It’s not just me…

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I guess I haven’t been the only one pondering teacher mindset.  Ian at Byrdseed has written a great post comparing the work we do with students to improve their mindset and how our own mindset impacts how that may look in our classrooms.  So often, we put others first.  A wise soul once said to me, “It’s easy to look out the window.  It’s much more difficult to look in the mirror.”  I challenge you to read the post by Ian at the Byrdseed blog and reflect on your own inner monologue.  For myself, I would rather live in abundance than always seeing my deficits.  I would love to hear your thoughts…

Check out Ian’s blog at:


Why the change in model?

Over the past years, our job has changed greatly.  When coaches were first introduced into the HSD, they were literacy coaches with the role of supporting the implementation of a new writing curriculum.  As years past, and initiatives shifted, the role of the coach shifted as well.  A few years ago, coaches were “re-branded” as Instructional Coaches and split into buildings, rather than grade levels.  Although this change was difficult, it allowed the coach to be in a building more regularly and build relationships with the teachers in that building.  Unfortunately, with implementation of the CCSS and recent district initatives, not a lot of time has been spent on understanding and shifting the role of the coach.

This is our year!  After spending a year studying a model, we’re ready to get our hands dirty and our feet wet digging in with teachers.  The Student Centered Coaching Model is about:

  • Making coaching more about student learning
  • Knowing where our students are as learners
  • Knowing where they need to be
  • Partnering with teachers to close the gap between where the students are and where they need to be

Student-Centered Coaching is not about…

  • Fixing teachers
  • Targeting failing teachers
  • Separating instruction from student learning
  • Hoping and praying that coaching makes an impact on student learning

We, like you, want to be more intentional about our practice and put our focus on improving student achievement and student success.  In the next couple of weeks, we’ll dig in deeper to the elements of a coaching cycle, what is the benefit to the teacher and students and how we’ll get started.  In the mean time, what questions do you have about the new model?

Tools for Teaching

The “Great Ideas” or “innovation” part of my brain sometimes feels like it is running on empty.  As a teacher I appreciate people who share their great ideas, then keep them in one handy place so they can be accessed when I get back to them.  One of my colleagues recently shared The Teacher Toolkit site with me as we were planning a way to reflect on new learning with the teachers we support.

I loved the organizer that we used as it validated the thinking in our current practice and allowed ideas to circle around to create new thinking.

In digging into the site a little deeper, it is a treasure of information and resources, with videos explaining how to use each resource and a PDF of the organizer.  The organizers are for a large range of grade levels and are sorted by purpose.  The tools are sorted into categories: Classroom Management, Opening Activities, Checks for Understanding, Partner Practice, Group Practice, Independent Practice, Reading Strategies, Games, Closing Activities.  It would be so simple to choose a tool every week or month to integrate into your practice.  The tools also allow for an active learning component, clarifying your thinking, supporting your thoughts with evidence, etc.  that align with practices that we know are important for students to engage in.

I am so happy that I found this resource and am excited to think about its impact in our classrooms!

What do I do all day?

Good Question!  Honestly, I have asked that question as a classroom teacher.  Having only been doing the job for a few weeks, I honestly cannot tell you everything that I will do, but here is a list of things I have done in the last week.

  1. Planned new teacher inservice
  2. Taught new teacher inservice
  3. Met with teachers individually
  4. Met with teams of teachers
  5. Collected resources for teachers
  6. Helped teachers set up their classrooms
  7. Met with a district curriculum leadership team
  8. Planned back to school inservice
  9. Facilitated back to school inservice
  10. Debriefed back to school inservice and processed teacher feedback
  11. Unpacked my boxes
  12. Ordered some professional books
  13. Read some professional articles, blogs and books
  14. Setup an electronic calendar and began scheduling appointments and meetings for the year
  15. Tried desperately to setup my voicemail.  Argh!

I think that this is just touching the surface of the possibilities that are available to teachers.  Here is a list of typical things that an Instructional Coach might do from Kristin Houser an Instructional Coach in Aurora, Colorado:

  • Collaborating with teams to develop long term and short term instructional plans and quality assessments
  • Observing teachers and providing feedback based on our school work plan and individual teacher goals
  • Modeling lessons
  • Digging for or reading through resources current with best practice research
  • Facilitating groups visiting from other schools
  • Planning and facilitating professional development meetings
  • Or even designing and decorating the school hallways

What support would you like from your Instructional Coach?