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Demonstration Lesson: A First Grader Decodes and Makes Meaning

In this demonstration lesson, Clare Landrigan confers with a first grader by building on his strengths of growing fluency and volume with strategies for decoding. The lesson includes a prebrief and debrief with the teacher.

A Literacy Foundation

A literacy community is only as strong as its foundation. Matt Renwick uses discussions around mission statements and shared texts to build a collective vision for literacy instruction in one school.

Coaching Minute: The Perils of Demonstration Lessons

In this brief video, Cathy Mere talks about how classroom visits that include demonstration lessons can build rapport with teachers but can also serve as a trap for literacy coaches.

Classroom Visit Protocols

Jennifer Schwanke shares tips for ensuring your classroom visits aren't unexpected or unwelcome.

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.

Scheduling Study Groups for the Year

Jennifer Allen shares her selections and schedule for book study groups throughout the year.

Book Study

Jennifer Schwanke creates a more organic, choice-driven process for book study groups in her school.

Creating the Future

Melanie Quinn shares a quick activity to help teachers visualize their hopes and dreams at the start of the school year.

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.

Outreach by Reaching Out

David Pittman begins a morning resenting bus duty, and ends with insights into how literacy coaches can use chance encounters to build connections with families.

Know Their Story

David Pittman finds that a teacher is dismissed as a veteran, which can be code for good luck getting that one to change. What he discovers is someone with a rich life and history beyond the classroom that is worth tapping into.

Ms. Perfectly Nice

Dana Murphy understands the quiet go-along teacher she meets in professional development settings, if only because she sometimes was that person in the past. She shares strategies for challenging those agreeable folks to speak up and reflect more deeply on their practice.

Literacy Audit (Part 6): Becoming a Literacy Ambassador

Jennifer Schwanke concludes her literacy audit series with ideas for how you can become the biggest advocate and cheerleader for literacy in your school.

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.

Whenever They Are Ready: Building Trust for PD Success

Matt Renwick finds he needs to take a deep breath, listen, and be open to options when there is a disagreement about next steps in a school improvement initiative.

I’m Already Doing This

“I’m already doing this,” a teacher groans. And the literacy coach groans inwardly at the same time, because they usually aren’t doing anything resembling the innovation being discussed. Dana Murphy explains how she uses validation and questions to move beyond this conversation killer in professional development settings.

Finding Time and Space to Recharge All Year Long

Jennifer Allen shares some simple strategies for integrating more choice and restoration time into professional development all year long.

Literacy Audit (Part 4): Building a Strong Team

We continue our series on literacy audits. Jennifer Schwanke explains why it is essential to build a strong team if you want to see real change after completing an audit and deciding on next steps.

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.

Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Collaborative?

Jennifer Allen examines her desire to be a part of nearly every initiative in the district, and makes some decisions about when it makes sense to step back.

Rethinking Morning Announcements

"Are you going to read one of your stupid quotes again?" This question from a "frequent flyer" in the principal's office got Matt Renwick to consider ways to change up the morning announcements with a variety of literacy-related components.

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