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Picture It: Pinterest for Professional Development

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan find Pinterest is an excellent tool for organizing resources for professional development sessions.

Days of Magic and Wonder: Generating Research Topics with First Graders

In a new series, Heather Sisson shares the process of collaborating with a teacher to redefine the research process with first graders based on the Common Core.

Coaching Minute: Wait for the “In”

Heather Rader shares her strategies for getting into classrooms of teachers who may be hesitant about inviting visits from coaches.

Assessing Students: Many Hands for a Lighter Load

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan describe seven different strategies they’ve seen in schools for fostering more collaboration among teachers assessing students.

10 Steps to a Literacy Vision

Heather Rader looks at business models to support the challenging process of building a new literacy vision in her district. 

Phasing in New Initiatives: Keep the Baby!

What happens when an adminstrator tells a literacy coach that she and the teachers she works with must abandon a successful and popular literacy program? Shari Frost advises a coach in this difficult and all-too-common situation.

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.

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.

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.

The DIBELS Divide (Literacy Coach Confidential)

A curriculum coordinator loves DIBELS; a first-grade teacher doesn’t.  We provide a range of suggestions from our contributors on dealing with disagreements over assessment.  This article is useful for teachers and literacy leaders who are working together with assessment data early in the year, no matter what evaluative system your school or district has in place.

Book Hooks

Jennifer Schwanke uses the charming "book hook" activity to recommit to keeping reading and classroom visits at the heart of her work as a principal.

Help! Our Grade-Level Team Meetings Are Awful! (Literacy Coach Confidential)

Here’s some advice for dealing with disastrous team meetings.

Tips for More Effective Debriefing Sessions

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share strategies and seven different observation templates for participants to download and try out.

Professional Development and Then What? How to Keep Learning Alive Long After the Staff Meeting

Melanie Quinn mulls over the challenges and distractions that hamper transfer of learning from professional development sessions to classroom teaching.

Some Study Group Participants Aren’t Reading the Book

Have you ever experienced the strange phenomenon of having colleagues show up for book study groups and gab away, even though they haven't read the text? You may be a victim of "bullcrit"—the willingness of some people to critique movies they haven't seen, music they haven't heard, and books they haven't read. Cross-posted at Choice Literacy.

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