Sunday, July 17, 2016

Getting Your Space Ready: Part Two of the Start-Up Guide Series for Instructional Coaching

Walking into your classroom at the end of the summer is a magical time, whether you're an instructional coach or a teacher. All of your stuff is stacked to the ceiling, on top of the built-in shelves. There are at least two mosquitos floating around the room. And the air conditioner is most definitely not working. 

And despite all of these disparaging factors, you're excited. You're excited to un-box your office supplies and see how many cute post-its you bought over the summer. You're excited to put up new fabric on the bulletin boards. You're excited to use that new scrapbook paper to make signs. All of this is true, even for instructional coaches.
Every year is a chance to start anew with a new layout! To help you organize your space, here are a few things to think about and a few spaces you'll probably want to include in your instructional coaching space! Every room is different; some coaches work out of what basically constitutes a closet. But no matter the size of your space, you'll want to ensure its usefulness by considering the following tips.

Space #1 Workspace.
This is your space to work in. In this space, you'll write out documentation from your classroom visits and work on preparing trainings and alignment documents. This is the spot where you'll want to organize your office supplies for personal use and have the documentation systems that are for your use rather than teacher use. In this space, include:
*A flat surface to work on. A desk or guided reading table works well.
*Office supplies. Post-its, white-out, highlighters, pens and pencils.
*Make sure there's an outlet for your laptop or desktop nearby.
 *Printer in proximity.
*Documentation binders on a shelf.

Space #2 Planning Tools
In this section, I keep tools for lesson planning during PLC or for me to use to prepare trainings or workshops. For each grade level, I have a basket and a binder. The basket holds copies of the materials that grade level has copies of in order to facilitate planning. The binder includes documents that help us plan, like the district curriculum guide, the standards for that grade level, and questioning ideas for each standard.

Space #3 Teacher Workspace
Obviously, this space is designed to give teachers room to work and communicate during PLC,  trainings, and meetings. The tables are large and can fit about 8-10 teachers. On each table, I have a basket with post-its, pens, and highlighters for teacher use. Hole punches, staplers, and tape dispensers are nearby. 

Space #4 Teaching Resources
Because my primary focus is reading and writing, the teaching resources we use to plan our lessons are primarily books! I have two sections of books in my room. One of them is dedicated to models for writing. These touchstone texts are organized by writing skill or strategy and are available for teachers to use. For example, if we’re planning a unit on writing good beginnings in narrative text, we can grab the “Good beginnings” basket and dig through to find some great models.

The other section of books include classroom sets or multiple copies of novels or picture books. These are organized in baskets. I have a check-out binder for the class sets, placed on a low table near the shelves.  

Space #5 Direct Instruction Space
You know how you provide direct instruction in the classroom and you have a spot to do it in? It might be an easel next to a chair on the carpet, or a document camera projected onto a screen or a whiteboard. You're going to want a direct instruction space in your instructional coaching room, too. I have space at the front of the room with my media cart handy (document camera, projector, and speakers) and an easel. There's also magnetic wall space, so I can model lessons or lead professional development there.
Space #6 Wall Space
Just like in the classroom, your wall space is valuable! You can use it to post anchor charts made during trainings or to create sample charts teachers might like to use in their upcoming instruction. If there's a new initiative teachers are expected to integrate, this is a great place to post it, front and center. Keeping it visible will help you remember to pull it into your planning!
Another necessary tool is your calendar. I post a large monthly calendar, showing two months at a time. We mark school events, district or campus assessment windows or dates, and other important dates to help us plan accordingly. Keeping the calendars visible is so helpful when you're planning a crazy month like December!

Space #7 Professional Development Resources
This space is basically your professional development library. If you've inherited years' worth of PD materials (like me), you've got shelf after shelf of stuff. Organize it and label it for easy access!
Was this helpful? Would you like more tips and information about getting started as an instructional coach? Check out my all-new ebook: The Start-Up Guide to Instructional Coaching on TPT! There's a section about getting your space ready that includes these tips and more. I also included a map of my classroom space. It's over 80 pages of information to help you have a successful year of coaching!
But wait - there's more! There's a giveaway! A BIG GIVEAWAY!

One lucky duck will win my Instructional Coaching Start-Up Kit, an over $140 value!

Included in this kit: 
  • Storage box (So pretty)
  • My favorite notebook (Bendable)
  • My favorite calendar (Week-at-a-glance)
  • The best erasable pens out there
  • A mug (Necessary for coaching)
  • A fruit infuser water bottle (Stay hydrated)
  • A welcome banner (It's important to be approachable)
  • Post-it notes, binder clips, and paperclips (Fancy)
  • The Instructional Coaching MegaPack (sent via email)
  • The Start-Up Guide to Instructional Coaching (sent via email)

In addition to this, every week, you'll have the chance to enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway to be one of five people to win a digital giveaway: my new ebook, The Start-Up Guide to Instructional Coaching, and my Instructional Coaching MegaPack Binder! Over $35.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below: you can tweet, follow me on twitter, follow me on Pinterest, and share on Facebook. In addition to this, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Instructional Coaching Start-Up Series, starting with the post last week! Every week, on Sunday, you can read my new post and add another entry by commenting on the post (please, just one comment per new post). You can also share each new post on Facebook, every day if you want, and add to your entries! The giveaway ends on August 10!

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  1. I'm SOOO thankful that I stumbled upon your blog when searching pinterest for instructional coaching help!! I have been working as an instructional coach in one elementary school for the last 3 years. This year, we have suffered cuts in our positions and I will now be working with 3 elementary schools Pre-K - 3rd!!!!!! I'm VERY NERVOUS!! All of your instructional coaching posts so far have helped me get my brain in the right frame of mind to make this a successful decision for our district! I look forward to lots more great information!!

    1. Wow! That's so exciting! Crazy, but exciting lol! I'm so glad you are finding value in the coaching posts! Just trying to share some of the things I've learned from all the mistakes I've made haha!

  2. I think your blog post is great! I just found it today and need to get caught up on previous posts! I love your recommendations on getting our space ready! So often I have so many ideas I want to implement at the beginning of the year but I get stuck for a few days on how to organize my space and maximize the room's potential!

  3. Space is something I am really going to think about. I only saw my space once before leaving. I have a tiny office in the front office across from the other coach. Then we have two classrooms to use for trainings. So I plan on setting up resources for check out in both classrooms-- one for pro Rdg materials and the other book sets to use with kiddos.

    My office will be where I store my paperwork and such.

    So excited!

  4. This is awesome. I look forward to reading the rest in this series.

  5. I love how organized your space is and that you have examples for teachers everywhere. That's awesome!

  6. I wish I would have as much space as you have but I love how organized you are! I definitely have to redo my working space. I look forward to reading more on this topic!

  7. I love your binders/bins organization system! I have a small office with bookshelves so I think I could make that work!

  8. Awesome, awesome post!!! I can't wait to dive into all of your posts on instructional coaching!

    1. Thank you, Angela for sharing! Jus like you, Ms. B is awesome, TOO!!!❤️

  9. While I'm not an instructional coach yet, these tips are helping me think about what I could do now to prepare for the future! Thank you for the inspiration :)

  10. I am so glad I found your blog! You are an inspiration to me!! Currently re-reading your post about room set-up as I get ready to head out to my school to start prepping for the new "year"!

  11. I am enjoying this series! Thank you for helping me prepare.

  12. I am enjoying this series! Thank you for helping me prepare.

  13. Thank you for supporting this work. I have just moved states, accepted a new coaching job in a school that will also have a new principal. I wondered if you have suggestions for joining a new staff, opening activity, or anything you feel would be helpful. I have been a coach before but, this scenario is a bit different than past experiences. Thanks

  14. I wish that I had a classroom to work in! I have a small office that I am sharing with the math/science coach!