How will you lead today?


“Schedule or be scheduled” may be the rallying cry for any teacher who becomes a literacy coach. Often the job and its responsibilities are ill-defined, and the danger is that you will find yourself with many responsibilities dumped into your position if you don’t define the job yourself. The definition for many literacy coaches begins with a schedule and knowing how to prioritize tasks. Here is where we share examples of how different literacy coaches and leaders have divvied up the minutes, hours, days, and months of their time in ways that lead to balance and success.

A Yearlong Coaching Calendar

Dana Murphy too often finds herself feeling like she's begging to go into classrooms. The solution? Create a yearlong schedule and put the onus on teachers to sign up for a coaching cycle.

When Teachers Design the Professional Development Calendar

Melanie Meehan finds that a simple process early in the year that gives teachers more control over the professional development plan builds excitement for new learning.

Reigniting Your Coaching Schedule in December

Brian Sepe ponders the best uses of his coaching time when he is between cycles. He shares three options for building relationships with teachers.

"Got a Minute?": Rethinking My Schedule and Priorities

Matt Renwick rethinks his strategy of responding instantly to requests for his time, considering his priorities as a literacy leader.

Getting Out of the Tater Tot Office: The Importance of Visibility

Gretchen Taylor ponders what literacy coaches can do to make their presence and the possibility of collaboration better known to teachers, focusing on her work in public spaces and on her coaching calender.

I Have Time

Ruth Ayres explains why these are the three most important words for literacy coaches to say throughout the day.

Planning for a Year of Study Groups

Jennifer Allen plans for next year's study groups and other ongoing professional development offerings each spring, to give teachers lots of time to choose which groups might meet their needs.

Coaching in the Moment

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain why unstructured coaching support time may be some of the most valuable to include in your schedule.

Planning Classroom Visits: Organizing Purposefully

Principal Karen Szymusiak has tips for getting the most out of classroom visits, including setting up master schedules that follow similar formats.

Coaching Owls, Larks, and Hummingbirds

Heather Rader finds that understanding whether teachers work best in the morning or afternoon can be crucial in timing professional development.

Coaching Minute: Set Your Alarm (VIDEO)

Heather Rader has a tip for ensuring you stay on schedule and "in the moment" during your meetings in this brief video tip.

Coaching Minute: Punctuality (VIDEO)

Heather Rader explains why starting meetings on time is crucial for the learning climate in this quick video tip.

Coaching Minute: Birthday Tip (VIDEO)

Heather Rader has a quick video tip for organizing low-stress birthday celebrations for colleagues.

Coaching Minute: Ending the Day (VIDEO)

Heather Rader shares a quick video tip about the importance of closing rituals at the end of the coaching day.

The Dangers of Overplanning

Jennifer Allen discovers there are limits to planning, and too much of it can hinder growth in professional development settings.

Creating a Master Schedule

Karen Szymusiak explains why large blocks of time for literacy instruction are crucial, and how she worked as a principal to develop a master schedule for the school that included them.

Alignment and Community: Planning a Year of Professional Development Opportunities

Jennifer Allen plans a year of study group offerings designed to help everyone align their classrooms to the Common Core, and build community at the same time. The article includes a sample calendar for the month of October.

Curriculum Work: Making Meaning Together

Jennifer Allen ponders what professional development structures support authentic changes in curriculum tied to the Common Core.

Book Hooks

Jennifer Schwanke uses the charming "book hook" activity to recommit to keeping reading and classroom visits at the heart of her work as a principal.

Collaborating with My Principal on Student-Centered Coaching

Heather Sisson is inspired to try something new with her staff, but first she needs to think through the proposal with her principal.

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