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Time to Plan

When the school doors close for the summer, literacy coaches and school leaders face the landscape of a blank calendar for the new school year. Ruth Ayres thinks through how to prioritze time in a way that supports your beliefs and values.

The Instagram Project

Stephanie Affinito uses a popular app to stay on top of children's literature and deliver timely recommendations to teachers and children.

Old Technology for New Engagement

Matt Renwick repurposes nearly obsolete technologies like typewriters and Polaroid cameras for surprising new learning in classrooms.

Fail to Learn

What's the grade level you would least like to teach? Matt Renwick explains why you need to confront your fears and do a demonstration lesson with those students. In Matt's case, the lesson involved entering the wonderful world of kindergarten.

Resisting Traditional Definitions of Productivity

Matt Renwick explores the differences between commonly accepted measures of productivity and the work that has the most value for literacy leaders.

Student Centered and Teacher Driven: Coaching and Instructional Assessment

David Pittman tackles the "third rail" of literacy coaching: assessing instructional quality.

That Student: Ending the Year with a PD Celebration

Melanie Quinn shares a simple professional development activity that helps teachers focus on growth through the year, based on their experiences with one child.

Peer Observations with a Purpose

Dana Murphy works with teachers to design a peer observation checklist to ensure everyone shares the same expectations and understanding.

Classroom Observation Etiquette

Cathy Mere remembers the many visitors to her classroom: most were inspiring, but a few made her want to shut the door on future observers. She shares how clear expectations for etiquette can build confidence and ease the concerns of the demonstration teacher.

Observing Colleagues: Leading Successful Classroom Visits

Cathy Mere finds that what comes before and after classroom observations may be more important than the actual visit. She details the coach's role in maximizing reflection and benefits from group observations.

Dropping In Versus Scheduling

Ruth Ayres explains why setting a coaching schedule is crucial for success, even if the work is mundane and challenging at the same time.

How Principals Can Help Build Teacher and Coach Connections

Principal Lee Snider explains why it is important for coaches to schedule in-class time with every teacher, and how principals can help in supporting this work.

A Change in the Weather: Moving from Teacher to Coach

Ruth Ayres finds that coaches can't help but feel a little ambivalent about losing their teaching role, but it's important to embrace the changes in responsibilities if you want to coach well.

Coaching in Proximity: The Sherpa Mind-Set

David Pittman finds that a sherpa analogy helps him adjust his role as a coach—moving closer to teachers without taking over instruction.

Helping Teachers Weed Libraries

It is difficult for teachers to discard or recycle books they spent years acquiring, yet this is essential end-of-year work in many classrooms. Stephanie Affinito explains how a literacy coach can turn this challenge into an opportunity to build community and professional development plans.

The Coconut Wireless

Suzy Kaback finds that a novel take on community communication changes her outlook on how to reach teachers through informal networks.

Talking in Front of Peers

Jennifer Schwanke realizes it is never easy to talk in front of adults. She explains how she helps teachers accept the challenge of speaking to colleagues in professional development settings.

Next-Thing Thinking and Google Keep

Stephanie Affinito has learned to focus closely on one task at a time and use technology to keep track of all the other things on the horizon.

Helping Teachers Develop Their Own Chartbooks

Melanie Meehan personalizes learning for teachers by helping them develop chartbooks to use in workshops.

Going Google as a Literacy Leader

Matt Renwick combines principles for productivity with Google tools to organize his work.

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