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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.

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.

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.

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.

Community over Connectivity: Mindful Technology Practices

Matt Renwick considers how technology can hinder building relationships or be used as a tool in fledgling classroom communities.

Helping Teachers Weed Libraries

It is difficult for teachers to discard or recycle books they spent years acquiring, yet this is essential end-of-year work in many classrooms. Stephanie Affinito explains how a literacy coach can turn this challenge into an opportunity to build community and professional development plans.

Coaching in Proximity: The Sherpa Mind-Set

David Pittman finds that a sherpa analogy helps him adjust his role as a coach—moving closer to teachers without taking over instruction.

More Productive Workshops

By early in the new year, literacy workshops should be humming with productivity. If you're in one that isn't, Melanie Meehan has suggestions for working with the teacher to find and solve problems together.

The Children Are Communicating. Are We Listening?

Melanie Quinn realizes our classrooms are filled with mini-coaches. The students in front of us are clearly communicating their needs; we just need to do a better job of paying attention.

Who Are “They”? Word Choice and Student Learning

Gretchen Taylor finds that these kids and everyone are key words to focus on in coaching, because they can signify sweeping assumptions in lieu of a close look at individual behaviors.

No Substitute for Owning the Learning

Karen Terlecky finds herself in a fitness class with a bunch of angry participants. The experience causes her to reflect on the disconnect between coach and teacher expectations when coaches think their role is to fix classroom issues.

Be Someone Who Writes

Melanie Meehan shares some practical suggestions for helping teachers (and literacy coaches) build a writing habit and get over their feelings of inadequacy as writers.

Kid-Watching as a Coaching Move

Dana Murphy explains why kid-watching is often the most effective strategy for her time in classrooms, and how she uses her notes with teachers.

Starting a Coaching Cycle: The First Meeting

Dana Murphy outlines a simple process for building trust and shared vision in the first meeting before the launch of a coaching cycle.

Authentically Curious

Matt Renwick is stunned when a teacher complains that he doesn't take the time to know the staff. After getting over his initial anger, he decides on two strategies to address the problem.

Coaching Purposeful Classroom Design

Gretchen Taylor helps middle school teachers rethink their instruction by considering areas of the classroom as “zones” for learning, and redesigning them accordingly.

Paraphrasing to Let Teachers Lead

Matt Renwick talks about the importance of paraphrasing and meandering in conversations after classroom observations so teachers can take the lead in their learning.

The Thin Line Between Mentoring and Coaching

Matt Renwick resists the urge to console a teacher who is disappointed in a student assessment. Instead, he considers whether taking on a mentoring or coaching role would be most helpful.

Rocking the Boat

Ruth Ayres recalls a humorous canoe trip as a teenager when a group leader had to rescue her and she didn't like it. She realizes sometimes this is just the role literacy coaches need to take on, even if it sparks initial resentment in teachers.

Grammar Instruction in Fourth Grade

Melanie Meehan coaches a fourth-grade teacher who is trying to improve his grammar instruction.

It’s Not About Us

Matt Renwick realizes that sometimes we have to ignore our path as learners to help teachers find their own way to better instruction.

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