Search results: Aguilar

How to Set Yourself up for a Successful Year: 11 Coaches Share their Top Tips

I’m so excited.

Because today I have a fun little surprise gift to share with you!

This past summer I reached out to some of my favorite coaches, and asked them the following question:

What is your #1 tip for preparing for a successful year as an instructional coach?

And here are all of their thoughtful answers, full of wisdom and experience. Enjoy! This is going to be good.

Elena Aguilar

Sought after presenter, transformational leadership coach, and consultant
ElenaAguilar.com | edutopia.org/users/elena-aguilar

Get clear on your personal and professional hopes, dreams, and goals for the year: What do you really hope to be able to say about the year next June, when you’re heading out for summer? What would be an indicator that you’d had a great year? How do you want your colleagues, coachees, and supervisors to experience you–what would you like them to say about you? And then map this goal on to what the children you serve need you to be and need you to do. Let their needs inform your dreams, hopes and goals for the year.


Michelle Te Grootenhuis

K-8 Literacy Instructional Coach
Twitter: @MrsTG | Blog: mrstg.edublogs.org

My #1 tip for preparing for a successful year as an instructional coach is to seek out or form a group of coaches, a “cohort”, OUTSIDE of your school and/or district.  Such a group will provide you with a safe environment to share joys and insecurities, a place to learn (your own PLC group of sorts) and get ideas from neighboring schools, and a chance for some quality “drive time”.

First of all, especially if you are a first-year coach, you really need a support group. You have walked away from the comfort of your classroom and chances are you really don’t fully understand your new role.  A coaching cohort will provide you with a safe place to share those insecurities, but also a place to be reassured as others share their joys as well.  If you are lucky enough to have a group with mixed levels of experience, your colleagues will be able to reassure you. Trust me, they felt the same apprehension during their first few days and weeks until they got into a groove. I was certainly blessed with wisdom from coaches that had been in the role for three years within my group.

Secondly, this coaching cohort will become your own professional learning community (PLC) of sorts. While you might not dive into data like a traditional PLC group would, you will certainly share what is working in your schools.  Sharing roles and duties as coaches, curriculum resources, and instructional methods are all part of being in the cohort.  This is a great way for new coaches to contribute to the group as EVERYONE has something positive to share from their schools/districts.

And chances are you will be TRAVELING to meet with your group. Believe it or not, that drive time is absolutely one of the biggest benefits! My first year my two fellow new coaches and I drove 45 minutes one way to attend cohort meetings set up by our local state education agency.  That time together was probably the BEST part of those meetings as we were able to use that time to talk about joys, insecurities, and then on the way home, ideas gleaned from the meetings.  My second year, I traveled just 10 minutes down the road to a local group that would meet during a “working lunch” 90-minute block of time.  That 10 minute drive time was good for me to think through what I had accomplished so far, what I needed to get done yet that day/week, and then ponder ideas gleaned from the meeting.  Drive time is like built-in reflection time, something we don’t get enough of as educators.

So, if you have access to such a group, make sure to JOIN it.  If not, do what a few local coaches did my second year, take that bull by the horn, reach out to neighboring schools or districts and form your own “Coaching Cohort”.  It will be one of the best things you can do to take care of your own professional learning and personal well-being as a new instructional coach!


Gretchen Schultek

Educator and Consultant
AlwaysaLesson.com

My number one tip for preparing for a successful school year as an instructional coach is to organize all of your resources into a binder. By having all of your important documents in one place, it makes it easy to reference when needed as well as light enough to grab on the go! A coaching binder will grow as the year progresses, but there are a few documents you can include in it from the beginning. For example, curricular standards, teacher roster, school building map with classroom locations, master schedule, etc. As you meet with teachers throughout the year, you will want to add sections for observations or meeting notes, feedback slips, debrief discussion prompts, data collection tools, rubrics, lesson plan formats, guides, visuals, etc. This binder will become your “bible” as you learn the ropes as an instructional coach. Don’t be afraid to make it yours and revamp and reorganize as often as necessary. Best of luck on a successful year as an instructional coach!


Stacie Giesecke

3rd Year Instructional Coach, Pleasant Valley High School, Bettendorf, Iowa

Online Instructor: isea.org and AEA PD Online | Advancing Educators (Classes offered for re-certification and salary advancement)

It’s so hard for me to come up with just ONE tip to start the year! As I start year 3 as an instructional coach (I’m in my 3rd year – previous experience of 20 years in Special Education), I think that it’s important to have a positive attitude and open mind. Teachers are super overwhelmed at the start of a new year. So many things to get ready and set up, they have little time to think about themselves and what they truly want to work on as a professional. I like to make sure I have read up on all the books I have stacked up (still have a lot to do in this area!!!), gather my resources from any conferences/trainings I attended over the summer (went to an amazing conference and am so excited to continue networking), and remember the little things (coffee, candy, and positive notes)!

Teachers like that we remember them, appreciate them and all they do for kids, and are truly there for them to help them develop as a professional AND help increase student achievement.

I always keep it real. I am learning with the teachers and love doing it. Hope this helps you all kick off a great school year!


David Voves

Instructional Coach, Charles City, Iowa

My #1 tip for preparing for a successful school year is being organized.  Organization is such a simple thought, but one that can consume so much time throughout the year.  The Time & To-Do Planner truly helps me accomplish my organizational goal.  Key elements of organization include planning for professional learning, collaboration and coaching cycle planning, and my individual career development plan.

Professional learning not only includes summer opportunities, but also researching and registering for professional learning throughout the upcoming year.  Finding the best possible-learning opportunities to make me a more efficient and comprehensive coach takes time and planning.  In addition, I use the summer months to invite teachers to attend these opportunities with me to spark greater collaboration throughout the year.  By pre-selecting these opportunities earlier than later, early-bird fees often apply and it helps ensure that sub requests can be granted for teachers early.  From a coaching standpoint, it also allows me to prepare for days in which I will be unavailable to support in-district teachers.

Planning and preparing for future upcoming coaching cycles also helps ensure organization.  By gathering preliminary collaboration requests for this upcoming year this past May, I have been able to have conversations with teachers about their goals for our upcoming learning.  Goals have allowed me to research associated instructional strategies and find additional curriculum and technology resources.  I’ve also been able to create a preliminary calendar for this year, which organizes cycles, and allows me to communicate my availability for additional collaboration.

Good luck!


Deborah Meister

Instructional Coach at Lighthouse Community Charter School, Oakland, California
DeborahMeisterCoaching.com

Take time to ask the right questions — deeper questions, when setting or revisiting goals with a client. As I completed my end-of-year reports and reflection with my coaching team in June, it became clear to me the difference in how coaching had impacted folks based, at least in part, in how intentionally I had held the goal-setting process. In “The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever”, Michael Bungay Stanier talks about what he calls the focus question, which I have found particularly helpful: “What’s the REAL challenge here for you?” Whether I ask that precise question or simply work from the intent behind it, it nudges my coachee and I to pause, look beyond what comes up first, and dig deeper as we consider the focus of our work together towards meaningful outcomes. It keeps us from rushing into committing to the wrong goals, and it leads to a work plan that the teacher is more likely to be invested in co-creating, implementing, and refining. Slowing down at the beginning goes contrary to everything in my nature for the beginning of a school year, which is to want to jump right in and implement systems! But it’s so worth it for me, the teachers I support, and their students to take the time to uncover what’s really core.


Amanda Meachem

Secondary Instructional Math Coach, Pickerington Local School District, Pickerington, Ohio
Twitter: @pickmathcoach

So, my #1 tip (ok, maybe my top 3 tips) on how to prepare for a successful year as an instructional coach is to organize, prioritize, communicate!

Being organized will be a life saver when you’re in high demand.  Whether it’s on a Google Doc or in a binder, I suggest organizing each teacher’s schedule and room number, contact logs to document conversations and coaching, and materials specific to each teacher’s needs. Keeping a tidy work/office space will make it easy and is welcoming for teachers to come talk and spread out materials.

Prioritizing your work for the start of the year is essential.  Although this can change as the year unfolds, having a plan of attack and a general timeline will give structure to your role. Being aware of your building and district goals is crucial and will help focus your work. Some teachers will be excited to work with you, so make them a priority by tapping into their excitement.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! It’s easy to get caught up in emails and meetings especially when you serve a lot of teachers in multiple buildings, but get out there! Chat with teachers in the hall between class change, eat lunch in the teachers’  lounge, attend social gatherings, etc.Ask teachers where they need support so your efforts and feedback are targeted, and I recommend asking teachers what they want as well.  This can go a long way in helping you connect with a teacher…never a bad thing when building relationships! Talk with your administrators, department chairperson, and special education coordinator so the messages you communicate are consistent.  Be accessible and share your daily schedule with those depending on you.  I’d also suggest creating a “Pineapple (Welcome) Board” for teachers to invite others to observe the awesome things they’re trying; it’s a great way to get teachers talking about teaching and learning!


Kimberly Wakefield

Instructional Coach
Twitter: @kim_wakefield  | KimberlyWakefield.com

As an instructional coach for a K-5 elementary school, the number one tip I have about gearing up for a new school year is to ensure that I am building trusting relationships with our staff, and the number one way to do that is to communicate and stay organized!  In order to communicate, I must have all of my responsibilities coordinated. This consists of lots of planning (using my Time & ToDoPlanner really helps with this!) I sit down with different colored pens and iron out the calendar for the year. First looking at benchmark dates so I can mark off weeks in my calendar the few times each year when I will not be accessible to classrooms because I am responsible for facilitating our team to complete all of our benchmark assessments.  Next, I look at how long it will take me to get all of our instructional groups up and running in accordance with completion of benchmark assessments and data team meetings. Once I have the date down for when I can start coaching cycles, I mark in my planner when letters need to go out to the staff, how long I can run each cycle and organize the request survey to send to staff. Typically, I can run four, 6 to 8 week cycles per year. After I have all of that recorded and grouping in my planner, I can then sit down and draft out an email to the staff of all specifics going on for the year, which really helps with those relationships. I share when my cycles will start, when to expect our team for benchmark assessments and how I can learn along side them with our professional development focus for our school.

Once the communication piece is in place, organizing our instructional support room comes next! I house a lot of materials that teachers need and use throughout the school year, from professional books and teaching resources to assessments and supplies! In order to be ready for teacher requests, I must have everything organized and ready before school starts.  This means many hours of unboxing and labeling (which makes my heart happy!) Also, the instructional support room is utilized for many learning groups, so I need to ensure it is ready for kids’ use too!

In conclusion, in order to start the year off right, meeting with our principal to ensure we are on the same page in regards to professional development in the building is critical. This allows me to communicate the best I can to the staff in order to keep those relationships so I can ensure the best possible coaching support in our school.


Lauren Fong

Instructional Coach
thechartchicks.blogspot.com

My #1 tip to prepare for a successful year is to create an organization system that works for you. Then take the time daily, weekly, or monthly to revise your system and stay organized. Keeping track of your schedule, notes from coaching cycles, and other projects can get overwhelming if you are not organized.


Chrissy Beltran

Buzzing with Ms. B Blog

My tip for a successful year of coaching is to start with some goals for campus growth. Think about what areas your teachers would like support in, and how you can help them grow in those areas. Isolate it down to about 4-5 actionable items; things you can actually do to support your teachers. Then, write it down and post it! Throughout the year, when you feel like you’re being pulled in 8 million directions, take a look at your goals and reflect. Is your work reflecting your goals? Do you need to change them? And do you need to adjust the way you’re spending your time in order to accomplish those important items?


Kristin Houser

You know me :)

My #1 tip is this — Listen to these guys! There is a ton of gold offered in these thoughts. Let this be the blog post that you revisit more than a few times, take notes on, and really reflect on how to put any or all of these suggestions into practice this year.

If you set yourself up for success, anything is possible.

And you’re sure to make that happen by taking action on the advice shared here.

A BIG, HUGE thank you to all of the coaches who participated in this post!

Talk to you soon,

My Top 5 Resources for Instructional Coaches. Plus a Few More Good Ones.

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These summer months are prime time for doing some reading, learning, and psyching up for the coming school year.  Since I know many of you are entering into your first year as a coach, I wanted to share a few of my favorite, go-to resources. Ones that I’ve read and used to help me figure out the role of instructional coach. And even if this isn’t your first year, don’t forget about shoshin or “beginner’s mind.” It’s a concept in Zen Buddhism that reminds us:

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Pretty good little saying, huh?

OK, let’s get to it…

1. Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction by Jim Knight

I’m a big fan of Jim Knight. He’s like the guru of instructional coaching. This book is packed full of great tools and practical ideas for coaches. One of the ideas/tools he introduces is a framework called “The Big Four” which is made up of four high-leverage instructional practices that I think serve as helpful “buckets” for guiding your observations and feedback to teachers. This was the first book of his I read, and it has some great tools and practical ideas to offer.

2. Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction by Jim Knight

After reading Jim’s first book on instructional coaching, I was on the hunt for more! I read this book last summer and really enjoyed it. One of my favorite chapters was on facilitating workshops for adults. I was able to apply much of what I learned from this chapter to the weekly professional development sessions I help facilitate with teachers. If you’re looking for some tips in this area, this would be a great book for you to check out.

3. Leverage Leadership by Paul Bambrick Santoyo

I heard about this one through the Coaching Teachers course I took on Coursera. The chapter of the book that I’ve gravitated the most towards, is on Observation and Feedback. Reading through this chapter, in conjunction with the Coaching Teachers course, gave me a new way to frame my debrief conversations: probing questions to ask, examples of bite sized and high leverage action steps and building in time for practice/implementation.

4. The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation by Elena Aguilar

I’ve written about Elena’s book before, but it’s just so great I have to gush about it again. What I love most about this book is it makes coaching feel really approachable…like, “Yeah! I can do this!” Sometimes I get overwhelmed just after reading the first page of a book, but not this one. I just read and read and felt better and better about what I could do.

5. Simplified Coaching Planning Kit

Last, but certainly not least, I’m really excited to share with you guys a planner I created just for us coaches. It’s a planning kit actually, made up of all the different tools I’ve used to help me plan, organize, and coach. More info to come on how I plan to organize/use mine, but in case you’d like to take a peek and get a head start, you can find it here!

The Simplified Coaching Planning Kit was designed work alongside the Time & ToDo Planner. These two put together, make a strong team!

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And now for a few more good ones. While these resources aren’t specific books or sites about instructional coaching, they have still helped me improve my work in different ways.

6. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

This books has somewhat of a cult following and I’m a member. I learned so much about effective systems and strategies for managing your time and tasks from this book. As a coach, you need to be reliable, dependable, and organized…someone who does what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it. This helps you build trust with teachers and can’t be overlooked. Having effective systems and structures in place helps you to be that kind of coach.

7. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky

As a coach, your head is often swimming with ideas of “what could be”…from a personal level, to a classroom level, to a schoolwide level. The trick is deciding which ideas are worth taking action on and then making those ideas happen. And as a coach and leader, I would even say it’s your responsibility to capture those ideas and work on bringing the worthy ones to life.

8. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

I really liked this book because it helped me take a close look at how I budget my time. When the school year starts, things can get crazy real fast and it’s easy for all of your time to get sucked up by school. Don’t let that happen! Interesting teachers/coaches lead interesting lives…that means they make time for side hobbies or passions, exercising, cooking…whatever it is you’re into outside of school. Right now would be a good time to start thinking about how you’d like to budget your time to make room for all the things that matter to you and see about making it happen!

Did I leave something off the list? Have a favorite book, blog, or other resource that you’d like to add? Share it in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

ms-houser

 

You Asked: Principal and Coach Roles

I frequently get asked some pretty smart questions around the role and responsibilities of an instructional coach. And I always do my best to answer them all. As I was getting ready to respond to a recent question from a reader, it dawned on me {duh!} that I really should be opening up these question and answer sessions to all of you guys!

Because hey, we all want to be better and do more as coaches.

Well did you know there’s a great resource available to support us towards this goal?…each other!

We all have so much we can learn from each other’s questions and experiences.

So a big thanks to Cari for sharing her question, which is something that I’ll bet many of us can relate to:

Kristin,
I love your blog, your tips and tools are very helpful. I am a first year coach with a lot of PD and classroom experience. Since my principal hired me as an “extra” this year we have been kind-of winging my schedule and role. As we look forward to next school year we’d like to tighten up my schedule and responsibilities. Can you give me an idea of how you are accountable to your principal without sacrifying trust with the teachers. Do you meet with your principal weekly? Do you “hand in” a form? Are teachers required to work with you?
Thanks!
Cari
 

Ahhh….the delicate balance of building relational trust, accountability, and confidentiality.

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Building relational trust is so super important. It also takes effort and time.  An important first step is communication. When we began implementing coaching cycles at our school, we dedicated one of our afternoon PD sessions {agenda and support structures handout} to the topic of student centered coaching as a form of professional learning. This gave us an opportunity to share with all teachers the why, what, and how of coaching at Tollgate. In doing this, we were able to address the question of “Are teachers required to work with you?” and more importantly begin to build a culture of coaching. Once that culture is established, and you’ve worked to show yourself as a partner in learning to teachers rather than an evaluator, things are likely to go much more smoothly.

I currently meet with my principal at the end of every coaching cycle to fill her in on the work done and reassess where to head next with teachers. This schedule has worked well for us. I would say that I’m pretty fortunate in having a principal who fully trusts me and the work that I do. So I’m not required to send her weekly updates or track my time. I’ve also shared in the past how I’ve tried out coaching data trackers and our PD site as a way of keeping my principal informed.

In addition to my experience, I thought it would be helpful to see what the experts had to say on this topic:

Diane Sweeney shares a really helpful chart in her book Student Centered Coaching that defines how both roles can work together to create a culture of learning where coaching is embraced.

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Elena Aguilar has a whole section in her book The Art of Coaching dedicated to ten suggestions for building trust with teachers, which includes how to have an initial conversation with coachees that establishes confidentiality. She suggests using a coaching log as a tool that can be used to report to supervisors. 

Jim Knight’s book Unmistakable Impact is another great resource for this question. A few key take-aways include:

  • The greater the lack of trust initially, the more important confidentiality usually is. What is most important is that principals and coaches clearly delineate what they will and will not discuss, communicate that policy across the school, and act consistently with the policy.
  • Eight researchers and I visited five of the best coaches in Florida, drawn from a pool of 2,600. In each case, we discovered that each effective coach worked in close partnership with his or her principal.

Cari {and anyone else grappling with this question}, I hope this collection of thoughts and resources above has been helpful.

If you have a question/topic/challenge that you’re wondering about please send it my way! Remember, we’re often each other’s best resource for support.

Thanks for reading,

ms-houser

Updated Coaching Notebook

If you remember, I originally had my planner set-up to also hold my coaching notes. While the system was working out okay, for a lot of reasons, I wasn’t really diggin’ it. So I took some time to rework it. 

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Customized Covers Available at my Etsy Shop

The first thing I needed was more space, since I can be working with up to eight coachees at a time. I also have learned that I prefer to use both my computer and paper when taking notes in an observation, as it allows for more flexibility. So my system needed a good amount of note taking paper, but I didn’t want coaching notes for different teachers all muddled together for me to later sort through. I also don’t totally like having separate notebooks or legal pads for different teachers. After assessing these needs and a few more, my decision was to use an Arc Notebook set-up for coaching notes only. I still have my planner, but it now lives in it’s own notebook.

To avoid the muddling through notes problem, I created a different tab for each teacher.

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I inserted a coaching log behind each teacher tab, which I put on the left side of the notebook. I prefer this set-up, as it allows me to easily access notes from a debrief to add to the coaching log without doing too much page flipping. Also, when I go into a debrief, next steps from our last conversation are up front and center for me to see.

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Click Here to Download Coaching Log

I print out my typed up notes before going into a debrief and then handwrite additional notes from there. I used to type notes during a debrief, but wondered if it would help my coaching conversations feel more personal if I did away with the computer screen barrier. So far I think I made a good decision.

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Oh, and I put together this planning tool to help me think through my coaching conversations. It’s essentially a lesson plan for coaches.

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Based on thinking from the EL Network

Click Here to Download

I keep a copy of this handy in the reference section of my notebook.

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This Coaching Sentence Stems reference sheet (by Elena Aguilar) has been another good addition to this section. You can use it when planning for or even during coaching conversations.

 

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Note taking systems for coaches are obviously very personal. What works for me might not work for you. When developing/tweaking your own, I think the most important components to consider include:

  • ease of use
  • flexibility
  • keeps you organized
  • tracks progress
  • you like using it!

Check off those pieces and you’re good to go!

Thanks for reading,

ms-houser

 

 

Creating a Coaching Work Plan

As part of my summer reading this year I read the recently published book, “The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation” by Elena Aguilar. Elena writes a great blog over at edweek that I enjoy reading so I knew her book would be a good one to spend some time with. She offers a ton of helpful information in her book, but the chapter that really caught my attention was on developing a coaching work plan. This can be a tricky process and one that really needs to be thought out and planned for carefully as it provides a road map for the work you’ll do with teachers. Elena provides ten steps in developing a work plan and explains that they do not have to be sequential. But rather, the process should be flexible and circular. After reading through the steps, I jotted down some notes on how the process made the most sense to me in the context of coaching at my school. Because a good visual always helps me make better sense of information, I created one to represent my thinking and am hoping it will be helpful to other coaches as well.

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Once the work plan is created, it’s doesn’t have to be set in stone. You may choose to revise or narrow it along the way given any number of reasons which may present themselves.

What are your thoughts? Does this process make sense to you or do you see it differently? To comment, just click on the comment box above.

Thanks for reading,

ms-houser

Resources

I thought it would be helpful to create a handy resource page with my free printables, favorite books, resources, and tools! Use this list to help you choose a couple new titles to add to your saw sharpening list, identify tools to help you stay organized, and even a few resources to help you kickstart a blog of your own. I’ll make sure to add to this list as I read more and learn more. Enjoy!

FREE PRINTABLES

BOOKS

Coaching

leverage-leadership

Leverage Leadership

I heard about this one through the Coaching Teachers course I took on Coursera. The chapter of the book that I’ve gravitated the most towards, is on Observation and Feedback. Reading through this chapter, in conjunction with the Coaching Teachers course, gave me a new way to frame my debrief conversations: probing questions to ask, examples of bite sized and high leverage action steps and building in time for practice/implementation.

art-of-coaching1The Art of Coaching

As part of my summer reading a few years back, I read “The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation” by Elena Aguilar. Elena writes a great blog over at edweek that I enjoy reading so I knew her book would be a good one to spend some time with. She offers a ton of helpful information in her book, but the chapter that really caught my attention was on developing a coaching work plan. Elena provides ten steps in developing a work plan and explains that they do not have to be sequential.

jim-knight

Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction

I’m a big fan of Jim Knight. He knows a ton about instructional coaching and there is so much we can learn from him. This was the first book of his I read, which has some great tools and practical ideas to offer.

 

 

Leadership

unmistakable-impact

Unmistakable Impact

After reading Jim’s first book on instructional coaching, I was on the hunt for more! I read this book over the summer and really enjoyed it. One of my favorite chapters was on facilitating workshops for adults. I was able to apply much of what I learned from this chapter to the weekly professional development sessions I facilitate with teachers. If you’re looking for some tips in this area, this would be a great book for you to check out.

quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

I’m an introvert. A pretty big one actually. So this book totally hit the nail on the head for me and I enjoyed reading every single page. Being an introvert in a leadership role such as coaching, isn’t always easy. Reading this book helped me see I wasn’t the only one out there and helped me feel more resolved to build on the natural strengths I have.

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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

The first thing you’ve got to get straight, when you’re in any kind of a leadership role is your mindset. I refer back to this book often, to help me stay focused on what it means to have a growth mindset. It’s a great book to read and discuss with your staff, as part of a beginning of year PD series.

 

 

Teaching

There Are No Shortcuts

Rafe Esquith has been a long time mentor of mine from afar. He taught in an inner city school for nearly 30 years (I think he still teaches too), and is one of the highest achieving teachers in the nation. Yet his writing style is totally approachable and practical. I love this book and continue to refer teachers to it often.

Journey Towards a Caring Classroom

This book is packed full of awesome initiatives to build community in your classroom. It’s the first book I turn to when I’m in need of a good team building activity. Each idea also includes debrief questions to cover with your class afterwards.

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The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers

Holy visuals! It’s so rare to find an education book that not only has concrete, actionable strategies, but also awesome visuals to go along with each one! I’ve just started dipping into this book, but I already have tons of ideas for how I can improve my anchor charts to better support the strategies I teach.

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Great Habits, Great Readers

The authors of Teach Like a Champion put this book out, and it’s great! It’s the first, and so far only book I’ve found that speaks specifically to reading instruction as it relates to the CC standards. The section on guided reading is especially good and I’ve been referring to it frequently through my coaching with teachers.

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The Next Step in Guided Reading

Here’s another great book for guided reading instruction! It’s super actionable, mapping out how to work with readers at every level. I’ve found it especially helpful for working with Emergent readers.

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Day by Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop

I bought this book after reading how Beth Newingham uses it to support assessment in her reader’s workshop (love her!).   It has some really great resources to work with. One of my favorites is information on using a “Status of the Class” assessment to quickly check in on all of your readers at the start of reader’s workshop.

PRODUCTIVITY

168-hours

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

I really liked this book because it helped me take a close look at how I budget my time. When the school year starts, things can get crazy real fast and it’s easy for all of your time to get sucked up by school. Don’t let that happen! Interesting teachers/coaches lead interesting lives…that means they make time for side hobbies or passions, exercising, cooking…whatever it is you’re into outside of school. Right now would be a good time to start thinking about how you’d like to budget your time to make room for all the things that matter to you and see about making it happen!

getting-things-done

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity

This books has somewhat of a cult following and I’m a member. I learned so much about effective systems and strategies for managing your time and tasks from this book. As a coach, you need to be reliable, dependable, and organized…someone who does what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it. This helps you build trust with teachers and can’t be overlooked. Having effective systems and structures in place helps you to be that kind of coach.

miracle-morning

The Miracle Morning: The Not So Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life

I love routines {yep, sure do} and I’m a total early bird, so this book was right up my alley. Although I’ve always had some kind of morning routine going on, this book presented a new framework for taking full advantage of your AM time. Since reading it, I’ve done some shaking up of my own morning ritual and am working on being more consistent with it. As teachers and coaches we’re giving so much of ourselves to others during the day, my vote is we give a little time to ourselves as well.

Teacherpreneur

startup

The $100 Startup

This is one of the first Entrepreneurial books I read, and the first one that really got me thinking…hey, I really could turn these ideas of mine into something special. We may not make a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the resources to get something that could make us some extra money, started. If you have any interest in monetizing your unique skills and knowledge, I would definitely say give this book a read!

rework

Rework

I listened to this book on Audible, and it got me thinking differently about some mindset and strategy shifts for growing my business. It’s a quick read and doesn’t waste your time with a lot of meaningless info.

PODCASTS

I love listening to podcasts on my commute. I’m driving and sharpening my saw at the same time! Here are a few of my favorites. You can check any of them out for free on iTunes.

  • Smart Passive Income: This is the best podcast for bloggers and teacherpreneurs just starting out. The host, Pat Flynn, is totally down to earth, and I’ve listened to almost all of the episodes.
  • Model Health Show: I’m always eager to learn more about how to keep myself healthy and feeling good. This is a terrific podcast that has helped me improve my health in lots of great ways.
  • School of Greatness: This podcast is great for whenever I’m looking for some inspiration and motivation. He has great guests on a few times a week, who always have terrific stories and strategies for success to share.

PLANNING TOOLS

SCP

Simplified Coaching Planning Kit

I designed this planning kit to help us out with our work as coaches! It’s designed to work flexibly with where you’re at in your work throughout the year. I also have a Simplified Teaching Planning Kit available.

TTP

Time & ToDo Planner

The Time & ToDo Planner was designed for for busy, creative professionals…me and you! With lots of meetings and tons of to-dos each week, I got to thinking…wouldn’t be great if you could see everything you needed to do that week in one easy view? I thought so too, and the Time & ToDo Planner was born!

arc-notebook1

Arc Discbound Notebook

This notebook changed my whole world! I’ve used it for the past three years to hold my Simplified Coaching Notebook and Planner, and I’m still loving it. It lays flat, folds back on itself, and can work super flexibly with your needs.

arc-travel-punch

Discbound Notebook Travel Punch

I carry this travel punch with me in my bag, so I’m always able to print, punch, and add sheets to my notebook whenever I need to!

frixion

Frixion Erasable Pens

I only just discovered these pens this year…I have no idea what I did without them for so long! They’re the only pens I’ll use when working with Time & ToDo Planner, since they allow the ability to easily change and adjust my schedule as I go throughout the week.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase. My opinions are my own and I only recommend goods and services that I believe will genuinely help you.