Coach's Corner

Volume 4, May 2015

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Instructional Strategies:

Mental Modeling

Mental modeling is part of how we teach and takes place when you explain your thinking about how something works.

Mental Modeling
  • Shows your expert thinking
  • Deeper than talking through the procedure
  • Directly linked to your content goal
  • Brief and authentic
  • One way of thinking, but not the only way


Fisher & Frey's Rubric for self assessing Purpose and Modeling

Brain Breaks

As a teacher, you can sense when your class is getting antsy and in need of a break! The writers at Scholastic came up with many reasons why you should consider incorporating brain breaks into your day.

Why a Brain Break?
  • Re-energize your students
  • Gets their blood pumping
  • Re-charges their brains
  • Gets the wiggles out so they can focus

Sample Brain Breaks:
  • Movement songs
  • Jump or Skip Counting
  • Pretend (act out animals, transportation, jobs, or book characters)
  • Dance Party
  • Freeze Dance
  • Simon Says
  • Follow the Leader
  • Pattern Clap/Stomp

Online resources:

Spotlight on Productive Group Work

Walking Review

Students seek out other students to answer questions on a worksheet. Students must sign their names for each solution. The final question is answered individually at their own desk.

Technology Integration

Google Maps Street View

Have you ever read an informational text in class and wished there was a way to show your students what you were talking about? Do you have students interested in pyramids or other landmarks, rainforests, oceans, or famous cities? YouTube videos and photos online are one way to take your students on a journey outside your classroom, but with Google Street View it's like they're really there!

Information from FreeTech4Teachers

Flippity Quiz Show

Flippity, a web based tool, allows you to take a Google Spreadsheet and turn it into a Jeopardy like quiz show game board!

How can you use your building's Instructional Coach?

During a coaching cycle, your Instructional Coach can support your work on a goal you choose related to:


  • Student engagement
  • Student time on task
  • Positive/Negative Interactions or Feedback
  • Wait time
  • Ratio of students being called on
  • Opportunities to respond
  • Transition time
  • Teacher vs Student talk
  • Types of questioning
  • Content planning (Guiding Questions, Learning Maps)
  • Instruction (GRR, PGW, Effective Questioning, Thinking Prompts, Stories, Authentic/Project Based Learning)
  • Formative Assessments
  • Community Building


Any time you're interested in starting a coaching cycle, let me know! We're in this together, and we all want our amazing students to succeed!

Finally, Some Educational Humor...

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