Thursday, October 11, 2018

Celebrating Diversity with the Mentor Text: The Day You Begin

When you look across your classroom, what do you see? Are your students from similar backgrounds and cultures and do they have similar experiences?

Or do you see a diverse group of kids who come from different places, speak different languages, and struggle to find a place that feels like home?

Either way, as teachers, we have two responsibilities for kids when choosing books: to reflect their experiences with books that serve as mirrors, and to expose them to different lives, with books that serve as windows.

The Day You Begin is an absolutely beautiful book that can serve as both a window and a mirror, depending on your students' experiences.

If you haven't read this book yet, it's definitely a must-read.



The Day You Begin is a lyrical book that shares the experiences of students who have moved to a new, foreign place, and how they are struggling to feel like they belong. The children in the book have come from different places, and their experiences, lunches, names, and languages are different. They feel that "no one is quite like you." And it's not a good feeling.

Over time, they realize they can share themselves and find connections between themselves and other children and "the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you."

I dare you to read this book without crying. Seriously, I read it three times in a Barnes & Noble and got choked up each time.



The language of this book is incredibly moving and flowing, engaging the reader from the beginning and asking them to make connections to their own experiences or to people they know. It demands empathy.

And that's exactly how I would use this book. Making connections to oneself, to another text, to the world, and even to each other is a beautiful homage to the intent of this book. Here's what I would do:

1. Read the book, several times. 
Talk to students about your experiences and notice the beautiful language of the book together. Point out the way the author describes feelings and ensure that students understand the meaning. Have real conversations about the book. There's a lot to talk about, despite the short lines.

2. Student-to-Student Connections
Assign students randomly. Give each pair a Venn diagram. Have them brainstorm the things that make them similar and different. This freebie below is a good way to get them started, as it has little categories across the bottom that can help them think about how they're alike and different. Then have them use the sentence starters to write about their similarities and differences!



3. Text-to-Self Connections
Not everyone has had the experience of moving from another place to land in a new home, but most of us have felt like we don't quite belong. Encourage students to talk about a time they have felt like the characters in the book.

4. Text-to-Text Connections
Have students think back to other texts you have read with them or that they've read on their own. What makes this book similar? If you need a few ideas for titles, check out the other titles in this Celebrating Diversity Link-Up and add to your collection!

5. Text-to-World Connections
There are more than enough stories in the world that we can connect this text to. Have students think about things that are going on in the world and use those things to connect the book to the world.

You could actually do one of these things each day for a week and reread the book each day. By Friday, students will have done many different levels of thinking and this experience should follow them as they grow!



Download the Student-to-Student Connections Venn Diagram here on Google Drive!
And head to Amazon to get The Day You Begin with my affiliate link!



The Reading Crew is sharing so many great diverse books today! Click below to learn about some more diverse books to add to your library!


Self-hosted Wordpress: [inlinkz_linkup id=801311 mode=1]
 
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Beyond your first year: How to take stock and grow as a coach

Recently I had an email. It read, "So I just finished my first year of coaching. Now what?!"

I totally get that. You've made a tough transition from the classroom to the coaching room, and you are slowly becoming more comfortable in that role.

You've worked hard, developed relationships with teachers, and got some great initiatives started at your school. But now what do you do to continue to grow?

The first step to growth is reflection. If you sit back after a year of hard work and say, "Wow. That was awesome. I can't imagine how that could've gone any better," you're not setting yourself up for personal growth.

(Also, you might be a megalomaniac because I've never met an actual person who thinks that!)









So here are six questions you can think about that will help you reflect and take action for next year!


1. What went really well?

2. What didn't go well?

3. In what part of my work did I feel uncomfortable?

4. Where are students showing instructional gaps at the campus level? grade level? teacher level?

5. What are my teachers' needs?

6. What are teachers excited about?

Grab these questions on a recording sheet here so you can stop and reflect!


Once you've answered these questions, it's time to think about next steps. Read over your answers and think about how you can turn them into action.

Notice that you were uncomfortable co-teaching? Read a book about it! Read a blog post about it! Create or buy a tool to help you prepare for it! Are your students struggling with writing responses about their reading? Prepare a PD about it! Create or find some resources to help them roll it out in their classrooms! Offer a book study! Teachers excited about flexible seating? Build a Pinterest board to help them find resources and ideas easier! Email some teachers and ask if you can participate in rolling it out in their classrooms!

Reflection is the start, but action is the goal!

Want to read more about goal setting as a coach? Check out this post from the first Instructional Coaching series: Setting Goals as an Instructional Coach

What are your plans for your next year of coaching?

**GIVEAWAY ALERT!**
 
I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
includes...
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 


But wait! There's more!
Hee hee
You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!
Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
 
 
 
 
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How to differentiate professional development (and why you'd want to!) The Growing as an Instructional Coach Series

Professional development can be life-changing or positively groan-worthy. If you have sat through any redundant or irrelevant PDs, you know this is true.

The worst part of this: teacher time is our most valuable asset and should be protected! Teachers are too busy to sit through PD that isn't meeting their needs.
The more time teachers spend in crummy or irrelevant professional development, the worse their PD attitude gets. I'll be the first to admit: I developed a bad PD attitude!

Over time, poor PD can actually create a pretty negative climate on your campus because it doesn't meet teacher or student needs.

So how can you best meet the needs of teachers on your campus through PD differentiation? Here are four different ways!



1. Start by figuring out what the needs are.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can send out a survey, asking teachers what areas they'd like to grow in, or you can do a sweep of classroom visits and notice trends. 

2. Offer a couple different book studies.
On our campus, we tried offering differentiated book studies. I ran a literacy study, the math/science coach hosted one on number sense, and the interventionist/dyslexia teacher ran one on primary literacy. Our principal and AP even offered one about management strategies! This way, teachers could sign up for the book study that they found most relevant to their classroom work.

3. Split and flip.
This works best when you've got another faculty member who will offer teacher training at the same time you will. If you have a day or a half-day inservice, divide the time and faculty in half, or along appropriate lines for your purpose. You take the first group and train them in something relevant. The other trainer takes the second group and trains them in something relevant. Then you flip the faculty, and provide a different training so you actually meet their needs. Check out the example below.

4. Differentiate materials.
Sometimes you've got a big group and no way to split them up. They need training in a similar area, but the work they have to do isn't exactly the same. In that case, try differentiating materials. For example, in a K-5 guided reading training, you might have teachers...
- read an article
- watch a video
- work with some guided reading books
- do a sorting activity of reading strategies



In this case, you can differentiate the article to be relevant to different grade levels. 
You can differentiate the video to demonstrate different reading levels or strategies.
You can differentiate the guided reading books to reflect the levels of the kids teachers will actually work with.
You can differentiate the strategies on the cards to be relevant to the reading levels.

Just like in your classroom, teachers can participate in similar activities but get information that actually helps them in their work.

This is a really fun way to showcase teacher strengths while valuing the different needs of teachers. I wrote about this extensively in last year's instructional coaching series. Head over to check it how to host a teacher conference, but not before you enter the giveaway!

 
 
 
 
 
 
**GIVEAWAY ALERT!**
 
I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
includes...
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 


But wait! There's more!
Hee hee
You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!
Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
 
 
 
 
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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Visiting Classrooms: The Why and the How

If you're a new instructional coach, or new to a campus, or you have new teachers, or for a whole slew of reasons, you probably have a lot of questions.
* What best practices are being utilized on my campus?
* What resources do teachers have, and how do teachers use the resources them?
* How are students' needs met, even when they're operating at different levels?

And the most important: How can I support teachers and ensure that our school is growing?

There's really just one way to figure out the answer to all of these questions. And that is: visit classrooms.

You can sit, locked in your office or meetings with admin, teachers, and students all day, and still not really know what's happening at your school. Because honestly, we all speak slightly different languages.

We view instruction through the lens of our own experience. So, when a teacher tells you, "I differentiate my math instruction," that can mean 8,000 different things - almost definitely not what you're envisioning.

In order to make sure that the coaching support you're providing is actually making an impact (and being relevant to teachers), you need to visit those rooms. You can read about four reasons coaches visit classrooms here.

So how do you set yourself up for successful visits, and what do you do once you're there? Read on, dear coach for some tips to get you rolling!

1. Talk to your principal.
If your principal isn't on board, you're sort of asking for trouble. There are several reasons that you'll want to talk to your principal before you begin visiting any classrooms. They may not consider this to be part of your roles and/or responsibilities. They may want you to debrief only verbally with teachers, and not provide written feedback. They may want you to look for something specific, such as something your campus is currently working on, in order to help you figure out what to do next. They also may want you to turn around and tell them every little thing you saw, which is not a good idea and not going to make you a trustworthy coach. So make sure you're on the same page first.

2. Give teachers a heads-up.

If teachers haven't had anyone visit their classroom for instructional purposes before, you popping in is definitely going to stress somebody out. Instead of just bursting in without any warning, send teachers an email (I'd recommend sending it out to grade levels or the whole school. If you send it individually, teachers may think they're being singled out.) Just tell them the truth: you're going to be visiting classrooms to see the great things that are going on on your campus and to figure out how you can best support teachers. 

Give a time frame for the visits to start, such as "next week", "the week of the 18th", or "after Labor Day", for example. If you're looking for something specific, you can say, "I'm going to pop in and see how Reader's Workshop is going", or "I can't wait to see how your kids are utilizing their Writer's Notebooks!"

3. Put it on your calendar.

If "visiting classrooms" isn't on your calendar, you're probably not ever going to actually do it. I recommend, when you're starting out, that you visit every single classroom on your campus. This is going to take some time, so make sure it's marked off with a nice block  of time.

Consider PE, lunch schedules, library, computer lab, art class, etc. All of those things interrupt the day and require some travel time for kids and teachers, too, so give yourself a wide berth in order to avoid visiting empty rooms.

I actually kept a little log of the dates I'd visited teachers' rooms, in order to avoid getting mixed up and visiting the same rooms over and over. If you always visit rooms when fourth grade is at PE, you might miss visiting fourth grade and have no clue what you need to do to support them!
4. Go with a purpose. 
Know what it is that you're looking for. The first time, you're probably just learning a little bit about teachers' instructional style, what their rituals and routines look like, and maybe noticing some teacher ideas and/or strengths that you can ask them to share.

After that first round, you may look to see how a specific workshop is panning out in the classroom, if the books of the month are being utilized and how they're being used, and what next steps you need to do.

5. Figure out how you're providing feedback to teachers.
Before you go, make sure you've communicated with your principal about the feedback you're providing to teachers. Are you leaving written feedback? Verbal? Will you debrief with every teacher? With teachers who request it? With those teachers you think could benefit from it?

If you can leave written feedback, I recommend two things:
* Start with a completely positive note the first time. You can also offer your services.
* Do not leave it with the teacher during or at the end of your classroom visit.

Instead, take some notes in your notebook, and then write a positive note for the teacher when you have a minute. Reread it. Reread it. Reread it! Make sure you are conveying honesty, while being positive. Do not say anything that isn't true for the sake of being positive. Find something truly positive to say.

Then leave the note for the teacher in their box or mailbox. Do not hand it to them in the moment because you don't have time to think, and because that turns your visit into a performance from the teacher, immediately after which they'll get their "grade". That is not the purpose of a classroom visit.



6. Watch the kids.
If you're a coach, you work directly with teachers, and not as much with kids. But why do you work with the teachers? To impact teaching- for the kids! In classrooms, watch what the kids do. See how they listen, speak, think, read, write, and respond to what they're being asked to do. You can even talk to them (if you can do so without disrupting the lesson) and ask them about what they're working on, reading, or thinking!

7. DO NOT disrupt or distract the teacher!
This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Please do not stomp into the classroom, talking loudly, and addressing the teacher in the middle of his/her lesson. Be discreet. If the teacher thinks they have to address you, respond in kind, but make it clear that you're not there to interrupt; just to visit. If you've sent them a heads-up email, they'll remember!

8. If you're debriefing verbally, in person, have a plan.
If you, your principal and/or your teachers decide for a verbal debrief, do it in person, and have a plan. Prepare some sentence starters and some reflective questions that will help you and the teacher communicate effectively and with a purpose. You are not an evaluator. You are a coach. Coaches help people reflect on their practice. Be prepared to do that! Schedule a time that's good for you AND for the teacher. And then be prepared!

Do you visit classrooms? How does that help you be a better coach?


*****GIVEAWAY ALERT************


I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
includes...
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 



But wait! There's more!
Hee hee

You can now sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!

It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!

Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
 
 
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Coaching Cycle: say this, not that: Growing as an Instructional Coach

The coaching cycle. We hear about it all of the time.

It's a best-practice approach to working with individual teachers, honoring that they are learners in their own place in a learning process and valuing that we are all constantly growing.

But if you haven't really used the coaching cycle with a teacher before, it might be a little bit daunting.

You might be worried that you'll say "the wrong thing" and end up with a teacher who's not too happy with you (or excited about your support). 

Here are some things I've learned that have helped me use the coaching cycle effectively with teachers in different places in their learning process.



The Pre-conference 
During the pre-conference, you'll meet with the teacher to discuss what he or she is interested in working on or growing in. You'll identify a specific area to focus on and set a date or time for a classroom visit and the post-conference. You can also plan together for this lesson, if the teacher is interested in trying out something new.


The classroom visit 
During the visit, you'll take detailed notes. You can interact with students in a limited way to find out what they're working on and to have them verbalize their thinking to you. Be sure to arrive on time and watch closely for the focus the teacher asked you to look for.


The post-conference
During the post-conference, you'll debrief with the teacher and help him or her think through their lesson and their goal. You can discuss next steps and offer support as needed.


**GIVEAWAY ALERT!**
 
I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
includes...
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 

But wait! There's more!
Hee hee
You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!
Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
 
 
 
 
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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Reasons teachers might be resistant to change...and what to do about it: Growing as a Coach Series

Ah, change. Don't you love it? Starting anew every year, scrapping every single thing you worked so lovingly on, and crafting a whole new approach, all with the understanding that, come August, you'll be doing it all over again?

Wait- what? No? You don't love doing that? Well guess what: most people don't. Here's why teachers might be resistant to change, and what you can do about it.















The problem: Unrealistic expectations.
One year, our district asked us to embrace a specific model for our literacy block. It was full of great stuff: read alouds, shared reading, word study, writing conferences.

The only problem? If you added up all of the minutes, they actually totaled more time than students actually spent at school.
What to do about it: Get real. Consider the realities of teaching and scheduling when you initiate change.
Teachers will appreciate your consideration and real-ness.


The problem: Not enough resources.
I've been on campuses where they asked everyone to DRA their students (assess them in reading) by sharing two kits across six grade levels. 
Nope. Not happening.

What to do about it: If it's important, find the funding to get the resources.  
If it can be done in a different manner, for example, providing a staggered schedule to help teachers share the limited resources, do it.

The problem: Too many expectations. 
A teacher's list is oh-so-long, and anything that gets added to the list is seen as "one more thing" because it often is one more thing to accomplish in an already busy day.

What to do about it: If you add something to the plate, try to take something off (or at least consolidate it)
You can either figure out where there are redundancies, or ask teachers what they can do without.



The problem: Inconsistent and unclear expectations.
I knew a grade level who never wanted to do what the rest of the school was doing. If they didn't like something they'd go to the principal. The principal was uncomfortable with conflict, so they just said, "Do whatever you need to do." This meant the grade level didn't do it at all. 

When different grade levels are told different things, no one is happy. It creates frustration and hard feelings, too. The teachers who try to follow the initiative to the letter feel like their work is more difficult and unappreciated. And the ones who don't try at all... well, they aren't doing it anyway.

What to do about it: Be clear, consistent, and put it in writing. 
Have a deadline? Write it down. Is the initiative required or recommended? Write it down. Do the details matter? Write it down. If it's not important enough to require from everyone, why require it at all?


The problem: Not enough time to learn and practice.
How often have you been handed a brand-new practice and expected to roll it out immediately without the opportunity to try it out and get better at it? Probably too many times to count. We'd never do this to kids, but it happens to teachers all the time.
What to do about it: Give great, ongoing professional development.
Make sure people have seen the strategy, worked through it, practiced it, and have opportunities to ask questions. Once they're trying it out in the classroom, honor the learning process.



The problem: Not enough support.
When teachers get a one-shot training and are expected to be experts in something totally new and foreign, we're setting them (and their kids) up for failure. Teachers need support, too. 

What to do about it: Provide different types of support for teachers in different places along the learning process.  
Offer to model, share articles and resources, create opportunities for teacher-to-teacher sharing and modeling, help troubleshoot, and follow up frequently in emails, PLCs, and hallway conversations. Make a deliberate choice to be the support that teachers need.


The problem: Teachers are tired of top-down decision making.
Do I really need to elaborate?

What to do about it: Involve teachers in decision-making to make sure you've got buy-in.  
This isn't always possible, so at least try to figure out how to make the initiative more palatable and doable.


The problem: (not really a problem) Different learning styles. 
Everybody learns differently. Some people learn something new and are ready to try it right away. Some people need some time to think and figure out how this approach or strategy is useful, valuable, or even how it relates to the work they're doing.

What to do about it: Give people time to talk, think, learn, and try things out.
This is normal. When you work with kids, you don't expect everyone to learn everything the same way at the same time. Give people multiple opportunities to see it in action, to talk it through, to learn about it, and you'll have more people feel comfortable trying it out.
 
**GIVEAWAY ALERT!**
 
I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
includes...
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 


But wait! There's more!
Hee hee
You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!
Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
 
 
 
 
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Establishing credibility as a new coach: Growing As an Instructional Coach Series


I have a hard truth to tell you. I don't know if you'll like it, but it must be said.

Not everyone is going to be excited to work with you.

I know! How shocking! But it's true! Think about it: have you been over the moon excited to work with everyone you've come in contact with? I'm gonna guess that answer is no.

And that's normal! It's normal for the teachers you're working with, too. They might not be too excited to work with you.

When you're starting out as a new coach, on a new campus, or with new faculty, there are a few things that should happen simultaneously in order for you to show that you're credible and a valuable asset to teachers' work.

1. Value them first.
2. Add value to their work.
3. Build a personal(ish) relationship. 

1. Value them first.
No one wants to work with someone who doesn't appreciate them. The best first step in establishing your own credibility and value is to value teachers first. This can be done in a few different ways:
  • Visit classrooms a few times just to leave happy, positive notes about great things you see going on. (This can be a bit stressful at first if you're at a school that has never had classroom visits. Check out my post later in this series about visiting classrooms and talk to your principal first!)  
  • Ask for teacher input when you see they have a strength. For example, if you visit Ms. Tenaka's classroom, and she has an awesome word study routine, ask her about it! Ask what resources she uses, how she chooses words, why she does what she does, and what impact it has on the kids! You'll want to encourage her to share her expertise to benefit others.
  • Really listen to find out what challenges they have. You can use this to help them find solutions or to serve as a liaison to administration. Some challenges might be lack of resources, confusion about inconsistent expectations, struggles with managing behaviors in their classrooms, or fuzziness on instructional strategies. Understanding this can help you respond to it effectively.
Why is this important to establishing credibility? No one wants to listen to someone they dislike. People generally don't like people who don't like them!



2. Add value to their work.

To add value to their work, seek out an area where you can be of service. Some ways to start might be:
  • Provide a survey to find out what challenges teachers have so you can think about how you can support them.
  • Ask them what kinds of coaching support would be the most helpful to them and have them respond individually (not as a group). This could be a survey or a checklist.
  • Provide a coaching menu or bank of services you are prepared to offer.
  • Recommend books or resources that are immediately relevant to what they're teaching/doing.
  • Help them solve a problem they have by sharing a solution, helping out, or communicating effectively to administration (without selling anyone out!)
  • Offer to read aloud to their kids. Then do an incredible job! Model your expertise and teaching personality. Share your best strategies.
Adding value means being honest about what you can and can't do. Don't make it up! If you're unsure about something, say that you'll do a little reading to be able to support your teacher.

 3. Build a personal(ish) relationship
This one should be obvious, but sometimes it's hard to do. If you're working with a whole batch of new people, it can be a challenge to get to know each one. But keep it simple. You don't have to take everyone out for margaritas (although, I will say, a margarita never hurt)! Just share things about yourself as they become relevant, ans ask them questions about themselves. Find something to connect with each teacher on and refer back to it.

These three steps are easy to do and will help you get started building credibility and a positive relationship with teachers to build good coaching work on.

I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
includes...
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer

Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 

But wait! There's more!
Hee hee
You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!

Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
 
 
 
 
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Upcoming Instructional Coaching Series & Giveaway!

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you've probably come to expect the Instructional Coaching Series to come out at the beginning of the school year. Two years ago, I hosted the Start-Up Instructional Coaching Series, and last year I created the Next Steps in Instructional Coaching Series. This year, I'm sharing the "Growing as a Coach Instructional Coaching Series"! 

It's a 5-part blog series. Every post is designed to support you in your coaching experience. Whether you're new to coaching or you've been making a difference in your role for a while, you'll find ideas to refine and grow your coaching practice.

In addition to lots of coaching information and ideas, I'm also hosting my annual instructional
coaching giveaway! This year, you can win BIG in a few different giveaways:

1. The Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit!
This includes the Must-Haves box and the Coaching Bundle!
* Inbox tray
* My favorite notebook: Eccolo
* My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
* Frixion Ball Erasable pens
* Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
* Rae Dun "piña" mug
* Insulated water bottle
* To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
* Thank you cards
* Pineapple notepad
* Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
* Erasers
* Lotion
* Hand sanitizer
This bundle includes... 

2. Four winners will win the Instructional Coaching Digital Giveaway of the Coaching Resource Bundle!

The Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle includes... 
- Start-Up Guide to Instructional Coaching!

You'll want to check back for these posts every Wednesday & Saturday starting on August 1 for posts about these important topics! You can enter to win with each new blog post!





Winners chosen and announced: Friday, August 25!
 
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