or not read the student file? Some teachers are strong believers in “fresh starts” for all the children in their class, and never look at cumulative records. Jen Schwanke explains how these best of intentions can sometimes do damage.

The Toll of Constant Interruptions

An accomplished teacher is at her wit’s end because of constant interruptions. She seeks help from her principal, Jen Schwanke. They soon discover it’s a schoolwide issue that needs to be addressed.

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