Collaboration Corner

Encouraging growth through reflective practices (Sept. '15)

Thank You!

It's hard to believe it's already time for our first 3-day weekend, but I wanted to let all of you know you have EARNED it! I have SO enjoyed coming in to your classrooms to see what the students were doing, and they are doing GREAT things! Thank you for all of the blood, sweat, and tears you pour into these sweet children every day! I hope you are able to take a moment this weekend to relax!

What's This All About, Part 2?

In my last newsletter I shared my definition of coaching. This month, I want to share my personal vision statement of coaching:

I am a teacher working with teachers as collaborative partners to create and deliver high-quality instruction for every student.

I coach individual teachers and grade-level teams to facilitate reflection and action for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in a collegial and non-evaluative atmosphere.

I coach to inspire teachers to explore educational possibilities for all students.

I coach to support educators, meeting them where they are and building mutually respectful, trusting relationships.

I coach to engage in conversations about educational policies, practices, and behaviors that impact student achievement.

I commit to grow in my understanding of best coaching practices and instruction.

Where's the Coach?

August 31 - September 3: WRE

September 4 - 10: MME

September 11 - 17: WRE

September 18 - 24: MME

September 25 - October 1: WRE

Coaching Cycle #1

Organizing coaching into cycles helps me create a structure for my time in a way that drills down to impact student learning. A coaching cycle at WRE will have the following characteristics:

  • involve in-depth work with a teacher lasting approximately 7 weeks (truly 4 since I alternate with MME)
  • include a weekly (technically, bi-weekly!) planning session and 1-2 times per week (when I am in the building) in the classroom for co- teaching, modeling, or observation
  • focus on a goal for student learning and a teaching strategy (to help meet that goal) that comes from either formal or informal student data
  • 6-8 teachers typically involved during a single cycle
  • four cycles are currently planned: 9/14 - 10/26, 10/26 - 12/18, 1/4 - 2/15, and 3/14 - 5/2 for WRE and 9/21 - 11/2, 11/2 - 12/18, 1/11 - 2/22, and 3/28 - 5/9 for MME. I will still provide support to teachers and grade-level teams during the cycles, but in a less structured manner. If you are interested in participating in any of the cycles, please fill out the form below!

Instructional Tip

The Power of Expectations

by Allison Behne

from The Daily Cafe

If my husband and I had a nickel for every time we've told our children they were capable of doing something, we would be rich. With the steady stream of affirmations and encouragement in dance, volleyball, golf, math, reading, and more, our children know we believe in them. Their response, now that they are older, is “Of course you think that; you’re our parents.” Somehow with age comes the idea that it doesn’t take much to make your parents proud, and if someone other than your parent says something positive to you, it carries more weight.

I saw this firsthand with my daughter this summer. Samantha likes volleyball, but has never been motivated to do more than attend the regularly scheduled practices and games. My husband and I are always telling her she is a good player and has great potential; she just needs to keep working. These are continual conversations that take place throughout the summer and volleyball season, and her work ethic remains the same . . . She does what she needs do to play. This summer, however, there was a shift. After attending a day volleyball camp, a coach at a local community college pulled Samantha aside and told her she had potential and would like to work with her. She went on to tell my daughter she has everything she needs to be successful. I wish I had gotten Samantha’s expression on camera when she relayed this information to us. She smiled ear to ear and was beyond excited. Of course, I gently reminded her that her father and I have been telling her this for a while, and her response was “Yeah, but you’re my parents; you have to think I am good.”

From this moment forward, Samantha has stepped up her commitment to the sport. She has not only worked one-on-one with this coach, but she has been going to the gym and working on drills on her own. She is rising to the expectations that have been set for her. This one coach, by taking the time to relay her belief in Samantha, made a huge difference.

As a mother, I couldn’t be more pleased and thankful that someone took the time to invest in her. As a teacher, I am reminded of the importance of empowering our students and communicating expectations. I am also reminded of the influence we have in the lives of our students when they know we truly believe in them. When we notice a class member is thinking like a mathematician or a child’s poem moves us to tears, our paying attention, noticing, and believing in them help to transform their self-identity.

I recently reread an article about a study that poignantly highlights the increase in student achievement and positive behavior when teachers strongly believe their students will succeed. This article is a reminder that children have an innate desire to learn and will reach for and exceed expectations when given the opportunity.

Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform by Alix Spiegel

Tech Tip

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Contact Me

Feel free to call or email anytime, even if I'm not in the building! :-)

ext. 1731 (MME)

ext. 1525 (WRE)