Saturday, July 13, 2019

How to introduce yourself as an instructional coach: The instructional coaching series

Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers! When I first started coaching, I just...started. I was introduced during a faculty meeting, I gave a professional development day on shared reading, and I set up my room. When I met teachers, I said, "Hi! I'm excited to be here! Thanks!"

They had no idea what I was supposed to be doing.
Previously, they hadn't really had an "instructional coach". They had someone who filled my position, but this person was used as more of an administrative type person, so the teachers didn't have experience with coaching.

My principal asked me to start visiting classrooms so I could get to know the school and faculty, so I did.
Teachers asked what they were doing wrong.
I started planning with grade levels during PLC.
Teachers wanted me to make their copies.
I looked over data to figure out which students needed intervention.
Teachers said I should pull small groups and do it myself.

Basically, without a good introduction to my role as an instructional coach, there was a lot of misunderstanding as to why I was even on that campus. 

And it made doing my job very difficult.

If I could go back and have a redo (don't we all want at least a couple of redos?), this is what I'd do instead: I'd explicitly introduce myself and my role to the faculty as a whole. Then I'd reiterate it in grade levels. Then, when I was approaching individuals for coaching work, I'd share it again.

Here are three different ideas for introducing yourself and your role as an instructional coach! The best part? These ideas will work even if you've already been working with a school. You can re-introduce yourself and your role to start the year heading in a different direction!

Choose a method that suits your personality and your approach. You want people to know who you are and what you're about right away!

ONE BIG IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure you and your principal are on the same page when it comes to your coaching roles and responsibilities. It's important to have a conversation before you introduce your role to your teachers. Need a checklist to be prepared for this conversation? Check out the Roles and Responsibilities checklist from The Coach's Book of Plans and Lists.

Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers!
#1 Coaching Roles Presentation
For this idea, you'll need to "borrow" a few minutes during a faculty meeting to share about your role as a coach. 

Prepare a PowerPoint or a Keynote presentation that includes an introduction to you as a person, as well as your instructional background. 
Include the kinds of support you can provide to teachers, such as what a coaching cycle can look like and what you can do to help them work towards their goals. 
Explicitly introduce which content areas, grade levels, or subjects you're going to work with, if you are limited in any way.
Need a ready-to-go (but editable) presentation? Get it in my Coaching in Classrooms resource. 

#2 Coffee with the Coach
If you're unable to secure time with the faculty, you can host a little before or after school event (or you can park yourself in one spot and make yourself available all day for people to come by). I recommend hosting this event in your own room, if you have space, so people can start to become comfortable with visiting your space in a nonthreatening way.

Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers! Send out little invitations that include the day, time, and location of "Coffee with the Coach". 
Prepare a nice coffee bar, and make sure that this bonus is noted on your invitation. (In other words, a doughnut or breakfast burrito never hurt anybody.) You want people to show up on their own accord, so you have to provide that nice incentive.
As people arrive, make sure you have written out how you plan to introduce yourself. 
It helps to have your services available in writing, too, such as on a Coaching Menu that you can hand out to people as they arrive. 
You can get a Coaching Menu as part of my Coaching in Classrooms resource, or you can join my email list at the end of this post to get one for free in your inbox.

 
#3 Coaching Newsletter
Again, if you aren't able to get time with your entire faculty, sending out an introductory newsletter will at least get the ball rolling. 
In your newsletter, include a bit about who you are (with points that will help people relate to you such as interest, hobbies, or family life) and your instructional background. Make sure to explain simply the services you plan to provide and the grades/content areas you are able to work with. Make it easy to contact you via a phone number or an email address.
You're unlikely to get many responses to it, but you want to make it immediately clear that you're there to support teachers towards their goals. It's important to be available and reachable!
Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers!
No matter what method you choose, make sure you do these things:
  • Introduce yourself as a human. (begin making connections to people)
  • Introduce yourself as an educator (this builds credibility)
  • Describe the services you can and will provide 
  • Explain how to contact you for these services
  • Assure teachers that you are there to work towards their goals of educating their students
The posts for the blog series this summer are: 
One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 
I've put together a collection of free tools for instructional coaches:
  • Tips for getting started
  • Coaching services menu
  • Classroom sweep form
  • Coaching invitations (black and white)
  • Using the gradual release model to coach teachers
  • Coaching plan
  • Observation guide
  • Debriefing sentence starters
  • Thank you notes
You can get them all by entering your email address below!
 
 
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Instructional Coaching Summer Series & Giveaway

It's time for my favorite annual event at Buzzing with Ms. B. The Summer Coaching Series & Giveaway!

Here's the why: 
When coaches are hired, they are often teachers who have demonstrated a lot of strength in the classroom. But when they're moved to a coaching position, they're often left to figure out how to work with adults on their own.

If you've been coaching for any length of time at all, it's clear: kids and teachers are two very different animals. The way we worked with kids isn't always the way to work with teachers.

The challenge is that there isn't always a lot of support or professional development for coaches.

That's why this Summer Coaching Series is all about how to support teachers in order to support students.

You'll walk away with specific ideas and steps to take to make your coaching work better and help you coach with confidence!

And here's the what:

The posts for the blog series this summer are: 
One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 

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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Six Tips for Coaching Reader's Workshop

Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
As coaches, we coach a variety of contents and strategies. We help teachers grow in whatever area they are focused on and using the approach that works best for students.

However, in many schools, there are a collection of approaches that the school is working towards. In this case, the coach is called on to coach teachers within those frameworks. This is the case if your school uses a framework such as Reader's Workshop, Writer's Workshop, or Math Workshop.

Each of these frameworks  will look different from classroom to classroom, but the basic components will be the same. In Reader's Workshop, those components are the minilesson, independent reading, guided reading, reading conferences, and a closing share.

I am sharing even more ideas (and a really big free download) for coaching Reader's Workshop during my virtual session at the Simply Coaching Summit all about this topic, and so I thought I'd share some of the tips from that FREE conference (that you can still register for!) here on the blog!
Here are six tips to help you get started in coaching Reader's Workshop!

#1 Start out by building a common language.  
Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!Without a common language, planning together and communicating can be really challenging. For example, the word "read" is used to mean many things. Some teachers use it to mean students are decoding accurately, but not comprehending. Others use it to mean that students read and comprehend - real reading. 
If everyone has a different idea what you're saying when you say, "minilesson", "inference", and "word study", it is nearly impossible to plan together effectively. Spending time on building a common language is a valuable way to grow a team.
Ways to do this may include modeling lessons for each component, creating a video bank of modeled lessons so teachers can watch them when they have time, doing language-building activities during PD where teachers match Reader's Workshop vocabulary words with their definitions before and after the session, and doing a book study on this framework.

#2 Collect everyone’s schedule.  
This is not a “gotcha”. This is to help you in scheduling visits to classrooms, opportunities for teachers to learn from each other, and to see where teachers are planning to spend their time during Reader’s Workshop. If something isn’t included in a teacher’s plan for the day, it’s definitely not on their radar. This will tell you what teachers value in reading instruction.

Once you have everyone's schedule, organize it into a spreadsheet. I broke mine down into fifteen minute increments. Then I made a column for each grade level and wrote in what they were doing during each time frame. It made it much easier for me to figure out when a good time to visit might be, and when to plan time to collaborate with teachers!
Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
#3 Make sure teachers have what they need. 
Do a sweep of the school to ensure that teachers have classroom libraries, a space for guided reading, and the instructional tools and materials they need. This could be easels, chart paper, binders, baskets to organize books, book bins or bags, etc. It’s not that tools will do the job of implementing Reader’s Workshop, but if you can make a teacher’s life easier and better, and improve the student's learning experience by getting them what they need, why not? 

Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
You may not be able to get everybody everything they'd like, but you may have some input when the principal is making purchases for the campus.
Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
#4 Make sure that training includes a focus on the standards. 
Teachers need to know their standards, and so do you. Make sure that that you are really well versed in the standards for each grade and what they look like. Planning should start with what students need to learn how to do. If it doesn’t, it’s just fluff.
Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
#5 Create a culture of collaboration. 
 One non-threatening way to start this is to ask people to bring something they’d like to share for your next PLC. Each person brings one student or classroom artifact that they have created throughout their unit of study. 
At the beginning of your next PLC meeting, ask each person to share their artifact and explain their process a little so everyone can learn from each other. 
Perhaps teachers can bring a reader's notebook response or entry. They can take a picture of an anchor chart they built with their students during a lesson, or share a mentor text that works really well with a particular skill.
Over time, this can grow, but it starts with making collaboration a standard “way of being”.

#6 Create a mentor text library.  
Organize books by reading strategy or skill. Label them. Host them in your coaching room. Over time, you can make sure teachers have a great collection of books, too. Read about how we put together grade level mentor text baskets for our teachers!
 
 
Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
 
Want to learn more about coaching Reader's Workshop? 
Then I've got the event for you! The Simply Coaching Summit is a virtual conference for coaches! This four day event will run from July 15 - July 18, in the comfort of your own home. 14 sessions from 14 coach-leaders will cover topics like...
    Coaching reader's workshop doesn't have to be impossible with these six ideas for getting started. Learn about how to help elementary teachers understand words like minilesson and independent reading, one easy way to gt teachers to collaborate and share, and one tip that will make scheduling a breeze. Get started right away with these easy strategies!
  • Data driven coaching
  • The coaching cycle
  • Coaching Reader's Workshop (my session!)
  • Communicating with your administration and staff
  • Reflective questioning
  • Using technology to make your life easier
  • Building relationships
  • and so much more!
And it's all available for FREE!

To register for the free pass, just click here: Free Pass

And to register for the All-Access Pass with six months' access, click here! All Access Pass
 
See you there!
 
 
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