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Finding the Bright Spots

  "To find bright spots, we need to ask ourselves: "What's working, and how can we do more of it?"" (p. 45) Chapter 2 of the book "Switch" has me thinking about how my team can do more to seek out bright spots and use those to spark change throughout the district.  Here are some ideas for next school year: Celebrate examples of teachers using technology in impactful ways When we ask our teachers to try something new and innovative in their classrooms, that can make many of them feel vulnerable. We need to make sure we encourage our teachers to take those risks and try new things by celebrating their successes as much as possible. I have tried to do that by sharing their stories on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram. However, I could definitely do a better job of sharing these stories on more in-district communication platforms, such as our district websites or school newsletters.  Bring in other teachers to observe impactful techno

Educator Spotlight - Anna Lanuza

   Ms. Anna Lanuza Ms. Anna Lanuza is a 6th-grade writing and social studies teacher at Moon Mountain Elementary. She shared the following quote: “Integrating technology into the classroom sets a foundation of real-world expectations for our students’ futures while supporting the needs of diverse learners. Thank you, Ms. Lanuza!

Questions to Better Understand a Challenge

The first step of the challenge-based coaching model is to identify and understand the teacher's challenge. The Google coaching curriculum provides some questions coaches can ask during the initial meeting. I really like the following question: ⭐ What strategies have worked and what have not? Why?    A few reasons I find this question really helpful: It provides teachers the time and space to think about WHY a particular strategy didn't work. They often gain new insights just by talking it through out loud. It helps me understand how they are defining "success" when trying new strategies. That will be super important when we select a strategy and plan implementation. It opens the door for a conversation about moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach. This is especially true if they mention that some strategies have worked for some of their students, but not for all of them. What questions do you find effective when trying to better understand a teacher's cha

Don't Use Coaches as "Fixers"

  "It is tempting to ask coaches to work only with teachers who seem to be having difficulties with instruction or classroom management. We discourage this "fixer" approach to coaching for several reasons. First, if coaches are perceived as working only with those who struggle, other teachers may not reach out to coaches for support. Second, the coaching relationship becomes less about providing support for all teachers and more about remediation, in which only "struggling" teachers are assigned to the coach." - Jacy Ippolito and Rita M. Bean Based on the conversations I've had with coaches, this seems to be a common challenge. Coaches often struggle to get teachers to volunteer for coaching cycles because teachers don't want to be viewed as someone who needs coaching - like it's a negative thing. However, the truth is that ALL educators can benefit from good coaching. I think this is why it is important to try to c reate a diverse coaching ros

Educator Spotlight - Sonia Hornbaker

   Ms. Sonia Hornbaker Ms. Sonia Hornbaker is a 4th-grade teacher at Ironwood Elementary. She shared the following quote: “Technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.” - George Couros Thank you, Ms. Hornbaker!

Elements of Effective Coaching - Partnership

What are the elements that make coaching an effective form of professional development? The Google for Education Certified Coach Curriculum identifies four main elements: Partnership Active Learning Personalization Sustained How might you build a coaching partnership? So, let’s look at the first element, partnership, along with some suggested strategies from the curriculum. 🙋‍♀️ Make coaching voluntary This seems super important, but I’m not sure how common it actually is in school districts. I think it is fairly common in some districts that coaches are assigned to teachers who don’t necessarily want or think they need coaching. A lot of that has to do with the fact that coaching is often seen as only meant for “struggling” teachers, and many teachers don’t understand how it could benefit their teaching practice or their students. I know I didn’t when I was a classroom teacher. So, how might we change that narrative and create a positive culture of coaching? 🤝 Make coaching non-eva

New Adventure - Distance Learning Program Tech Coach

Next year, my district will be launching its first "Distance Learning Program," and I am super excited that I will be taking on a new role as the Instructional Tech Coach for our DLP teachers! I'm a little nervous, but I know this is going to be an awesome opportunity to learn and grow.  My goal this first year is to focus on the following advice I have received from experienced coaches: Connect with other coaches as much as possible Focus on building relationships with teachers Reflect, reflect, reflect!  I'm going to dig deeper into each of these topics in future posts, so more to come on that! =)