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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.

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.

Supporting New Teachers and Appreciating Their Gifts

Melanie Quinn thinks through the two common "phases" of early-career teachers, and creates a checklist of guidance they will need from literacy leaders.

Overwhelmed Coach

When literacy coach Brian Sepe realizes he’s wearing thin, he adopts some practical strategies to deal with feeling overwhelmed.

Coaching Minute: On the Go Follow-Up Tip

Heather Rader shares advice for dealing with teachers who need support when you are in the midst of other responsibilities.

Building Community Protocols

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share two of their favorite protocols for building community among educators.

The Road to Rainbow Magic: Hannah’s Story

Instructional coach Linda Karamatic works with Hannah and her classroom teacher to build the reading scaffolds Hannah needs to reach her goal.

Keeping It Real for Students: Never Underestimate the Power of Reflection

Melanie Quinn consoles a teacher who is recovering from a disastrous lesson captured on video, and shows the power of a “do-over” for both teachers and students.

Taking Four Corners of Text Personally

Phrases like close reading, text-dependent questions, and four corners of the text abound in the Common Core. But where is the place for personal connections while reading? Heather Rader’s thinking evolves with the help of fourth-grade students and a text about 14 cows.

Simplexity: Finding Your Focus

Jennifer Allen visits a thriving cupcake store in Boston that doesn’t sell any cupcakes.  It turns out to be the perfect example of “simplexity” – Michael Fullan’s term for maintaining focus on goals and a larger purpose.  Jennifer writes about how simplexity applies to professional development planning for literacy leaders.

Hollering About Informational Text

Literacy coaches Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader plan a professional development activity around a deeper understanding of what is meant by the terms informational, literary, and nonfiction in defining texts.

Off the Dance Floor and Onto the Balcony: Getting the Big Picture in Schools

In the day-to-day triage of our schools and the sense of urgency that pushes us to always be accountable for every minute of the day, we need to keep the big picture in mind. Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan help school leaders figure out how to use their time wisely in the early days of building relationships.

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