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Making Time for Reflection

One of the first things I noticed when I began to work with our 14 elementary literacy coaches was the harried pace they kept. They were asked to do a...

The 70% Rule

When practicing T’ai Chi, doing too much is the same as doing too little.                                                                                    Master Wong Chung-yua As I have progressed solidly into my 40s, my choices of physical...

Starting with Consensus

The people must have ownership in the vision. They need to be enabled to accomplish it. If there is one investment you should make, it is in people.      ...

Mentor Texts for Teachers: Home Is a Place to Begin

Whether it is a grade-level data team, a staff meeting, a special-interest PLC, a session in a conference or EdCamp, or even a deeper dive into writing, I look for...

5 Reasons to Read Grown-Up Books

I got an email containing an update from Rita’s Goodreads account. She had just finished reading Shouting at the Rain. She loved it and gave it a five-star rating. Rita...

Celebration and Reflection for Teacher Growth

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.                ...

Staff Retreat

If you’ve ever flattened on the couch with a bad cold or an overload of exhaustion, the last thing you want to hear from someone is, “You really should get...

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...

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...

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...

Word Study PD: Building on Strengths

I enjoy working out. But I have a not-so-secret hatred embedded in those workouts: push-ups. I can run, deadlift, jump, and lunge with the best of them (okay, that’s an...

Creating the Future

The best way to predict the future is to create it. As teachers arrived in August, we asked them one question: “What is your hope?” Then we watched this short...

Using Video to Step Forward

When leading professional experiences for teachers, I find there is much power in providing opportunities to observe teaching in action. As we reflect on practice, hone our craft, or discover...

The Instagram Project

“So, what have you been reading lately?” I have learned the power these seven words hold to invite readers to share their reading lives with others. As a literacy coach,...

Coaching Minute: Tech Tools

Cathy Mere shares two tech tools that are invaluable resources for her coaching.  

Ways to Personalize PD

Literacy coaches Cathy Mere and Kelly Hoenie talk about some of their efforts to personalize professional development for teachers over the past year, and what they learned that they will...

Old Technology for New Engagement

In a world with so many connections, is there still room for learning that is untethered? My son recently found my 35 mm camera. He was playing with the lens,...

Personalizing Professional Learning Opportunities

Planning the professional learning for the coming school year is a tightrope walk. We want to honor teacher autonomy and choice, yet be vigilant in keeping the focus on literacy....

That Student: Ending the Year with a PD Celebration

Students teach us how to be better. Every year we learn a lot from the children in our classrooms. To celebrate our students making us better, our last staff meeting...

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...

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...