April 2021 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

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2021-04 April Must Reads header

April brought beautiful spring weather and a fresh batch of articles from our Weekly Coaching Roundups that we handpicked just for you! ๐Ÿ’ Read on to learn two reflection questions that have impacted one IC, the advantage of using achievement teams to move the needle forward for disciplined collaboration, a few tips for giving quality feedback on lesson plans, a six-step approach for sorting through data, and more. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜

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Small Coaching Questions

Ashley Taplin shares two reflection questions that have recently impacted her and why she intends to use them with her peers from now on.

"Every week, I join an instructional coaching Twitter chat (#educoach) and the chat always starts with introduce yourself and share one success you've had this week. Expecting this prompt each week causes me to reflect on the good that I experienced and then, reading other responses allows me to celebrate and learn from others. Realizing the impact of this simple question, I took it to the campuses I support."

Achievement Teams: Functional Teacher Collaboration is Solved!

Steve Ventura speaks to the advantage of using achievement teams to move the needle for disciplined collaboration among teachers and leaders.

"Achievement Teams are the key part of a collaborative model for implementing data-driven decision-making at the instructional level. . . . When schools and school systems de-emphasize individual practice and promote collective ability, it's possible to create professional teams of educators who continuously reflect on and improve their practice."

Paving a Better Way for Lesson Plan Feedback

You've heard of classroom walkthroughs, but what about lesson plan walkthroughs? Rachel Wyatt shares her tips for giving quality feedback on lesson plans by connecting them to classroom walkthroughs.

"When I first review a lesson plan, it's tempting to mark it up and comment on everything I find, which is neither practical nor efficient. I've found that giving one glow and one grow is best, always focusing on what will have the highest impact on student learning."

Thin-Slicing Data

Stephanie Affinito offers a six-step approach for sorting through data so you can make quick and informed decisions.

"Thin slicing helps to analyze student data in relation to the standards or through the lens of specific skills, strategies or techniques. . . . I prefer data that immediately impacts instruction : the kind that provides tangible information about students' strengths and needs that can impact my teaching tomorrow. That is why I like the thin-slicing technique: it helps us sort through the data in meaningful ways to actually impact practice."

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Differentiated PD

Jessica Cabeen offers four methods for creating relevant, meaningful, and fun professional learning sessions.

" Asking our teachers what they really needed to be successful during the year and then tailoring the professional development to their needs changed the dynamic of our professional development dramatically: We went from throwing darts at the wall, hoping one of them would stick, to precision throws aimed right at a target."

Surveys for Better Coaching Cycles (with Examples!)

Amy Rudd surveys teachers to help identify goals and discover trends to help create more successful coaching cycles.

"After teachers and the coach begin to make connections and build common experiences together, the coach can then use surveys to foster a deeper relationship. Sending them out by email or one of the many online form tools can be even more useful too. Once a teacher completes a survey, the coach can begin to gather data to look for patterns and trends across multiple teachers or even buildings."

Falling in Love with Instructional Coaching

Heather Moschetta believes the way to make coaching irresistible is to build strong, supportive relationships.

"In order to have teachers fall in love with instructional coaching, coaches need to play Cupid for themselves and market their coaching offerings. It all starts with creating a clear understanding of the role of the instructional coach. Just like in any relationship, both partners need to get comfortable with each other while they learn what the other has to offer."

Why Reach Out for Coaching?

Steve Barkley promotes three of his go-to incentives for encouraging all teachersโ€”even veteransโ€”to work with ICs.

" Peer coaching breaks the isolation and opens the doors to celebrations that build perseverance, teamwork, and collective teacher efficacy. Today's celebrated successes provide strength during challenging times. . . . Celebrating a magical learning moment that a coach observed is worth the 'cost' of coaching."

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Photo by Arno Smit from Unsplash.

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