Saturday, September 25, 2021

Model Classrooms: Why You Need One and What to Do When You Get One, Ep. 78 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Wondering what a model classroom is and why an instructional coach needs one? On episode 78 of The Coaching Podcast, I explain what it is and how to choose one on your campus. I share tips for picking the right teacher and questions to ask to set goals for your coaching work. Listen for model classroom ideas that will help you leverage your impact across the entire school.

What is a model classroom and why do you need one?

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I answer these and other questions about using a model classroom to help teachers improve their practice.

What is a model classroom?

A model classroom is where an instructional coach provides support and leverages it to grow the teachers on the campus. It’s a place where you will spend a lot of your time. Teachers will visit and observe practices in this room.

The model classroom is not a perfect classroom. It has a strong teacher who can serve as a model, but that doesn't mean they are the best at everything.

Creating a model classroom won't do coaching work for you, but it will serve many teachers if you’re strategic. When they visit, they’ll notice things there that pique their curiosity and prompt them to learn more.

How to choose a model classroom?

Instructional coaches need to be thoughtful about how they choose a model classroom. First, you’ll need to decide how many model classrooms to have for your staff. You probably want a classroom for each band of grades or in each content area you serve.

During the episode, I explain my thought process for how to choose the right teacher. A good place to start is getting to know each teacher in their classroom.

Choose teachers with solid management in place. Someone who has influence in the grade level and wants to try something new.

You can use the strategy in Episode 39 called “Classroom Sweep” to get to know teachers fast. The free Coaching in the Classroom download below has all the forms you’ll need to make your observations.

What to do once you choose a classroom?

Now that you have a model classroom or two, what should you do with them? Basically, you do your coaching work in there.

Focus your objectives on something that teachers are interested in and tied to your school goals or initiatives. You're choosing a focus for your work with that model classroom, and you're keeping in mind how it's going to support other classrooms in the school.

Using model classrooms to leverage your impact on campus

You’ve been working with your model classroom and you see good things beginning to happen in there. So how do you use this to support other teachers on your campus?

There are a few different things that you can do that will help you maximize your effectiveness in other classrooms. During the episode, I go into details about what to do and how to do it.

Here are a few suggestions to leverage your work in that model classroom across the school.

  • Have teachers sit in on planning sessions with you, your co-teacher, and the cooperating teacher.
  • Teachers can observe the coaching model or lessons that are co-taught in this model classroom.
  • Use this classroom as a model of what coaching work is like. It will show teachers that coaching is not for weak teachers or punishment, but it’s for anyone who wants to improve their craft.
  • Record videos of you modeling and co-teaching. This library can provide support for teachers when time is tight.

When teachers see coaching in action and see the results, they are more likely to invite you into their room. You can use this to leverage your way into other classrooms and get those other teachers enrolled in coaching cycles.

After you have gone through coaching work with this model classroom, you may decide it's time to move to the next one. Maybe you change model classrooms once a semester or every six weeks. It depends on your school climate and what you're working on.

The model classroom can be used for deep coaching work and to show teaching in action. If you want to find out more, be sure to tune in to the entire episode. I share my best tips and ideas for creating a model classroom.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources

The Confident Literacy Coach


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Coaching Bilingual and Dual-Language Classrooms with Dyana Vera, Ep. 77 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Ready to learn more about coaching bilingual classrooms? On episode 77 of The Coaching Podcast, I'm joined by Dyana Vera of Biliteracy Now. We explore the goals of bilingual education and some common misconceptions about the dual-language classroom. Join us as we discuss how instructional coaches can help dual-language teachers even if they don't speak both languages. You'll get tips and ideas for supporting bilingual teachers in the classroom.

What are best practices for coaching bilingual and dual-language classrooms?

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by Dyana Vera of Biliteracy Now. We talk about the different bilingual models, the goals of bilingual programs, and what you need to know to be an effective dual-language coach.

Bilingual and Dual-Language Classroom Models

There are different models used in bilingual and dual-language classrooms. Some models are better than others, but none are perfect for every student. Also, as new information becomes available best practices evolve and change.

Goals of Bilingual or Dual-Language Programs

During my discussion with Dyana, I asked her about what she thinks makes a high-quality bilingual program. She shares three goals for any program.

  1. The program is bilingual and bicultural
  2. The students' first language is preserved and valued
  3. Students are academically successful

A Common Misconception

The biggest misconception about bilingual education is that teaching two languages at the same time will confuse students. Families often wonder whether children should learn both at the same time.

Dyana explains that there have been many studies that show that children are capable of transferring skills from one language to another easily. Bilingual education actually gives students more opportunities both in school and later in life.

One thing that’s important for educators to do is to evaluate our language ideologies and how they influence our beliefs about teaching children. She also tells us why it’s important for schools to measure individual student growth rather than comparing them to other students.

Best Practices in Bilingual and Dual-Language Classroom

Some practices help to contribute to success in bilingual and dual-language classrooms. Here’s a list of a few best practices. 

  • Use visual aids (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)
  • Model what you are teaching
  • Provide students an opportunity to socialize without making them feel like they are being graded

Challenges for Instructional Coaches and Teachers

During the episode, we examine some of the difficulties faced by teachers and coaches of bilingual and dual-language classrooms. We also discuss ideas for overcoming them. Below are a few of the challenges we talk about in the episode. 

  • Finding high-quality literature and other materials
  • Administering and grading additional tests/assessments
  • Lack of time and no extra compensation for completing additional paperwork
  • Teachers being asked to translate materials or create resources because none exist
If you want to learn more about how to overcome these obstacles, be sure to listen to the entire episode.

How Can a Coach Who is Not Bilingual Support Bilingual and Dual-Language Teachers?

What do you do when you’re not bilingual but need to coach a dual-language classroom? Dyana and I discuss several things you can do, even if you can’t speak both languages. Here are some ideas for supporting teachers and students.

  • Observe and give feedback
  • Model for the teacher
  • Advocate for the staff
  • Ask what they need
  • Create trust with teachers and keep things confidential

Coaching Bilingual and Dual-Language Classrooms

As an instructional coach, there are things you can do to support your bilingual and dual-language teachers even if you don’t speak both languages.

Advocating is one of the primary roles of any coach. When supporting bilingual classrooms, you should ask that resources be bought in both languages.

Another way to help is to encourage schools to provide adequate PD. Professional learning should target the specific classrooms and how to support learners in these programs.

Bilingual education is something that we all should be aware of and learn about. However, it takes time to develop our understanding of it.

I'm grateful that Dyana came on today to begin this dialogue. Hopefully, it will get you started thinking about what bilingual and dual-language education could look like or should look like on your campus. If you want to hear all the details, make sure to listen to the entire podcast.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources

The Confident Literacy Coach


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Changing Roles as an Instructional Coach with Megan Williams Martin, Ep. 76 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Changing roles as an instructional coach can be daunting, especially if you're working in grades or subjects you haven’t taught before. On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by Megan Williams Martin. She shares how she transitioned from being a reading specialist to a secondary instructional coach. Listen to learn how to be prepared for your new role and what to do at the beginning of the year to build trust with teachers.

Many coaches shift from one grade level to another or from one content area to another this time of year. They may start at a new school or district and that can be a difficult change to make.

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, my guest is Megan Williams Martin. She’s an instructional coach that recently moved from elementary school to middle school.

We talk about what the change was like for her and some things she did to connect with the teaching team. She shares how she built relationships and applied what she already knew to her new campus.

Megan and I discuss ideas for bridging your knowledge from one grade level range or content area to another. We also talk about the similarities and differences between primary and secondary school.

This episode is especially helpful if you've shifted roles. Even if you haven't, I think you're going to walk away with some valuable tips for the work that you're doing on your campus.

Changing Roles as an Instructional Coach

Megan admits that she was nervous when she decided to switch schools and grade levels. It was a big transition.

On the episode, Megan shares what she did to make the move a little bit easier. She mentions multiple times that she arrived at the school as a willing learner and open to suggestions. She also made it clear that she was passionate about educating teachers and kids.

In the beginning, she listened and learned about the team and the school. She did lots of research too. When the time was right, she offered suggestions that showed her value. She also made herself available to the staff as a sounding board.

Megan was honest with the team that she didn’t know everything. She explains in the episode that it’s OK not to know everything. The important thing is that you know how to do research and know who to ask to find the answers.

Another thing she did was find her people quickly. In the episode, she talks about how coaching is a difficult job to do alone and how to find support to make the job more joyful.

From Primary to Secondary School

We chat about how Megan’s work as a teacher and reading specialist in elementary school prepared her to become a middle school instructional coach.

She was keenly aware that going from primary to secondary school would pose a challenge in terms of credibility and tried her best to be prepared for it. The middle school teachers would be the experts in the content, but she was confident that she had a toolbox of strategies to share.

Instructional coaches often feel like they are the experts and need to know everything. But nobody knows it all.

Megan was honest with the staff that she did not have experience with middle school students. She explained to the teachers that what she did have was some great practices to help support teachers and meet the students' needs.

She was intentional about how and when she offered new ideas. She didn’t dump out all her strategies at once, but rather let it occur naturally.

Megan is a lifelong learner and soaks up everything. She said it was this openness to learning and her ability to find answers that led to success on her new campus.

To build relationships with teachers, she made sure to show her personality and got to know the teachers. She let them know that she was not there to change everything and that built trust.

One of the things she said helped the most was going into classrooms and offering support from the start of the year. She started with those teachers that were willing. In time other teachers recognized that she wanted to help and had good ideas.

Thinking about Changing Roles as an Instructional Coach?

Her final piece of advice is to try new grades and subjects. She never thought she would leave elementary. Now she says that secondary school is home for her.

I agree that coaches should be willing to try new things. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot about what you like, what you don't like, and the way things work in different places. At best, maybe you’ll love it.

If you want to hear all about Megan’s transition from elementary to middle school, be sure to check out the entire episode. She shares practical tips that can help you get ready for any new coaching role.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources


Coffee and Coaching Membership


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Coaching Call: Coaching New Teachers with Nikki Drury, Ep. 75 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Coaching new teachers is challenging! Many teachers get overwhelmed by all the information they need to learn when starting at a school. On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by literacy instructional coach Nikki Drury to talk through how to best help teachers navigate a new campus. Listen to this coaching call to get tips and strategies for helping new teachers.

Why is coaching new teachers so hard?

On this coaching call, I’m joined by Nikki Drury. She's a literacy instructional coach in a Texas grade 3-5 school.

Nikki has many coaching responsibilities but spends much of her time developing new teachers. Some teachers she coaches have limited classroom experience, while others have several years at different campuses.

Nikki and I talk about some of the challenges she faces coaching new teachers. We discuss how to find the balance between showing and doing for teachers.

Tips for Coaching New Teachers

Nikki’s school has many campus-aligned literacy strategies and programs in place. It can be overwhelming for new teachers to learn so many things all at once.

While discussing this on the call, one tip I suggest is making a video for each strategy. The videos can feature her or any other willing teachers modeling the lessons in action.

This will create a video library that teachers can watch on-demand. Teachers can get extra support when they want, but it won’t add to their already heavy workload.

Developing Teachers' Thinking

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, Nikki and I discuss how to develop the thinking skills of teachers. This is critical for lasting change and improving teachers’ practice.

When I model a mini-lesson or any other type of lesson, I want teachers to see the thought process that goes into it.

During the planning, I explain how I'm pulling from the standards and figuring out what to focus on. Once the lesson plan is complete, I model it in the classroom. Then I debrief with the teachers and ask questions that guide them to think about what they saw in the lesson.

This technique is super impactful for teachers. It can be a valuable way to spend time with new teachers.

If you give it a try, let me know how it goes in the comments below or tag me on Instagram.

More Ideas for Coaching New Teachers

The ideas above are a small sample of what we discuss on the coaching call. This episode has many tips and topics, including tiering support, classroom management during guided reading, and encouraging teacher visitations. If you’re a literacy coach, you’ll find lots of valuable tips to help you coach with confidence.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more
Helpful resources



https://buzzingwithmsb.mykajabi.com/confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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