June 2021 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

2021-06 June Must Reads header

Summer is officially here, and we all deserve a little R&R. ๐Ÿ–๏ธ Unwind with the top articles from June's Weekly Coaching Roundups to learn a four-step process that ICs can follow to guide their own learning, how to create a cheat sheet of in-the-moment coaching and teaching tactics, a few out-of-the-ordinary PD designs to move beyond sit-and-get workshops, and more. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

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Create a Personalized PD Plan with This Four-Step Guide

Stephanie Affinito believes that coaches can guide their own learning through her four-step processes built on self-reflection.

"As coaches, we're often left to our own devices when it comes to our professional learning, which means that it can get swept behind the myriad of other roles and responsibilities we prioritize. However, to lead well, we have to remain lifelong learners ourselves, by growing, stretching, and changing as professionals. . . . Here's the thing: there's no one right way to choose a goal for yourself. Only you know what your coaching needs and what your heart wants."

Student-Focused Recommendations

Vicki Collet offers some advice for modifying the language of your recommendations during coaching conversations to enhance the outcome.

"Shifting the language and the focus of the recommendation can make it easier for a teacher to gracefully receive suggestions. To soften the language of a recommendations, avoid using the word you. Although you feels great in a celebratory statement, it can be rather finger-pointing as part of a recommendation. An easy way to avoid you when suggesting a change in practice is to put the focus on students."

Increasing Teacher Inputs

Steve Barkley covers five autonomy-supportive behaviors that ICs should keep in mind when trying to motivate teachers.

"Autonomy-supportive means that an instructor or coach takes the student's or athlete's perspective, acknowledges their feelings, and provides information and opportunities for choice while minimizing the use of pressures or demands. As teachers and teachers' coaches, we are autonomy-supportive when we encourage choice, independent problem-solving, and participation in decision-making."

Use Play Cards to Elevate Coaching and Teaching

Have you ever been compared to an athletic coach? Ashley Taplin feels there are some similarities between athletic coaches and ICs, and has even taken a play from their "playbook" by creating a cheat sheet of in-the-moment coaching and teaching tactics. ๐Ÿ€

"For my first instructional strategies play card, I chose six categories that I believe encompass a well-rounded lesson structure: grouping, lesson openers, student voice, movement, check for understanding, and lesson closures. . . . The tool was small, simple in design but held so much information, and I soon realized it could be personalized in many ways!"

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PD in a (Fill in the Blank)

Stephanie Affinito is back to explore four out-of-the-ordinary PD designs to move beyond tiresome, sit-and-get workshops.

"PD in a (fill in the blank) flips the script on professional development. Instead of sitting and getting, teachers move, grab and laugh, all while learning something new and introducing them to new ideas. Just fill in the blank with a fun method of learning, package it for busy teachers and then connect to later professional learning initiatives and classroom coaching."

Virtual & In-Person Coaching Tips for First Years

Being a first year IC can be daunting, especially when starting your journey remotely. Sarah Bahn reflects on how she built relationships with teachers from a distance and how they laid the groundwork for supporting them face-to-face.

"Micro-coaching cycles have the same key components as full-on coaching cycles. The only difference is that they have a clearer focus. Instead of taking four to six weeks, micro-cycles are completed in one or two. . . . In a longer cycle you might observe-debrief-and intervene multiple times. You might need to discuss more than one strategy, co-plan, and co-teach several classes together. In a micro-cycle, because the goal is more focused, you may only need to address each phase once."

Instructional Coaching Practices to Carry Forward

Courtney Groskin and Violet Christensen highlight a few of their favorite remote coaching tactics they plan to use when returning to in-person learning.

"The biggest tool that has nothing to do with technology, blended learning, or other programs is the good-old power of a team. . . . No matter the model, these teams came together to answer the question, 'What do students need from us right now?' We found more answers as a team than we ever could have individually."

How One Iowa District Put SEL on Center Stage

Tina Halverson highlights a few of her district's practiced techniques for connecting and meeting the needs of all of their students while keeping their emotions front and center.

"Just like any relationship in life, the partnership between instructional coach and classroom teacher takes work. Deliberate and considerate attention to relationship building strengthens rapport between coaches and teachers, ultimately leading to a greater impact on student learning and achievement."

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Topics: Personalized Professional Development, Must Reads, Student-Centered Coaching, Personalized Learning, Goal Setting, First Year Coaching Tips, Coaching PD, Self-reflection, Social-Emotional, In-the-Moment Coaching, Student-Focused, Frameworks, Sensory Rooms, Play Cards

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