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Coaching for Kindergarten Writing

Melanie Meehan meets with kindergarten teacher Katie to talk through the needs of two children who are just beginning to learn how to transfer their stories from home to the...

Kindergarten Writing: Helping Advanced Learners

Melanie Meehan meets with kindergarten teacher Hayley to examine student work and talk about how to help young learners who are still in transition from home to school environments.  

New-to-Grade-Level Teacher Tool Kit

As the end of the year approaches, a few of the teachers in our district have been notified that they will be changing grade levels in the upcoming year. Part...

Starting with Core Beliefs and Values

Working with a leadership intern this year brought back memories of student teaching, working with a mentor my first two years of teaching, and hosting practicum students. I’m thankful for...

Improving My Feedback

I’ve spent most of my career dreading the feedback portion of my relationships. It felt as though my actions were just being checked off of a list. The feedback always...

The Importance of Encouragement

Like many school districts around the country, we have been cultivating a learning culture, and instructional coaches are playing an increasingly important role. In our district, instructional coaches make up...

Ending Coaching Cycles with Reflection

I am approaching the end of a coaching cycle with a fifth-grade teacher with whom I’ve been working throughout her information-writing unit. Her students are highly engaged, so we have...

A Coach’s Toolbox: Transcribing Talk

Most of my time in classrooms is spent coteaching or teaching a demonstration lesson. My role as a literacy coach is a nonevaluative one, so I aim to be actively...

Coaching Basics: Choice

My father-in-law taught me to drive his new fishing boat. It is unlike any fishing boat I’ve ever seen. Sparkles and speed combine to make me feel like a character...

Why I Love Having a Coach

This year, our district put literacy and math coaches in place at the elementary level. I knew I’d love having a coach, but I had no idea how much I...

On Being Observed

Jeni shares reflections on teacher observations and what needs to be in place for them to work well.    

What I Wish I’d Known As a New Coach

As I begin my fourth year in my position as our district’s writing and social studies coordinator, I realize my work alongside teachers has changed in subtle and profound ways....

A Good Coach Is a Good Wingman

During World War I, the US Air Force started using a wingman pattern for their fighter jets. The wingman flies off the right wing and slightly behind the lead. The...

What Matters Most: Building Relationships

When I began my job as a literacy coach, I had a steep learning curve ahead of me. I was eager to learn, so I bought several books about coaching...

Coaching Debrief Early in the Year

Heather Rader observes Sean Moore teach a writing lesson to his second graders early in the year. This video of the debrief session highlights Heather’s open-ended questions and listening strategies....

Good Intentions Gone Wrong

“Oh please, don’t do that!” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I shouldn’t have said them. It was early Friday morning before school, and...

Learning How to Communicate: From Teacher to Coach

One fall Saturday evening, at the end of a long week when things felt a little out of control, I decided it would feel good to clean up and clear...

Narrative Nonfiction Conference

Literacy coach Heather Rader confers with Beth Lawson about using more narrative nonfiction in both reading and writing workshops.

Getting Creative in Building Relationships with Teachers

Soon after my husband and I moved into our home, we found ourselves locked out. It was before we had a chance to have extra keys cut and stowed on...

Tips for Conducting Demonstration Lessons, or How to Avoid the “Am I Doing This Right?” Question

Teachers spend most of their day alone with their class, and each day they are required to make hundreds of “in-the-moment” instructional decisions. Here are just a few of the...

Just Tell Me! Evaluation and the Coach’s Dilemma

Coaches are not evaluators. We are a teacher's side-by-side partner; a confidential listener, encouraging teachers to take risks, helping them to hone their skills to become the best teacher for...