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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.

Spacing Words: Kindergarten Small Group

Tammy Mulligan uses another kindergartner’s writing as a mentor text for teaching young children how to use spaces in their writing in this demonstration small group.

Coaching Minute: Advice for New Coaches

In this quick video, Cathy Mere shares some advice for new coaches.

Integrating PD into the School Calendar

Nothing takes the wind out of a coach’s sails more than flat PD sessions. David Pittman realizes the problem sometimes isn’t what is offered, but when it is provided. He works to create a calendar for the year that reflects the ebb and flow of teachers’ stress levels.

Mentor Texts for Teachers: Home Is a Place to Begin

Looking for mentor texts to help teachers write? Cathy Mere suggests you begin with home.

5 Reasons to Read Grown-Up Books

Shari Frost explains why even if you’re reading hundreds of children’s and YA books a year, it’s still essential to find room in your reading life for “grown-up” books.

Where Confidence Begins

Learning new things is sometimes hard, if only because it brings out our vulnerabilities and insecurities. This is particularly true for leaders, who are already supposed to know everything. Matt Renwick uses the experience of learning to build a fence to model learning for teachers.

Nice to Meet You Again

Stella Villalba shares why it is important to renew a teaching community by reconnecting periodically with everyone’s evolving goals and values.

Coaching Minute: Collaboration

In this brief video, Cathy Mere talks with literacy coach Kelly Hoenie about collaboration with reading specialists.

Equitable Coaching

David Pittman is asked about the needs of primary teachers in a leadership team meeting. He suddenly realizes he has spent more time with intermediate teachers. This experience sets him on a quest to be more equitable with his coaching time.

Heavy Edits

Jen Schwanke explains why the best way to improve your communication with families may be to use fewer words.

Helping Teachers Write

Teachers often ask a principal or coach to read a draft or help with writing. What do you do when the adult writer needs a lot of guidance? Jennifer Schwanke finds herself in this position, and considers the moves she makes.

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