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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.

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.

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.

Common Core Standards: Spreading the Word

Literacy leaders working in large districts face special challenges when implementing new programs. Suki Jones-Mozenter writes about the strategies being developed in one of the largest districts in the country.

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