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Tips for Planning with Teachers

“So here’s what I’m planning for next week.” Michele, a third-grade teacher, held up her planbook for me to see. She had written her teaching points in pen across the...

One Teaching Point at a Time

Whenever we are learning a new skill, regardless of the content, regardless of our age, it helps when we break it down into steps. No one can jump on a...

Settling In

“Okay, writers, off you go,” Mrs. Smith says with a smile and a wave of her hand. The first graders scurry to their writing spots and open their writing folders...

Speech/Language Pathology and Literacy: Making Connections

Throughout the course of a school year, teachers who have some concerns about a particular student often approach me to talk it through. They may tell me they feel something...

Building Specialist Capacity

Specialized teachers and paraprofessionals are tremendous resources for classrooms, and the many adults who work in schools want to teach meaningful lessons to students. They just don’t know how. One...

Purposeful Post-Its

As teachers and literacy coaches, we love sticky notes, but we don’t love seeing them overused with no purpose. For example, we may have what I call “sticky-note queens and...

Coaching Minute: Using Foam Boards with Students

In this quick video, Jennifer Allen explains how using foam boards with students can increase engagement and extend learning between demonstration lessons.

Tracking Characters in Fourth Grade

Kathy Provost leads a demonstration lesson on tracking characters with fourth graders. The lesson includes prebrief and debrief sessions with their teacher Jaime Leger.  

Coaching a Shift to a New Writing Unit

Melanie Meehan coaches a third-grade teacher who is transitioning between information- and opinion-writing units, emphasizing how charts might be used in the class effectively.  

Together: Supporting Readers Toward Independence

Walking into Deb Frazier’s first-grade classroom, it was obvious the students were already engaged in their reading workshop choices. Students were sitting around the room in little nooks, on stools,...

Nurturing a Growth Mindset in Young Readers

The growth mindset, a term brought to life by psychologist Carol Dweck, is becoming an ever-present expression in our schools. In her book Mindset, she refers to the growth mindset...

Coaching and Tracking Conferences

I admire teachers who ask questions about conferring since conferring is at the heart of writing workshop, but it is one of the hardest parts. Unlike the minilesson, teachers don’t...

Picture It: Student Mentor Text Bulletin Board

Inspiration is at the heart of writing. Whether it be a well-known author from an author study or a classmate, students become inspired by other writers when the abstract becomes...

What Are You Working on Today?

Conferring with readers is the heart of reading workshop. Conferring is where you meet kids right where they are and teach them exactly what they need to know to move...

Coaching Collaboration: Visual Note Taking in First Grade

Entering a new coaching cycle with teachers is an exciting time. Teachers bring eagerness and a willingness to try novel ways of teaching skills and strategies, and collaboration is at...

From Worksheets to Workshops

At the beginning of my time at Miami Elementary School, I sent my teachers an email with my calendar and a list of ways I could support them. One item...

In the Trenches: Reflection, Not Perfection

As a middle school literacy coach whose job is to provide job-embedded professional development, I am fortunate to find myself in classrooms a good amount of the day. My stance...

Teaching Advanced Second-Grade Writers: Debrief

Literacy coach Kathy Provost and second-grade teacher Jen Volpicelli debrief after teaching a lesson for second graders who are moving beyond grade-level expectations in their writing. This is the third...

Coaching Teachers to Support Gifted Learners

When I sit down with my colleagues to plan for reading workshop, the inputs can be overwhelming. In addition to the assessments we use in our own classrooms, and the...

Teaching Advanced Second-Grade Writers: A Collaborative Lesson

Literacy coach Kathy Provost and second-grade teacher Jen Volpicelli teach a lesson for second graders who are moving beyond grade level expectations in their writing. This is the second video...

No Cookies: Reflection and Celebration

At the beginning of the year, I started a coaching cycle right away with one of our district’s fourth-grade teachers. We had studied the data of the cohort heading her...