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Reframing Data Discussions

“Will you lead a meeting going over ELA benchmark data with second through sixth grade on one of the institute days?” “Sure.” (Please no.) “Which day?” (Please say the second...

Rethinking Homework

Paul Janeczko’s poems are some of my favorites to share with students when I am introducing a poetry unit. I am sad that he passed away recently. Publishers Weekly published...

Coaching Minute: Building Coach and Specialist Collaboration

Cathy Mere and Kelly Hoenie talk about the importance of more collaboration between literacy coaches and reading specialists, and how to foster it.

The Power of a Rant

“Teachers work so hard each day. They walk out of school burdened with book bags weighted down with stacks and stacks of student papers to read and respond to at...

What Do We Mean by Coachable?

My youngest son recently tried out for and earned a spot on a travel basketball team. As we mused about what being on the team would entail (how many practices,...

Identity and Coaching

What happens when you consider yourself good at something and then your skill is questioned? For example, I consider myself a champion chocolate chip cookie baker, but when I brought...

Coaching Minute: Using Video with Literacy Coaches

Cathy Mere shares four quick tips to help literacy coaches use video thoughtfully in professional development and hone their own instructional skills.

Creative Reading Responses: It Begins with You

I am part of a teacher book club where we gather together in person and online to read children’s literature selections: picture books, early chapter books, nonfiction selections, young adult...

March Read Aloud Madness

I am always looking for ways to introduce teachers to new books to read aloud to their students. I have given book talks, displayed titles, and even created book tastings...

Helping Teachers Use Their Writing in Instruction

Early in my career, Katie Wood Ray offered this advice to a room full of teachers. It changed me. She said, “I believe we all should make a commitment to...

Analyzing Student Work: Beginning with Strengths

“I don’t even know where to start,” she mutters under her breath as her eyes widen at the sight and her shoulders slump. They lie there, a stack of notes...

An Ounce of Doubt

In my daily instructional walks, visiting classroom after classroom and engaging in the teaching and learning, I have started getting more interested in the why behind our practices. One area...

What Happens Next Is What Defines Us

My own children have been my greatest teachers. For me, one of the most challenging aspects of parenting has been to help pick them up after a disappointing event in...

Open Observations

As literacy coaches, we are always talking about ways to help teachers give ownership to learners. There are constant conversations about opening the door for students to make their own...

Tackling Coaching Challenges

One of Merriam-Webster's dictionaries defines a nemesis as a "formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent." As a literacy coach, I find that my biggest nemesis is professional development. I...

Aligning Commercial Practices with Excellent Literacy Instruction

“So, what are you guys using for literacy?” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked that as a school principal. It’s not a bad question or something...

The Lion Unit

In my first year of coaching, my staff and I spent the fall focused on math instruction. We finally had an opportunity during the last three weeks before break to...

Three Questions to Open Coaching Conversations

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.                                                                                  Thomas Berger In an early blog post sharing her ideas for student-centered coaching, Diane Sweeney writes,...

The Hole in Your Swing

I am a baseball fan. I played the sport through high school, spent a couple of years riding a bench in college, and now enjoy it mostly from the confines...

Becoming More Strategic in Coaching Stressed Teachers

Suddenly, I’m a momma to big kids. It caught me off guard and I’m still wondering how it happened, because I'm sure I didn’t blink. In addition to looking up...

Clearing the Plate: Helping Teachers Feel Free, Not Full

“David,” she said, “I’m so sorry. I just can’t do our session today.” Her tired expression, slumped shoulders, and weak voice had told me that already. “Don’t worry about it,...