July 2020 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

2020-07 July Must Reads header (Catamaran)

Kick back and relax with the top articles from July's Weekly Coaching Roundups! Learn how you can create an online environment that's both fun and engaging with students, some ways ICs can support new curriculum rollouts, some gotchas for coaches when building relationships with adult learners, why PD boxes are great for on-the-go professional learning, and more. Enjoy!

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Getting Started with Bitjomi Classrooms

Looking for an engaging, personalized, and functional way to interact with your students? Stephanie Harris showcases how she uses Bitmoji classrooms to engage students in online learning environments—and shares how to create your own.

"Off-the-shelf learning management systems lack the flavor, creativity, and quirkiness that make so many of our classrooms exciting and welcoming spaces for learning. By contrast, a Bitmoji classroom helps educators bring the warmth and creativity of a classroom space into the virtual world in a way that is functional and fun for students."

How Coaches Can Support New Curriculum Rollouts

Amy Rudd talks about everything that goes into implementing a new curriculum within an organization and the central role ICs play at every stage along the way.

"Anytime there's a new curriculum rollout, a systematic approach to implementation is the key to success. A multi-year plan, paired with coaching, will lead to a more fruitful learning experience for teachers, tutors, students, and parents—especially when coaches lead the planning work. . . . Rolling out a new curriculum is always a challenging task, and as instructional coaches we are best placed to extend our support to all parties in the district."

Coaching through Email Signatures

Stephanie Affinito offers 7 ways you can use your email signature as a coaching tool and to spark learning.

"I am a firm believer that coaching happens in multiple contexts, in multiple ways and takes many forms. . . . In most typical email signatures, you'll find a name, email address, pertinent contact information and a website when readers can learn more. I've been paying careful attention to these signatures lately and have realized they can be an important coaching tool. I mean, we all read and answer email and see the signature on a daily basis. What if we used it to our advantage and updated it often to introduce teachers to new ideas and resources?"

Understanding Adults

Matthew Kelly shares six complexities of support that ICs must honor when building professional relationships with peers—all from Michelle Harris's recent webinar.

"In education, resistance often looks like compliance. Educators may agree to do something, but then revert to doing what they were doing before. This is because we all need autonomy. . . . People aren't motivated by other people's goals. Sometimes, we are motivated by other people's successes, but we need to have thought and autonomy around our own masterable goals."

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PD Boxes: Personalized Learning To-Go

Angela Mckee shares how to use PD boxes to provide personalized professional learning alongside coaching cycle support, and the steps for getting started with your own. 📦

"When my school allowed teachers to choose which PD sessions to attend, we saw greater engagement than when the sessions were mandatory. . . . A teacher begins the professional development process by choosing a topic that's of interest to them. Alternatively, a member of our administration might have recommended a topic for them. I send them a physical PD box to get started, and in our initial coaching session, the teacher develops a goal for the learning cycle."

Developing a Theory of Action

Elena Aguliar explains what a "theory of action" is, its benefits for organizations, and some steps for creating one.

"A theory of action helps us be intentional. In the process of creation, we're pushed to articulate why we're taking a set of actions and to name the results and impact we expect. When a group collaborates on creating a theory of action, this pushes them to play out a strategy. . . . A theory of action can help members of a team align their actions to a larger plan."

10 Social and Emotional Learning Strategies

Francie Alexander and Dr. Amy Endo overview the "Connected Learning Model" and three researched-based principles for addressing the well-being of everyone within an organization.

"The pandemic has caused stress, grief, and anxiety about the future for many students and their families. The lack of social interaction and feelings of isolation have increased mental health issues. . . . Schools can begin with intentionally cultivating a caring and equitable learning environment and implementing evidence-based SEL practices that actively involve all students in their social, emotional, and academic growth."

Routines and Relationships for Managing Uncertainty

Paige Bergin is embracing uncertainty for the 2020-21 school year by challenging others (and herself!) to read and reflect this summer.

"During such unprecedented times, our minds are likely racing about what procedures will look like when school resumes this fall. We begin to wonder what entering the classroom will look like, or what eating lunch will encompass and more. . . . The idea of a soft start, community meetings, transitions, thinking together around texts, and shopping for books are reminiscent of what laying out the structure and procedures looks like in the first days of a school year."

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Topics: Personalized Professional Development, Must Reads, Building Relationships, Adult Learning, Making Coaching Fun, Curriculum, PD Boxes

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