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The Children Are Communicating. Are We Listening?

Melanie Quinn realizes our classrooms are filled with mini-coaches. The students in front of us are clearly communicating their needs; we just need to do a better job of paying attention.

Coaching Minute: Case Study Observation Form

Literacy coaches Heather Fisher and Kathy Provost talk about how their work with reading specialists has evolved by having the specialists focus on case studies of individual students, rather than spending much of their time focused solely on big data. They share a form they use to help reading specialists hone their observation skills.

Who Are “They”? Word Choice and Student Learning

Gretchen Taylor finds that these kids and everyone are key words to focus on in coaching, because they can signify sweeping assumptions in lieu of a close look at individual behaviors.

Making Meetings Purposeful

From identifying intent to setting personal norms, Jen Schwanke shares her key principles for leading meetings that participants won't hate.

Being Selfish About Meeting Norms

Jennifer Allen questions the purpose of meeting norms, and begins from a new place in establishing them for a study group.

First-Grade Team: Exploring Student Engagement

Heather Fisher leads a first-grade team monthly meeting where everyone shares strategies they are trying for fostering more student engagement.

Coaching in Classrooms with English Language Learners

Many schools have seen an influx of English language learners recently. Coaches with little ELL experience may struggle to assist teachers with large ELL populations. Stella Villalba shares some tools and strategies for in-class coaching in classrooms with many English language learners.

Do or Die

Melanie Quinn deals with a panic-stricken young teacher near tears after a lousy evaluation. She explains what she did to move him past emotion and into a plan to improve his instruction.

Getting Emotional

It happens at least once a year for Jennifer Schwanke: she finds herself on the verge of crying in a professional setting. Here's her best advice for literacy leaders to keep the tears at bay.

Demonstration Small Group: Discussing a Common Text

In this demonstration small group, Clare Landrigan guides first graders as they practice discussion skills around a common text. The video includes prebrief and debrief sessions with the classroom teacher.

A Yearlong Coaching Calendar

Dana Murphy too often finds herself feeling like she's begging to go into classrooms. The solution? Create a yearlong schedule and put the onus on teachers to sign up for a coaching cycle.

When Teachers Design the Professional Development Calendar

Melanie Meehan finds that a simple process early in the year that gives teachers more control over the professional development plan builds excitement for new learning.

No Substitute for Owning the Learning

Karen Terlecky finds herself in a fitness class with a bunch of angry participants. The experience causes her to reflect on the disconnect between coach and teacher expectations when coaches think their role is to fix classroom issues.

Purposeful Post-Its

Many teachers have a love/hate relationship with sticky notes in their classrooms. They’re a wonderful tool, but it can feel like reading workshops are overrun with them. Melanie Swider coaches a teacher new to second grade with a series of collaborative lessons on using sticky notes purposefully.

Conferring Matters: A Coach’s Perspective

Ruth Ayres shares strategies for building teachers' conferring skills. This article is part of a new occasional series, Expectations and Nudges, where Ruth Ayres and Lee Snider will explore the same topic from the perspectives of a literacy coach and a principal.

Conferring Matters: A Principal’s Perspective

Lee Snider explains how he builds interest and conferring skills in writing workshops.

First-Grade Small Group on Opinion Writing

In this demonstration small group, Clare Landrigan helps first graders craft opinion writing. The demo includes quick individual conferences, as well as a prebrief and debrief with the classroom teacher.

What We Lost

Brenda Power shares a simple activity to use in a teachers' writing workshop or professional development setting to get everyone writing and talking.

Making Cuts in Writing: Demonstration Conference

Is there anything more difficult than getting a student to trim their writing draft? Tammy Mulligan confers with fifth grader Noah and uses her own writing as a mentor text to show how she faced a similar challenge. The demonstration conference includes a prebrief and a debrief with Noah’s teacher.

Be Someone Who Writes

Melanie Meehan shares some practical suggestions for helping teachers (and literacy coaches) build a writing habit and get over their feelings of inadequacy as writers.

Reading Invasion

"Imagine roughly 400 people—staff and students—walking out into the green space on your school campus. Now imagine every one of them with a book in hand. Next, they all take up a space that feels comfortable. Then, they read." Brian Sepe explains how a "reading invasion" is a simple, fun, and powerful way to promote a reading community.

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