Saturday, August 3, 2019

Preparing to Model and Coteach in Classrooms: the instructional coaching series

Modeling and coteaching in classrooms are some of the most effective ways to facilitate change on
your campus. But they can be scary, too.
The first time I modeled in a classroom, it was in a room that stressed me out, big time.

There wasn't a classroom management system or approach in place. When the kids misbehaved, they were yelled at.

The layout of the room was confusing to me and I couldn't figure out how to get from one part of the room to another to work with students without moving furniture around.

I couldn't find chart paper or markers, and the projector was facing the wrong way.

The teacher had chosen materials that were far above grade level and didn't provide me with the copy that I requested until I walked in the door.

And worst of all: the teacher stressed me out, too. We didn't speak the same language (figuratively) and we weren't on the same page at all.

Overall, it wasn't a great experience for anyone.

I remember thinking, "How am I supposed to model in classrooms when it feels like I'm on a different planet?"

It took some time, but I figured out how to change my approach so that it became more effective for me and purposeful for the teacher.  Modeling and coteaching still stress me out a little bit, but it's light years away from that first horrible day!

Tips for preparing to model and coteach:

1. Plan the lesson with the teacher.
Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support. I can't say this enough times! I have shared a pretty thorough post about how to plan
collaboratively with teachers, as well as how to conduct a coaching cycle that begins with planning together and assigning roles. I really recommend that you check them out to be prepared for modeling and coteaching!

In short, planning beforehand would've improved my first modeling experience 800x. I would've been familiar with the materials, and I would've helped the teacher choose grade-appropriate texts. We would've worked through the standard and learning target to ensure that each of us knew what was going to happen that day.

This also ensures that you are focusing on the goal the teacher would like to see in action, and that the instructional strategies are in alignment with the teacher's classroom.

2. Plan for a classroom management system.
This one is a biggie. In some coaching books, I've read that you focus on the learning and only integrate classroom management when the teacher wants you to. But I can't figure out how to teach any sort of a lesson unless there is some sort of classroom management system in place. Without a system, I spend the entire time putting out fires and students aren't learning (which is the goal).

When I plan with teachers before visiting their classrooms for modeling or coteaching, I make sure that our planning session involves a plan for classroom management. If the teacher has a system in place, we talk about whether it will be my responsibility to use it or his/her responsibility.

Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support.

Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support. If there isn't a management system in place and the class will not learn without some structure, I introduce three basic expectations to students and we use gestures to chant them.

We discuss what each one means and looks like. Then I use a chart to record "team points". These are points the teams earn when I see them working towards or demonstrating one of the three basic expectations.

There are no prizes for points; they're just fun and show that I acknowledge the work they're doing.

Over time, we can take the points away and just have students set goals and discuss their progress, but points are a visible way to start working on behavior.

You can read more about this simple system here.


Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support. 3. Assign responsibilities for each person. 

Whether you are modeling or coteaching a lesson, you want it to be clear who is doing what at each point in the lesson.

If you're modeling and the teacher is observing, provide them with an observation guide that will help them focus on specific elements of the lesson.

If you're coteaching with the teacher, document who does each step of the lesson to ensure that you are both contributing.
 
You can get seven different observation guides (editable) and two different collaborative planning guides in my Coaching in Classrooms resource!


4. Bring your materials with you.

It's just easier this way. I recommend having a little bin or bucket where you bring along everything you'll need. In some cases, I've even used a cart to hold the materials I planned on using.

This includes markers, post-its, a pointer, highlighter tape, laptop, or anything else you will need. It's better to be prepared than to spend ten minutes hunting around a classroom for the materials for the lesson. For small groups, I actually bring pencils, markers, and highlighters for the students, too. I'd rather bring what I need than waste time with them running back to their seats to find something.

Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support.

If the teacher is very organized, you can also ask them for exactly what you'll need. Larger items or student supplies can be provided by the teacher, such as a projector, power strip, chart tablet, easel, and student notebooks, scissors, glue, highlighters, colored pencils and/or crayons.

5. Schedule the debriefing conversation before you do the lesson.
It's best to schedule the debriefing conversation before you actually teach the lesson. This will help you make sure that it's timely, shortly following the lesson. You may have students work independently while you debrief quietly with the teacher, or you may schedule a time later that day or week to have a focused conversation. Prepare for this in advance. You can get debriefing sentence starters in my Coaching in Classrooms Free Download right below this post!

Want to read more about conducting a coaching cycle that includes modeling and coteaching? Check out my post: Conducting a Coaching Cycle. Next week, I'll share all about the elephant in the room: working with teachers...who don't want you around!

Other posts in the Summer Coaching Series: 
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.




 
 
Coaching teachers doesn't have to feel like deep sea diving with no oxygen tank. Get my free download, Coaching in Classrooms:  A Free Download to help you get started.

  • 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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