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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.

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.

I Still Am

Stephanie Affinito presents a simple and smart activity to help literacy coaches reflect on what they do well, and develop plans for growing over the summer and into the new year.

Reframing Data Discussions

David Pittman humorously conveys the dread he experiences when he is assigned to lead an inservice session focused on data. He then finds creative ways to reframe the discussion.

Analyzing Student Work: Beginning with Strengths

David Pittman coaches a fifth-grade teacher to look beyond the sea of grammar and spelling errors in student work, and instead start with strengths to analyze where to go next in instruction.

Showcasing the Vision

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

Data Pictures Instead of Data Walls

Matt Renwick finds that data pictures instead of data walls are less intimidating for staff, and also allow for some creative collaboration around what data might be useful in analyzing achievement.

The Third Rail: Coaching and Instructional Assessment

David Pittman finishes a coaching cycle with a teacher and realizes his hesitancy to evaluate the teacher during his classroom visits hinders any celebration of the teacher's growth during their time together.

Guiding Questions to Stay Grounded

Conversations about needy students can be noisy, busy, and contentious. Stella Villalba finds that developing a few questions for reflection is a terrific way to stay grounded in basic principles and beliefs.

Literacy Audit (Part 5): Providing Resources and Support

Jennifer Schwanke continues her series on literacy audits. In this installment, she takes on the challenge of matching limited resources and time to nearly unlimited needs.

Literacy Audit (Part 3): Making a Plan

We continue our series on taking a literacy audit. In this installment, Jennifer Schwanke describes a process for developing a plan to improve literacy practices once you've identified areas of need.

Literacy Self-Audit (Part 1): Beginning Questions

Jennifer Schwanke shares questions for beginning a reflective analysis of your strengths and needs in literacy.

Auditing Your Literacy Leadership: Introduction

Jennifer Schwanke begins a new summer series on doing a self-audit of your literacy leadership and your school's needs. This is a great tool for reflection and planning for the new school year. In this introduction, Jen explains why this auditing and reflection is essential work.

Student Centered and Teacher Driven: Coaching and Instructional Assessment

David Pittman tackles the "third rail" of literacy coaching: assessing instructional quality.

Breakthroughs and Barriers: Going Schoolwide with a Literacy Initiative

What’s going well with literacy in your teaching community? What’s getting in the way? Matt Renwick considers breakthroughs and barriers in making literacy instruction more of a priority in his school.

Evaluation Season

Jennifer Schwanke shares the challenges of having honest conversations with teachers during evaluative sessions, acknowledging that her performance is being judged as well.

Coaching Feedback and Reflection

Stella Villalba shares some simple strategies to foster more reflection and feedback with the teachers she coaches.

Professional Reboot

Jennifer Schwanke finds she is jealous of a colleague attending a summer training session, so she attends herself. It's a reminder to her of how powerful professional development can be for school leaders.

Assessing First-Grade Learning

Jason DiCarlo leads a first-grade study group as they discuss different options for young learners to demonstrate understanding beyond written responses.

Looking Back and Planning Forward

Cathy Mere finds that the last weeks of the school year are the best time for literacy coaches to reflect on long-term goals attained and missed, as well as to plan next steps.

Developing Life Skills vs. Teaching to the Test

Melanie Quinn and the teachers she works with face the hard truth of low test scores in their school, and develop reflective practices to tackle the issue.

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