Instructional Coaches' Corner

Mentor High School

October 10, 2016

Heads Up is one example of an engaging game of review that also allows the teacher to hear what students are thinking about key terms, concepts, and people. Click here for access to directions and two versions of a score card template.

Many thanks to Marie Waltz for this example as seen in the pictures/video provided here.

Heads Up!

October 2, 2016

Google Keep!

List, remind, share, collect visuals, collaborate and keep it all organized with Google Keep! You and your students may find this useful for organizing PBL responsibilities or just everyday tasks. Notes and lists created in Google Keep can sync between devices as long as your signed into the same Google account on all the devices. It nice to start a list on your laptop and be able to access the list on your phone when running errands for example. The video below gives a quick but comprehensive explanation to get you started in short order!
New! Google Keep Tutorial

One more note on Google Keep:

Lists/Notes in Google Keep can be shared with students who in turn can copy & share with other students in their team/squad. Great for any team assignment that will need to be managed over a sustained period of time. Sample provided below:

(Project Wall shown by Mike Wolski and Becky Frei)

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September 26, 2016

Schoology: Using video submissions to assess student performance

See Youtube video below:

Schoology Video Demonstration by Adam Landry

September 20, 2016

Because we are all literacy teachers....

CommLit: A Thoughtful, Easy Tool for Teachers

Reading, comparing, and analyzing informational texts are essential skills for students across the curriculum. CommonLit is a free resource that provides articles and questions on a wide range of topics.

  • Materials can be browsed by grade, genre, theme, literary devices, lexile range, and standards!
  • Includes paired texts, related media, and teacher's guide with each article.
  • Set up classes and have students join with class code.
  • Could pair well with discussion protocols.
  • Embedded vocabulary assistance.

Check out the video overview below to see an overview with some of the latest updates! (Less than 4 minutes)

CommonLit New Features: A Tutorial

May 27, 2016

May 20, 2016

Writing to Foster Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum

Low stakes writing practice that scaffolds learning to build critical thinking is discussed and resourced in this practical article from Edutopia:
Google Slides new features

May 13, 2016

PBL and the Hero's Journey:

May 4, 2016

What is the difference between Projects and Project Based Learning?

This is a great question! Below is a compare/contrast graphic from a article that helps to answer that question.
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To organize, save, and share online sites & material check out Diigo!

With Diigo You Can:

  • Read more effectively with annotation tools as you browse around the web.

  • Build your personal library in the cloud, with links, pages, notes, pictures etc, never to be lost, and ready to be accessed anywhere.

  • Say goodbye to broken links and lost treasures The web is dynamic - valuable content you found earlier is often no longer there when needed. Diigo archives the webpages for the links you save.

  • Provide feedback and catch attention with annotation or screenshots Want to draw attention to a particular paragraph to your Twitter followers? Highlight it and tweet.

  • Organize your information as little or as much as you want. Diigo provides unsurpassed organization capabilities, with both tagging and lists, to suit different needs.

  • Share information as much or as little as you want One advantage of storing information in the cloud is that you can share them easily when you want to.

  • Enable better collaboration on information for any group, large or small. Build a group knowledge repository for your family, your class, your team, or your entire company; each group member can add and subscribe to it, and browse and search it.

Video Tutorials for Using Diigo in Education

Mentor High School Diigo Group

Organize Your Research with Diigo (Part 1 of 3)

April 27, 2016

Literacy Design Collective(LDC): Open Source Materials to Support Literacy Across Content Areas

On the LDC website there area numerous modules with lessons and materials that include both print and digital options to encourage better understanding by supporting better reading and writing in all areas.

Here are some samples:

Art in Advertising

Close Reading

Read Like a Historian: Focus on Vietnam

Evaluating Sources

Creating Result in Table, Graph, and/or Written Form

Nuclear Sustainability

Television in the 50s and 60s

April 14, 2016

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March 23, 2016

No matter what-- it's teachers that make the difference! Here's a great reminder:
World Without Teachers

March 17, 2016

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Sneak Peak!

Orange Slice is a Google add-on that allows for some awesome peer and/or teacher feedback on student work! This will be demonstrated at our next staff meeting. If you'd like to take a sneak peak at what this tool is all about, here are some brief video descriptions.

March 10, 2016

Digging Deeper with Rubrics for Writing!

Check out this tool for helping students analyze rubrics and develop a better understanding of the qualities expected in their writing. This strategy can be used with any writing rubric.

See Tracy Coleman or any of the coaches if you have questions.

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What is an EdCamp? To start with, the participants create the session topics!

Click the link below and in 2 minutes and 21 seconds, you'll know all the basics about EdCamp. The is the first year of EdCampNEO and we hope you'll help us make it great!

Pass the Plate Template

Here is a link to the Pass the Plate template. It is "view only", so just make a copy and have fun!

March 3, 2016

Interactive Worksheets!

Wizer is a fun and efficient new way to create interactive worksheets. It offers a variety of tools to incorporate, such as: label a diagram, fill-in-the-blank, open-ended, multiple choice and much more. Data is available to the teacher. It's easy and free. Here is a link to a tutorial:

For assistance, contact Brad Edwards

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Quizlet LIve!

Below: videos of students exploring Quizlet Live in Bill Butterfield's AP Computer Science Class! Collaboration helps teams to win each round of competition.

*Directions for running Quizlet Live:

Email Lou Sangdahl if you need assistance.

February 25, 2016

Timeline Resources

Includes a comparison chart and other links for online use and some specifically for iPads.

Typing with Your Voice in Google Docs

You may know that typing with your voice is possible in Google Doc. Recently commands for punctuation and other formatting actions were added. This link takes you to a comprehensive list of commands:

February 18, 2016

Schoology: Using and Creating Badges

Badges are way to promote academic skills as well as team work and other soft skills. Here is a link for directions to follow:

Video Option:

Video showing how to use to create quizzes and polls:

How to create quizzes and polls on

7 More Tools for Creating Multimedia Quizzes and Polls

This comparison chart shows 7 tools you may be interested in. Video tutorials are also listed at the end.

February 11, 2016

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Forbes Article Examining Top Ten Jobs Skills of the Future

The business world searches to find future trends and the education world works to prepare students for those trends. Or at least that's the way it should be, right? An article in Forbes magazine identified needed future skills as:

  • Sense Making
  • Social Intelligence
  • Novel and Adaptive Thinking
  • Cross-Cultural Competencies
  • Computational Thinking
  • New Media Literacy
  • Transdisciplinarity (is that a real word?)
  • Design Mindset
  • Cognitive Load Management
  • Virtual Collaboration

Each of these is briefly addressed in the article found here:

February 4, 2016

Writing Skills Essential for All Areas!

Students with good writing skills are more successful on all high stakes tests including AIR, AP, SAT, ACT... you name it! This applies to all subject areas and future career development. It certainly takes a village! This link provides a host of tools for helping students develop writing skills in all areas:

So, what IS the difference between doing projects and Project Based Learning anyway?!

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January 28, 2016

30 Books for Teachers Recommended on Pinterest!

From Education Technology and Mobile Learning:

"Since its inception last year, our Pinterest board ‘Great Books for Teachers’ has grown so much in popularity with more than 16k followers and over 170 pins."

Read more in this article:

The basics of PBL are explained in this succinct video. How might this look in your class?

Project Based Learning: Explained.

PBL Planning in Progress!

Thank you, Brad Edwards and Bryan Kuhlman for sharing your project in progress!


January 21, 2016

Would the teacher in this TED talk applaud the new strategies being implemented at MHS? We think so! Check it out!

Diana Laufenberg: How to learn? From mistakes

One-page list of Google Mail and Google Calendar Resources!

This collection of resources provides directions for various Google Mail and Google Calendar tools. As more resources are created, we'll add them to this list:

January 14, 2016

Learning Centers (Stations) for High School

Finally! When you're ahead of the curve, it's difficult to find articles that provide guidance or support. In this article Edutopia provides practical advice and reasons for designing learning centers for high school students. This quick read discusses topics such as using a road map, diversifying experiences, leveraging resources, and more:

Free-form Station Rotation Blog:

January 7, 2016

Gmail: Instructions for Setting Up Contacts

Take your pick!

Here are the links for the google document and the screencast for setting up Gmail contacts.

Scroll below for more instructions (screencasts)

December 17, 2015

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Professional Rounds: Connect with Kirtland Teachers in Your Subject Area!

There is still time to sign-up for professional rounds. Professional Rounds allow teachers in Kirtland and Mentor to share ideas about teaching strategies related to their content. This includes the opportunity to visit each other's classes. Here is a link for more information:

If you decide to do this:

  • email Bill Porter to let him know of your interest by Tuesday of next week, 12/22/15​
  • let a coach know so we can provide a write-up during or at the conclusion of this experience for your evaluator.

December 10, 2015

Check out Wideo for Easy Interactive Video Options!

  • Creates videos which are interactive with links/buttons that take a viewer to more information.
  • Great for student projects!
  • Create end-of-course reviews.

Below is a quick four-minute video showing how to use this tool.

How to Create Interactive Videos on Wideo

Interested in sharing rubrics in Schoology?

Join the Rubrics: MHS Schoology group using this access code: 3Q2CX-TB5FC

  • See what others have done to get ideas.
  • Add your rubric to share with others.
  • Copy useful rubrics to your resources: leave them "as is" or edit your copy.

To join the group inn Schoology, click Groups at the top of your home page, click Join, enter the access code provided above. That's it!

Avoid Testing Burnout!

Check out this article to learn more about:

  • Taking Care of you and your students
  • Menu of Classroom Activities
  • Test-prep Activities

December 3, 2015

Ideas for Sharing Information with Your Evaluator for Your Growth Plan:

Need a break from the Reflection Log? As December 15 approaches, here are some other ideas for sharing growth plan progress with your evaluator:

  • Invite a coach to see an activity or lesson and we will provide a write-up of your work that you can share in your growth plan.

  • Ask a coach or colleague to film a lesson. Submit the video and/or your own reflection. A coach can partner with you to review the video and/or write the reflection.

  • Take a screenshot of student results in a formative assessment. Upload the screenshot with an explanation of how the results were used to drive instruction.

  • Describe examples of how you have shared knowledge, content, and resources with colleagues. (in PLC, PD sessions, tech assistance, etc.)

  • Provide a student interview. Record a student talking about what they do in class to achieve the desired outcomes of the targeted element.

  • Upload pictures, student work, results, surveys.

  • Link Google forms and assessments.

  • Share student comments.

  • Have a coach or peer record an interview with you about progress on targeted elements.

  • Share ways that you sought feedback.

  • Share ways that you made an effort to help colleagues grow professionally.

  • Share ways you have supported district initiatives:

    • worked with Marcia Kish

    • volunteered to participate in new initiatives

    • implemented new strategies for the first time

    • other

November 24, 2015

Possible Role of a Coach in Your Station Rotation

To assist during planning: with PLC or Individually.

As a station:
  • supervisor of a station or new technology
  • lead discussion or preview vocabulary for an assigned A3K article
  • other vocab activity
  • listen to student presentation or explanation of given concept
  • facilitate small group discussion

To help sign-off on student completion of activities/stations.

To provide input during reflection and future planning.

Other? Let us know how we can help!

November 19, 2015

November 12, 2015

Hook Stations

While stations are often a great way to review material, what about using stations for introducing new material? Here is a quick video showing Hook Stations in a science classroom. The activities provided in this example serve to pique student curiosity and give them experience with the content that can be referred to in later lessons.

November 5, 2015

Schoology: Welcome to The Rubric Group

If you are interested in sharing rubrics or just looking for ideas for using rubrics in Schoology, feel free to join the group titled Rubrics: MHS. The access code for joining this group is below.
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October 29, 2015

Some Not-So-Spooky Samples of Feedback from Coaches for use in Growth Plans or Personal Development

Sample A

Thank you so much for inviting me in to see your vocabulary lesson in action! You very effectively used elements of Marzano's six-step process to have students define words, create associations with them, use them, and then play a game with them. Students interacted with new knowledge in a way that was informative, engaging, and fun! I know it takes time to develop lessons in this way rather than using more traditional vocabulary lists, but your students will surely reap the benefits of the time you took planning the lesson and the class time you devoted to having them internalize the meanings of words. Kudos to you, Katie, for your efforts to address the vocabulary building goal and provide meaningful learning opportunities for your students!

Sample B

First of all, thank you for letting me drop in and visit your PLC. Here are a few things I noticed that have really stuck with me:

  • Peggy, in spite of the fact that retirement is coming soon, you are fully incorporating Schoology, Gizmos, and other technologies into your daily lessons. At this point in their career, some stop working at anything that's new.
  • Adele, when given a suggestion like the possible use of a Thinglink for your lesson on the microscope, you readily ran with it and had it posted in your upcoming lesson in no time.
  • Peggy, I so appreciate your approach to team teaching! You provide a guidance, expertise, and trust by allowing plenty of room for a new co-teacher to participate in all levels of lesson planning and implementation.
  • Adele, in spite of being a first year teacher, you consistently bring something to the table in order to build effective lessons for your students and co-teacher.
  • Peggy and Adele: Your teamwork is a great! Both of you bring a positive approach to all aspects of teaching and working together!

October 22, 2015

Achieve your desired results!

Check the bulletin board this week to learn more about meaningful monitoring of your growth plan and the intended outcomes for students for strategies in Domain 1. Many of us are preparing for observations and looking for ways to monitor our plans; you can use this information to help guide your planning to help more students reach the desired results for each strategy. Monitoring is the component on the rubric that can boost you from developing to applying or innovating. Make yourself a copy of the meaningful monitoring handout to help maximize your success with Marzano strategies in Domain 1.

October 15, 2015

Update: Using Infinite Campus Messenger

(Video Below)
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SLO Support and Growth Plans

SLO Support: This week everyone received their SLO’s back from the district review committee. If you need support as you revise your SLO, please contact Tracy, Amy, or Lou. We were all part of the committee work and would be happy to guide your through the revision process.

Growth Plans: As you begin to think about the second phase of your growth plan, consider working with a coach. We can be part of your evidence in your plan. Coaches can also help you as you are working with Marcia Kish on station rotation lessons and assist you in developing future plans.
Schoology: Creating & Using Rubrics (click here)

Rubrics in Schoology can be used for assignments and test items. There are hot links at the top of this document that can you take directly to what you're looking for.

Check out ActivelyLearn!

ActivelyLearn is a great resource for helping students dig deeper into any text that is available in a digital format and it provides great data for teachers!

Running document created during the PD session:

Video recording created during the webinar:

October 8, 2015

Here are three "fillable" graphic organizers from The New York Times Learning Network that are designed to promote the close reading of text:

This organizer promotes comparison between two texts. It works well for both informational and literary text and helps students see and synthesize connections across two texts. With an emphasis on similarities and differences, this organizer includes elements of Marzano.

This organizer is especially good for informational text analysis in grades 9-12. Depending on level of students-the “who” can lead to credibility, bias, beyond just who is the speaker, the “how” can lead to a discussion of the author’s strategies for conveying information, and the “why” can lead to a discussion of purpose within a content area.

This organizer is great for having students interact with text by finding and evaluating evidence from text. Beyond having students answer teacher-created questions, this organizer promotes active, careful reading across the curriculum.

October 1, 2015

Schoology Resources

from 10/2/15 PD Sessions (see below)
Ideas for Using the Discussion Feature in Schoology (Tracy Coleman)
  • Use to support vocabulary, station rotation, track student progress, include similarities & differences, student "blogs", and more!
More Ideas:

Ideas for the Calendar feature in Schoology (Chad Russo)

Ideas for using Badges in Schoology (Amy Roediger)

  • It is very easy to create and award badges in Schoology. You can use Schoology’s preset badges or design your own to suit your class needs. Maybe you can use badges to track student progress this year. Create a badge for your power standards and award the badge when you see evidence of mastery.
  • There is a BADGES folder in the October Staff Meeting folder in the High School Blended Learning Course. Inside is a short video that shows how to create badges, a handout that does the same, and a discussion of how people are using (or hope to be using) badges in their classrooms this year.

Ideas for Tests & Quizzes in Schoology (Brad Edwards)

Ideas for assigning specific tasks to specific students in Schoology (Lou Sangdahl)

Directions for Installing the Schoology App

For iPhone or iPad (click button above)

September 24, 2015

Tip of the Week:

Remember October 15 is when growth plans need to be updated. Please consider having a conversation with a coach or inviting one of us to your classes. We can provide written feedback that you can use in your growth plan.

Using Thinglink in Schoology

If adding a Thinglink to Schoology the following steps are needed to make sure the “buttons” or links will be active in Schoology:

  • Go to your finished Thinglink project.

  • On the right click the share button.

  • One of the options here will be Edmodo which is indicated with the letter E. Click this option.

  • Copy the link provided for Edmodo. (Edmodo will not be used at all, but this link is what works in Schoology.)

  • In Schoology, under Add Materials, add a link and paste the “edmodo” link. Label any way you would like.

This will provide an icon that appears to be a video, but when selected provides your Thinglink with active buttons/tags. *Thank you, Jordan Wilcox for posing the question about making Thinglink tags active. Your application showing students a correct technique in phys. ed. is a great use of this tool!

Below is a sample Thinglink from the gallery at

What is Thinglink? provides the tools to make an interactive graphic like one above. Click the picture above and scroll over the tags to see more information. The examples in the gallery are sure to inspire more ideas. Check out or email the coaches if you're interested in learning more.

September 17, 2015

Newsletter Format

  • This is a continuous newsletter with the current week's information at the top. (Last week's notes are at the bottom of this newsletter.)

  • If you need to find something we’ve shared in a past newsletter, there is no need to remember which week it was posted- just scroll the newsletter to find what you’re looking for.

Google News!

Need to organize student work that is sent to you? Check out Amy’s directions for organizing student work in a Google folder! Many of us had been taught that all things in a shared folder were viewable by everyone submitting work. Thank goodness there is a way to accomplish a shared folder without sharing all contents with all contributors!!
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Make Video Interactive!

eduCanon Help Sessions

Brad is planning on being available to help anyone who might be interested in learning how to use eduCanon in their classroom. It is a great tool for embedding questions into any educational related video you might find on youtube. It would be a great tool to use as a station when you begin trying your rotations.

Brad will be in H102 in the HUB the remainder of the week from 1-8 MODS and 15-16. Please stop by! Brad would be happy to help with your project. You can also email Brad for other times to meet.
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Coaches' Corner Bulletin Boards!

Check out the new coaches’ corner bulletin boards by the copiers in the main office, the I-wing teacher workroom, and B-209. The coaches will use the boards as central locations to put up resources, handouts, and ideas. Feel free to take something off of the board and copy it for yourself while you are making copies for your classes.

Tip of the Week!

Check out the Marzano strategies bulletin board in the main office mailroom. Use any collaboration with other teachers where you share ideas or materials as part of your reflection in your growth plan. The idea behind this bulletin board is that teachers can use it as a springboard for collaboration. Put up your name and the strategy you are working on in your growth plan. Then, look to see who is working on the same strategies as you and share ideas and materials with those people.

Resource of the Week

Free text to speech site and app-

Thanks for Reading!

The first person to find Lou Sangdahl and tell her one thing mentioned in last week's Swivl video (Resource of the Week) will win a $10.00 iTunes gift card!

September 10, 2015

You've Come A Long Way, Baby!!

Starting this week, the instructional coaches will have a section of Bill’s Staff Information Page to share information in an effort to streamline our communication with staff members and offer ideas related to instruction. We would like to start with a shout out to all of the staff members who are incorporating strategies and technology that they did not use at this time last year. In thinking about the progress and changes made since last fall, it is amazing to think that at this time last year, staff members did not have Macbooks, renovated rooms, or training in Google, Schoology, web 2.0 tools, Station Rotation, and the Marzano vocabulary strategies. Kudos to everyone who has been willing to not only adjust to these changes but find ways to incorporate all that is new into providing great learning opportunities for students.


Our purpose as coaches is to support you before, during, and after lessons in order to help you accomplish your goals for students and to assist as you continue to incorporate new strategies. Our support can be related to:

  • technology
  • techniques
  • building goals
  • growth plans
  • or anything else you may want to plan, discuss, or do related to teaching and learning.

Coaches' Availability

The schedule below shows the periods during the day when we can meet or come to your classes. We are also available before or after school. Amy, Brad, and Tracy all teach, and you are welcome in our classes any time.

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Which coach do I contact?

Any coach is willing to help you with any topic. In some cases, the coach you contact will depend on the time(s) you want to meet. In order for us to help you without overwhelming you with four people, it is best to contact one coach rather than sending an e-mail to all of us when you have a question or need. We are all eager to help with lesson planning, growth plans, and general technology questions. If you ask a question of one of us that we feel might be better answered by a different coach, we may share the question with the other coach. Please know we all want to help, and we are just looking for the best possible person to meet your needs.

Tip of the Week:

Ask a coach to stop in to watch part of a lesson or help you plan for something new. The coach can provide you with a brief “write up” of your work together to include in your growth plan.
Schoology Resource: How to Print Tests

You may want to create a folder in Google for housing Schoology instructions.