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Never Too Late to Get to Know You

Melanie Quinn shares two rituals for staff meetings to build camaraderie and community.

Not All Superheroes Wear Capes

Stephanie Affinito shares a professional development activity to celebrate teaching strengths and help teachers through the doldrums of this time of year.

Settling In

Dana Murphy shares one of her favorite classroom coaching tips: explaining the value of settling-in time at the start of literacy workshops.

A Book Tasting for Teachers

Stephanie Affinito shares the steps for hosting a book tasting for teachers, with everything from creating a splashy invitation to fostering a fun atmosphere included.

One Teaching Point at a Time

Melanie Meehan opens her coaching notebook to show how she helps teachers slow down and avoid trying to teach too many writing skills at once.

A Third Way

Matt Renwick is asked to intervene by a group of teachers with a support staff member who isn't meeting their expectations for working with students. And then things get complicated.

Using Digital Tools for Instructional Walks

Matt Renwick avoided using digital tools during classroom visits in order not to intimidate teachers. He shares how over time his practice changed when he saw the power of some tools for expanding and extending his communication with colleagues.

To Celebrate or Not

One parent is adamant that Black History Month should be celebrated. Another parent is adamant that observing Black History Month trivializes blacks. What's a literacy leader to do? Jen Schwanke brings up the thorny issues involved during a staff meeting.

Leadership Shifts

This is the time of year when principals and literacy coaches are weighing which teachers might take on leadership roles next year and which teachers in leadership roles might be relieved of these duties. Jennifer Schwanke shares her process for this delicate work.

More Productive Workshops

By early in the new year, literacy workshops should be humming with productivity. If you're in one that isn't, Melanie Meehan has suggestions for working with the teacher to find and solve problems together.

Building from Strengths

This professional development activity from Brenda Power is great to close out the calendar year as a celebration or launch the New Year in January with a positive take on the many skills teachers have to tackle any problem.

Preparing Teachers for Reading Over Breaks

Stephanie Affinito shares strategies for helping teachers build plans and excitement for reading over holiday and summer breaks.

Evaluation Season

Jennifer Schwanke shares the challenges of having honest conversations with teachers during evaluative sessions, acknowledging that her performance is being judged as well.

Build More Lingering into Coaching

Stephanie Affinito finds that frustration can morph into appreciation when coaches linger long enough to let teachers know how much their work is valued. She provides many practical suggestions for how to slow down during hectic coaching days.

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.

Being Selfish About Meeting Norms

Jennifer Allen questions the purpose of meeting norms, and begins from a new place in establishing them for a study group.

Better Team Meetings

Are your team meetings welcoming? Jennifer Schwanke describes how one team leader created a happy, thriving, and safe space for team gatherings.

Making Meetings Purposeful

From identifying intent to setting personal norms, Jen Schwanke shares her key principles for leading meetings that participants won't hate.


Jen Schwanke resists giving time over to a teacher for an unplanned activity before a meeting she knows will be challenging. Afterward, she realizes the value in pausing to remind everyone what matters most in our work.

Getting Emotional

It happens at least once a year for Jennifer Schwanke: she finds herself on the verge of crying in a professional setting. Here's her best advice for literacy leaders to keep the tears at bay.

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