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Coaching Minute: Flexible Collaboration with Teachers

Cathy Mere chats with Kelly Hoenie about how her collaboration with teachers has changed over 15 years of coaching—from rigid protocols to in-the-moment decisions about how best to support each teacher.

Supporting Readers: It Takes a Team

Collaboration gets complicated when you’re dealing with reading specialists and classroom teachers assisting the same struggling learners. Cathy Mere reflects on her experiences in both roles and provides some prompts for better conversations about expectations for team support.

Quick and Frequent Demonstration Lesson: Phonemes

Clare Landrigan leads a demonstration lesson with a pair of kindergarten students who struggle with letter-sound connections. In the video, she explains why these “quick and frequent” reading activities are helpful for young learners who find it a challenge to participate in guided reading groups.

An Ounce of Doubt

Matt Renwick decides to provoke some cognitive dissonance in teachers around the topic of guided reading. He finds his own beliefs are challenged instead.

What Happens Next Is What Defines Us

Stephanie Affinito reminds us that we all face challenges and discouraging situations when guiding teachers. What happens next when you pause and reset defines who you are as a literacy coach.

Celebrations Across the Year

Cathy Mere discovers her routine for celebrations at the start of staff meetings is leaving some colleagues out. She revises her thinking and practice for celebrations among literacy coaches all year long.

Encouraging Teachers to Write

One of the biggest challenges literacy coaches face is getting teachers to write. It’s worth the effort, because nothing else is as effective in helping teachers understand and implement successful writing workshops. Ruth Ayres shares three practical strategies for helping teachers put pen to page.

Finding Time for Classroom Walk-Throughs

Matt Renwick is surprised when teachers evaluate his school visibility as weak. He decides to make his classroom visits more purposeful, and shares the strategies he implements.

Tackling Coaching Challenges

Stephanie Affinito shares a protocol with reflective questions to help literacy coaches make professional development opportunities more relevant for teachers.

Open Observations

Cathy Mere explains how “open observations” work in her school district. These full-day professional development sessions are an opportunity for teachers to drop in and out of classrooms to observe together and then discuss what they see.

Showcasing the Vision

Heather Fisher finds it is much easier to remember a shared vision when it is displayed in classrooms.

Aligning Commercial Practices with Excellent Literacy Instruction

Matt Renwick explores how literacy leaders can help teachers stay true to a shared vision of instruction and learning as they explore commercial program options.

The 15-Minute Meeting

Ruth Ayres uses key questions to keep her lesson debrief meetings only 15 minutes long, and finds that the limits provoke rich conversations and reflection in a short amount of time.

Meeting with Building Leaders

Melanie Meehan shares her agenda items and strategies for productive regular meetings between literacy coaches and principals.

The Lion Unit

Uh-oh. A teacher pulls out her tried-and-true lesson plans for a unit on lions, and David Pittman wonders what his role will be as her literacy coach.

Tips for Planning with Teachers

Melanie Meehan shares some of her favorite templates for flexible lesson planning with teachers.

Three Questions to Open Coaching Conversations

Ruth Ayres shares her favorite prompts for helping teachers think in new ways about the challenges they face, and a literacy leader’s role in assisting.

The Hole in Your Swing

The hole in your swing is your greatest weakness as a literacy leader. Matt Renwick explains how you can face your own vulnerability as a literacy leader and tackle it head-on.

Becoming More Strategic in Coaching Stressed Teachers

From shorter meetings to tapping data in creative ways, Ruth Ayres shares her best tips for supporting stressed teachers.

Clearing the Plate: Helping Teachers Feel Free, Not Full

David Pittman is stunned when a teacher he is coaching begs off from more work together. The experience helps him reassess how he collaborates with overwhelmed colleagues.

Word Study PD: Building on Strengths

Gretchen Taylor finds teachers are particularly insecure about their ability to lead word study with children. So she begins a professional development session by helping them see how capable they are.

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