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Helping Teachers Weed Libraries

I am a book collector. I love seeing books on my shelves, books in baskets in each room, book stacks on my desk, and books beside my bed. When I...

Talking in Front of Peers

Lately I have been doing a good deal of speaking and presenting to other educators at various conferences, and more frequently I’ve spoken or presented in front of my large...

Coaching in Proximity: The Sherpa Mind-Set

Standing in the back of the room, I could see and feel the building anticipation. There was the wild-eyed look of a teacher who is no longer sure what question...

A Change in the Weather: Moving from Teacher to Coach

There’s a joke among midwesterners that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a day and it will change. Living in northern Indiana, we see the full gamut of...

The Coconut Wireless

I am in a workshop in San Francisco, listening to a team of teachers and administrators from Hawaii talk about the power of community networks. The superintendent of a school...

Team Meeting: Next Steps

Kathy Provost closes a third-grade team meeting with a discussion of next steps, ensuring everyone is on the same page with plans before the next month's meeting.  

Embedding Reading into Staff Meetings

In a New York Times article, writer Virginia Heffernan questions the necessity of meetings. “They’re boring. They’re useless. Everyone hates them.” She interviews a number of organizational leaders about this...

Professional Learning Beyond PLCs

Professional learning communities, or PLCs for short, is a framework for professional collaboration and data analysis. The structure this approach creates allows for collective inquiry around student learning. Since coming...

A Book Tasting for Teachers

Where do you turn when you need your next book to read? If you are like me, you have a few methods up your sleeve to ensure your next book...

Leadership Shifts

Every year about this time, I spend several hours finalizing supplemental contracts. In my district, teachers who take on leadership roles in specific curricular areas are paid a small stipend...

Never Too Late to Get to Know You

Has your staff started down the trail of the winter doldrums and grumpy-pants syndrome? What is it about this time of year? The holidays are over, and spring break feels...

Not All Superheroes Wear Capes

Doldrums. One of Merriam-Webster's dictionaries defines doldrums as "a spell of listlessness or despondency; a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump." Inevitably, we all get the doldrums at...

A Third Way

“Matt, would you have a minute to come to our next PLC meeting to discuss something on our minds?” My principal radar immediately registered a ping: something is not going...

To Celebrate or Not

February and March are two important months for learners. Except they’re all important, aren’t they? Which pretty much sums up my conflict with Black History Month and Women’s History Month,...

Using Padlet in Coaching

As I sat in my office one morning planning for an upcoming professional development session on sketchnoting, I was struck by how technology has changed the way I work and...

Science and Literacy Units

The best way to learn about anything is by doing.                                                             Richard Branson As the second-grade teachers walked into their professional development session that afternoon, they each grabbed a container...

The Intersection of Social Studies and Language Arts

I was part of a team that worked on new social studies content frameworks in my state, and we talked to many teachers throughout the state. We heard the refrain...

First-Grade Team: Next Steps

Heather Fisher leads a first-grade teaching team as they plan action steps to take before their next monthly meeting.  

Planning for Monthly Literacy Team Meetings

You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.                                              Roger Maris October is when the "honeymoon period" has usually ended for teachers. It's the month when students show...

Better Team Meetings

In my first few years as a middle school language arts teacher, our principal required our teaching team to meet once a week. So new, so eager to please, and...

Building from Strengths

“It’s going to be a wonderful day.” When I wake up, before I even get out of bed, I try to say those words to myself. I feel silly, but...