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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.

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.

Celebration and Reflection for Teacher Growth

Matt Renwick rejects the notion of “carrots and sticks” for school improvement when it comes to understanding and motivating teachers. He provides a template for a professional development session to help teachers celebrate and reflect upon growth.

Taming the Voices in Our Heads

Jennifer Allen helps a study group of elementary teachers “tame the voices in their heads” by scheduling a day of yoga and a documentary on rock climbing into the day. Her creative plans might inspire you as you think about agendas for summer retreats with teachers and school leaders.

Staff Retreat

The last thing leaders want to do when they are rushing to get everything done at the end of the school year is plan for summer retreats. But Jen Schwanke explains why that’s exactly what needs to happen if the sessions are going to be thoughtfully done and inclusive.

Ending the Year by Looking Forward

In this short video, Cathy Mere asks literacy coach Kelly Hoenie to think about how she will use learning from the end of the school year to plan for next year.

Narrative Mini-Charts

Melanie Meehan finds narrative mini-charts are a powerful tool in her coaching arsenal as she works in classrooms with teachers to help students develop storytelling skills.

Closing Out Professional Communities

What should literacy coaches do at their last meeting of the year? Cathy Mere remembers how she closed the year with students to plan her closing activities with coaches.

A Peek at a Coaching Notebook

Literacy coach Kelly Hoenie opens up her coaching notebook and shares with Cathy Mere what she writes down during observations and consultations, as well as how she uses the information when conferring with teachers.

Understand, Uncover, and Undertake

David Pittman works with a teacher who is overwhelmed by all the notebooks, forms, calendars, and notes she is taking to document and assess student progress. He helps the teacher streamline and organize a new system tailored to her needs and strengths.

Best Intentions with No Assumptions

Matt Renwick considers how assumptions about teachers and students can stymie leaders and learning in schools.

Letting Go: Nurturing Ownership in Writing

Cathy Mere helps a study group of elementary teachers think through how to nurture more ownership of student writing.

What’s the Temperature?

Cathy Mere substitutes in leading a meeting, and realizes the importance of always slowing down and taking the temperature of the room when beginning professional development sessions. She shares her seven favorite strategies for slowing down and reading the room.

Coaching Minute: Principals and Questions

In this quick video, Jen Schwanke explains why the most essential task for a new principal or literacy leader may be to slow down and ask lots of questions.

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