December 2020 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

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2020-12 December Must Reads header

Happy holidays from all of us at TeachBoost! 🎄 This year has been one for the books, and it's now time to wrap it up with the top articles from December's weekly coaching roundups. Learn three twists on common coaching activities, how you can craft beautiful weekly newsletters for your teachers, a few ways to strengthen your connections in remote environments, and more. Cheers! 😀

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Am I Really Coaching?

TeachBoost's own, Dave Reid, shares three twists on common coaching activities that you can implement today beyond one-on-one coaching cycles.

" Setting goals around technology literacy and implementation will have huge impacts on a teacher's long-term growth. The more tech tools teachers have to integrate into their classroom settings (remote, hybrid, or in-person), the easier they'll be able to connect with an increasingly tech-literate student body."

Coaching to Remove Barriers

Julie Steele covers some questions that can help spark conversations with teachers on how to bring down barriers to expectations, technology, language, and culture.

"When we shift our coaching practices from being teacher-centered to student-centered, we can begin to dismantle the barriers that our school and classroom systems inadvertently exacerbate for our students. . . . With many classrooms being facilitated through online learning platforms, we can continue to coach from a distance to provide teachers with planning and instructional support. Online tools and techniques are essential if we hope to tackle the issues that virtual learning has presented."

How to Create Engaging Coaching Newsletters

Traci Piltz walks through her steps for crafting beautiful weekly newsletters for her teachers as a way to better communicate with them across buildings.

"While ideally I would visit each building on a regular basis and provide support and ideas to teachers face to face, logistically, I knew this wasn't a reality. It became clear that I needed a way to communicate quickly and easily with many teachers at once. . . . Rather than putting all of the content and text directly into the email, I worked to produce a visually engaging product that would catch the eye and allow teachers to grab bite-sized pieces of information."

3 Ways to Strengthen Connection in Remote Environments

Ashley Taplin shares how she recommends strategies, highlights best practices, and listens intentionally while working both in person and from afar.

"I believe providing space for one-on-one conversation is an important part of coaching, especially as we all try to navigate situations we've never encountered before. Whether I'm collaborating on a lesson plan or talking through the day's stress with a teacher, I feel it's important to listen first as a thought partner."

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The Digital Coaching Menu

Kenny McKee shares four reasons why he uses coaching menus to expand his impact while working across multiple buildings.

" The coaching menu can explain the scope of your role as a coach in a friendly way, and help structure conversations that focus on the content that matters most. . . . I also offer a wide range of ways that I can provide support: co-planning lessons, reviewing data for decision-making, modeling a strategy, observing and providing feedback, and more. This can help teachers think creatively about the coaching support that would be most effective for them."

Using Images in Coaching

Stephanie Affinito believes that teachers benefit from the "See Think Wonder" protocol and explores how she uses videos, images, and targeted questions to enable it.

"One of my favorite activities is to project an image representing some aspect of teaching for teachers to analyze. This might be a picture of the classroom overall, an image of a specific classroom location, a picture of students engaging in small group instruction or anything else you want to draw teachers attention to. . . . If you think your teachers are up for it, you could take it a step further and challenge them to capture images of their classroom that are working well or that are examples of innovations other teachers might also want to try."

Collecting Feedback on Your Coaching Practice

Kim Cofino highlights three ways ICs can gather feedback on their craft from teachers, parents, and students.

"It can be good to get feedback from a small group, to allow them to share and connect around their experiences with you to really flush out their thinking. . . . To facilitate their conversation, you can ask a trusted colleague to use some question prompts that you (or they) design together. The great thing about this method is that they have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other."

Virtual Classroom Management

The Shaped Staff passes along 10 tips to take control of your remote work with students.

"Any veteran teacher can attest to the importance of establishing routines early and following through all year long. But teaching virtually throws all of that for a loop. . . . Remind students that everyone else is in the same position: sitting in front of a computer trying to be a part of the class. You're doing it too, as the teacher!"

The most-viewed articles of 2020! 🏆

If you haven't already, take a moment to check out the most-viewed articles of 2020 from our blog. From coaching "choice boards" to tips for working remotely, your peers had your back this year! 👍

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