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What I Know for Sure: Reflection and Core Beliefs

Last summer, I read this tiny book by Oprah Winfrey called What I Know for Sure. As she writes in the first chapter, she reflects on all the lessons she...

Coaching Conversations: Carry the Water

In this audio interview, Susan Kennedy chats with Brenda Power about the challenges of starting a new coaching position in a different part of the country, and building relationships with...

Apps in Perspective

I sighed after opening an email requesting “tablet support” from a group of teachers. I dropped my head into my hands and groaned. I stared at the screen. Then I...

Staying Focused: How Leaders Can Keep Their Passion for Literacy Alive

Becoming a building principal changed me as a thinker, a reader, and a writer. It’s not that I’m better or worse—just different from how I used to be. The nature...

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...

When Is Coaching a Waste of Time?

I met Lisa, a new literacy coach, for dinner early in the fall. She’d just come from an afternoon meeting with Mary, a fifth-grade teacher. They had discussed designing a...

Above the Clouds

The few days before my trip to Boston had been stormy, dreary, and overcast. I knew the forecast predicted rain at my destination, but as I was leaving for the...

Drop the Rope

Change is hard. Coaching change is even harder. Those moments of tension we experience can be brutal. We feel defensive, hurt, or even useless. How do we find the strength...

Leadership 101: Knowing When to Step Back

My school literacy team met last week. The literacy team includes specialists and grade-level team leaders. The agenda was a typical one: Our media specialist shared new books available in...

Find the Common Ground

I knew I was going to fail. It was inevitable. The school was going through a state-sanctioned improvement process, and part of their plan for improvement was for grade-level teams...

Coaching Conversations: Defining Your Role

In this audio interview, Brenda Power chats with Kathleen Collaro about the challenges of carving out time for coaching when teachers are clamoring for additional instruction support for struggling learners....

Coaching Boundaries: Do You Have Any?

Time is the resource on which we’ve relied to get more accomplished. When there’s more to do, we invest more hours. But time is finite, and many of us feel...

Hear It, Clear It Up, and Steer It

A couple of years ago I was in charge of sending out emails two weeks before our scoring workshops in writing. The first time, I was caught off guard by...

Lessons from a Multitasker

Harvard Business Review reports that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ.                                                                               Peter Bergman I was getting...

Engaging That Class

As a second-year teacher, I had an impossible freshman sixth-period class. I cried after school most days. By contrast, I had three other sections of engaged, fun ninth-grade classes with...

Reaching Boy Writers

“What would you do if the second you got into an airplane bathroom, and you REALLY had to go, the pilot turned on the ‘fasten your seatbelt’ sign?” This was...

Coaching Excellent Teachers

“I have no idea what to do with her,” whined Judy. “She’s freaking AWESOME!” Judy, a middle school literacy coach, was struggling with a problem that would be wonderful to...

Coaching Minute: 100% of the Time

Do all teachers need a literacy coach’s support? Heather Rader has wise words of advice in this quick video tip. A transcript is included below the player.     I...

Instructional Coach: A Position of Contradictions

Love. Hate. Productive. Frustrated. Peace. Stress. We live in a world of tension. We are constantly pushed and pulled. This is especially true for an instructional coach because it is...

Quick! Hide the Chocolate: Challenging Coaching Relationships

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.                                                                                                         Maya Angelou As an instructional coach, I collaborate with colleagues as they try new...

Reluctant Teachers and Nonfiction

At a recent workshop, Franki Sibberson asked us to recall our experiences with nonfiction texts as children. I shuddered. My memories of childhood nonfiction are not good ones. I remember...