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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.

Word Count Counts

Shari Frost coaches a third-grade teacher, and reflects on the challenges of literature circles and book groups where some groups are reading much shorter books and finishing more quickly than others.

Portfolios for the Coached

This is an idea you’ll want to try if you’re a literacy coach. David Pittman creates simple and elegant portfolios with the teachers he coaches of their work together, documenting plans, milestones, and final reflections.

Read Alouds for Big Kids

Jen Schwanke reflects on the power of read alouds for older students, and how school leaders can help teachers and parents value them too.

Newcomers and Read Aloud Time

Stella Villalba observes an English language learner who is new to a classroom being pulled from read aloud for extra support. She explains why read aloud is essential for all students, no matter what their language skills are.

Environmental Walks: A Snapshot of a Literacy Culture

If you want to get a quick snapshot of literacy instruction at your school, do an environmental walk. Matt Renwick shares his process and notes from one of these walks, as well as the issues they raise.

Starting with Consensus

Suzy Kaback finds that consensus mapping is a powerful tool for leading teachers through any change process.

Unleveling Classroom Libraries

Moving a classroom library from levels to themes and authors is challenging and rewarding. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how they take teachers step by step through the process of reorganizing their classroom libraries.

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