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Alignment and Community: Planning a Year of Professional Development Opportunities

Jennifer Allen plans a year of study group offerings designed to help everyone align their classrooms to the Common Core, and build community at the same time. The article includes a sample calendar for the month of October.

Turning “Unfortunate” into Good Fortune

Is this your worst professional nightmare? Ruth Ayres accidentally sends an email with the unvarnished truth to the whole school staff, instead of the administrator it was intended for. What happens next includes a surprising amount of learning.

Picture It: A Soothing Workspace

Given the stresses of her job as a principal, Jennifer Schwanke makes a commitment to keeping her workspace not only organized and uncluttered, but soothing.

Coaching Minute: Writing Objectives

Heather Rader explains why it is important to write an objective before any professional development meeting, and shares a succinct example.

Reading to Students

Jennifer Schwanke finds time in her busy schedule as a principal to read three books in every classroom in her elementary school every year. She explains why it’s worth her time, and how she selects the books.

Speaking to Adults Through Books

Heather Rader worried at first about using children's books in professional development settings, but soon found the right children's book can deepen conversations about challenging topics immensely.

Coaching Minute: The Power of Rehearsal

Heather Rader guides a novice coach by sharing the power of rehearsal before leading professional development sessions. A transcript is provided below the player.

Improvement Plan

Have you ever had to develop and implement an improvement plan with a struggling teacher? Jennifer Schwanke not only faced this challenge — she had to mentor a teacher who was two decades older and resistant. She explains how her work with the teacher and the plan evolved over two years of collaboration.

Coaching the Coach

Amanda Adrian shares the uncomfortable experience of being observed leading a demonstration lesson that doesn't go as well as she hoped. In the end, she learns some powerful lessons about taking risks and the value of extra sets of eyes observing her teaching.

Introducing the Writing Common Core Standards: Planning for Professional Development

Heather Rader sorts through goals, audience, and interest in planning a day of professional development linked to the writing standards in the Common Core.

Opinion Exchange: A Workshop Activity for Study Groups

New teachers need so much their first year and having the ability to be heard and have their opinions valued is right up there. Ruth Shagoury offers a respectful exchange to meet that need.

Personal Conferring Notebooks

With more than 75% of students receiving extra support in a high-need district, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan struggled to find tools to help teachers collaborate around student needs. Enter the personal conferring notebook, a terrific vehicle for teachers to record insights about students working with multiple teachers and specialists.

Introducing the Common Core Standards in Writing (Part 2)

Heather Rader shares more guidelines for a professional development day on the Common Core with a writing focus. We’ve included a catch-up link if you missed the first article in this series.

Triangulating: The Importance of Multiple Data Points When Assessing Students

No data point for any child stands alone.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan write about the importance of triangulating data when looking at student assessments, and in the process affirm the value of classroom observations.

Dear Teacher, Dear Principal

Ruth Ayres shares two sample letters explaining her role as a literacy coach to teachers and principals.

Ask Me – I’m Not the Expert

Heather Sisson explores the complicated links between relationships and expertise for literacy coaches and teachers.

Busywork?: From Classroom Assistant to Agent of Change

Ruth Ayres deals with the conundrum of wanting to assist teachers to build relationships as an instructional coach, yet not accepting all menial task requests.

Curriculum Work: Making Meaning Together

Jennifer Allen ponders what professional development structures support authentic changes in curriculum tied to the Common Core.

Making Assumptions

The shift from teaching children to mentoring adults can be difficult for many educators. Ellie Gilbert chronicles the biggest assumptions that harm collaborative relationships with colleagues.

Heather Sisson’s Coaching Space

This "Picture It!" features a look at a simple system to help coaches keep track of materials they loan to teachers.

Teacher and Coach Common Quiet Signals

Coach Heather Rader and Teacher Sean Moore use the same quiet signals to ensure continuity in Sean's second-grade classroom when they share instruction.

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