Search results: coaching work plan

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.

Work_Plan_Infographic

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

Getting Started with Blended Instructional Coaching

In a recent meeting with updates on distance learning, I saw a visual during the presentation that made me go, “Ah-ha!” That makes sense!

Essentially, the visual inspired me to make the connection between blended learning and blended instructional coaching. Just as students can engage in meaningful learning in a variety of environments, so can teachers. It makes our work as coaches a little trickier, but doable.

Whether you are currently coaching remote, hybrid, or in-person I would say that moving forward, all of our work will be blended in some capacity. And so I created this graphic to help me better understand how we can approach supporting the professional learning of teachers in a blended environment.

If you’d like to learn more about how I’ve been applying this blended coaching framework in my role, please consider joining me in the Getting Started with Instructional Coaching Pocket PD.

I’ve also created a fun planning kit to go along with the learning!

In this Pocket PD I’ll walk you through how I have been applying this blended coaching framework to my own work this year.

And lastly, there will be an optional follow-up Q&A on Zoom offered. Let’s chat and figure this out together!

Looking forward to it!

Getting Started with Blended Instructional Coaching: Pocket PD

  Blended Instructional Coaching - remote, hybrid, and in-person

Is instructional coaching feeling harder this year with all the changes?

Well, you’re not alone. And I’ve just created a resource to help you navigate it all.

In this Pocket PD, we’ll chat about what Blended Instructional Coaching is and the three-step framework you can use to successfully get started.

As a full-time instructional coach, I’m currently doing the real, day-day work and I get it.

This is why I’ve designed this brand-new Pocket PD, just for coaches like you.

In Getting Started with Blended Instructional Coaching , I’m looking forward to:

  • Sharing my own coaching work as a case study in how you can apply the three-step framework to get started with blended instructional coaching
  • Motivating you to take on new challenges and learning this year with positivity 
  • Helping you create clear next steps for how to adjust and improve your own blended coaching work this year

I’m not perfect, but I have over ten years of coaching experience and I’d love to work alongside you. Let’s figure this out together!

Here’s What You’ll Learn…

1. Watch the Blended Instructional Coaching Video

  • Learn what Blended Instructional Coaching is
  • How to make sense of remote, hybrid, and in-person instructional coaching to plan your coaching cycles and coaching calendar
  • Tools and printables to you with your blended coaching work

2. Attend a Together Coaching Call

  • Join Ms. Houser on a Zoom call to discuss blended instructional coaching
  • Get answers to your questions about blended coaching
  • Connect with other coaches working in this new blended model

3. Download and Use Your 16 Coaching Resources and Printables

  • Fun and colorful printables to help you apply your learning
  • Inspiration for moving forward

Pocket PD Specifics

icon-video
Instructional video
where we walk through how to get started with blended instructional coaching 
icon-worksheets
16 Printables
to help you plan and put your learning into action
icon-feedback
Together Coaching Call (Pro & Elite)
to get your specific questions answered, and chat directly with Ms. Houser about blended coaching
icon-observation
Pocket PD Slides
 for taking notes and improving understandings

Coaching Q&A

Pro and Elite Pocket PD members are invited to attended a live, Together Coaching Call with Ms. Houser via Zoom to discuss Blended Instructional Coaching and get their specific questions answered. There will be various times offered and they will be recorded and shared, if you’re unable to attend. Additionally, there is a dedicated Pocket PD Coaching Question and Answer section for Pro and Elite Pocket PD members

Get direct, 1-on-1 answers to all your questions, as well as read from the growing list of Q&As from your fellow coaches.

Upcoming Together Coaching Calls:

  • Saturday, October 24th – 2pm ET / 11am PT
  • Future dates available soon.
  • You’ll be able notified by email of upcoming dates and times.

Pocket PD Plus

$25

per member


  • 1 Year
    Pocket PD Access
  • 16 Downloadable
    Pocket PD Printables
  • Unlimited
    Video Streaming

Pocket PD Elite

$55

per member


Note: This Pocket PD pricing is for single-seat membership.

Getting Started with Instructional Coaching FAQs

Do you offer Group Memberships?
Yes! Simply select the membership level you would like for your group. Then in the cart change the quantity to the number in your group. Discounts will be applied automatically. and I’ll work with you to get all members setup with access.

Do you offer Purchase Orders (POs)?
Yes, of course. Please email me directly with the level and number of members and I will send over a PO. Once payment has been received, I will help get all members setup with access to the pocket PD.

I’m looking forward to learning alongside you! Questions? Please email me at workshop@mshouser.com!

Creating a Coaching Invitation

Wouldn’t it be super awesome if you had teachers constantly knocking on your door throughout the year, excitedly asking to work with you in a coaching cycle?

“Hey Kristin! I’d love to get started in a student centered coaching cycle with you connected to the 3rd grade informative writing standard. This is an area I’d really love for my students to make growth in next quarter. I can get started on creating a pre-assessment for us to work from if that works for you??”

OR

“Kristin! What do you think about co-teaching together next quarter? I’m working to get a handle on this new curriculum and I’d love you as a thought partner in helping plan through some of the lessons. It’d be extra cool if you could micro-model a portion of the close read aloud and then we could conference with a few students together and learn from each other’s formative assessment data!!”

Ahhh, dreamy.

I’d love to say this is my reality throughout the year, but it’s not.

And that’s ok.

Teachers get busy, and stressed, and overwhelmed, and sometimes getting excited about working in a coaching cycle is the last thing on their minds.

So, what to do? Well you don’t just sit around and wait for the excited knocks to come, feeling defeated when they don’t.

You stay positive, get out there, and continue to nurture the culture of coaching you’ve worked hard to create.

One way I worked to put this move into practice earlier this week, was by sending out an invite. Yep, a coaching invite.

There were a few things I worked to keep in mind in creating this. Let me walk you through my invitation creation process.

 

 

Push yourself to work your creative muscles a bit, and think outside the standard text in an email message. Sure, it gets the job done, but you’re working to get teachers excited about coaching remember? So could you try:

  • Make a short animated video as an invite.
  • Create an colorful brochure using Canva, export it as a PDF, and embed it in your email.
  • Design a color print-out with some fun graphics, maybe throw in some candy, and drop it off in teachers boxes.
  • Build an illustrated newsletter using Smore.

The sky’s the limit!

 

 

You like being given some choices with your learning, and so do teachers. They may be up for working with you, just not right now.

When creating your invite, pull out your Time & ToDo Planner. Consider what chunks of time you have for the remainder of this year to work with teachers, and which periods of time work best, given breaks and testing schedules. Based on this, provide options for teachers around the time period when they might work with you.

 

 

Do teachers in your building even have a solid understanding of what coaching with you will look like? The time commitment included? How it will benefit them?

Hmmm…

Even if you have worked with teachers before, you may have changed some things, or maybe it’s just been awhile. Not to mention the new teachers who may be in your building this year.

Either way, this could be a good opportunity for you to revisit what a coaching cycle actually is. The overview is brief!

Think about how to distill the work you do down down to 3-5 major bullet points, and share this in your invite.

 

 

Teachers will naturally have wonders, worries, or concerns about working in a coaching cycle that may be preventing them from signing up. Take a minute to think through what these might be. Great. Now consider how you might tactfully address 2-3 of these, very briefly, in your invite.

Here are a few that came up for me:

  • I have a lot going on, is this going to feel like something extra added to my plate?
  • Can you tell me a bit more about what “coaching in the classroom” will look like?
  • I’d love to work in a coaching cycle with my team. Is this a possibility?

 

 

Consider how you’d like to structure your coaching cycles throughout the year. How many rounds will you do? How many teachers can you work with in each round?

Also consider teacher needs. Send your invitation out well before you’d like your next cycle to start. Give them some time to process your invite, and respond.

I decided to send my invite out two weeks before fall break, as I’d like to start my next round right when we get back.

Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to actually create the invite. It took me a good few hours to draft, edit, and finalize mine.

 

 

OK, so here’s a look at what your invite might look/sound like when it’s all put together.

 

 

You sent it! Great job!

But…you’re not done there. Just because you sent the initial invite doesn’t mean every teacher will be banging down your door with a “YES!” RSVP. You will likely have to follow-up with teachers.

 

 

Plan to follow-up personally with the teacher who you would like to work with but hasn’t responded yet. I like to think of my coaching invite as a conversation starter. So, no pressure here, just follow-up with them to chat about what might be on their minds for coaching.

I hope this post gave you some ideas for how you might think about how you work to invite teachers into coaching cycles with you.

Let me know if you have questions in the comments, otherwise get those fun and fresh invites going!

My Instructional Coaching Kit Set-Up

As I was walking through Target the other day, I got all excited when I came across the “back to school” aisle. I’m pretty much like a little kid when it comes to back to school prep. I love it!

One of my back to school purchases for this year was a new discbound agenda to use for setting up my Coaching Kit.

I’ve been using an Instructional Coaching Planning Kit now for the past several years, and it’s one of the most important tools in my “stay organized” coaching system.

For the past few days, I’ve been working on getting mine set up for this year, and I thought I’d give you a little walk-through of how it’s coming along.

Let’s take a look!

As I mentioned, I highly recommend using a discbound notebook for your Coaching Kit over a clipboard, three ring binder, or really anything else. They lay flat, and fold over nicely which comes in so handy when I’m in classrooms taking notes, meeting with teachers, or need my PD agenda ready to reference.

I love discbound planners so much, I designed one for Time & ToDo Planner. These discbound planners are brand new for this year!

I made a customized cover for myself to place in the front. I chose Turquoise to compliment my Time & ToDo Planner. In the shop, I’m offering customized covers if you’d like one as well!

Customized Covers - Cover

The Coaching Kit’s table of contents has a suggested order for setting things up. However, feel free to identify and order your sections in whichever way makes the most sense to you. And remember, you can always tweak and adjust as the year goes on.

I have both “school” and “personal” tabs in my Kit, as I find that my school and personal lives overlap in many ways. For example, I like to keep my Weekly Meal Planning sheets as a section, so I can stay on track with my goals for the week.

For the tabs themselves, you can use something as simple as white Avery label dividers, or you can purchase discbound dividers. To add a bit more color, I also like to use Washi Tape for making my labels.

Here are the current sections I have:

  • Coaching
  • Meetings
  • Grade Levels
  • PD
  • Projects
  • Flylady
  • Biz
  • Meals
  • Notes
  • Reference

Behind my cover page, I have a Vertical Year at a Glance. While I do keep all of my appointments and dates in my Time & ToDo Planner (TTP), I find that it is also helpful for me to have this Year at a Glance in my Coaching Kit for those occasions that I may not have my TTP on me. I also like the friendly overview of the school year that this calendar provides.

On to the first tab of my Kit, “Coaching.” To start, I printed off a copy of my First 90 Days as a Instructional Coach printable. Even though I’ve been coaching for awhile now, I still find it nice to have this as a reference to help guide me through those first weeks/months.

I also plan to use this printable to help me establish goals for the 1st Quarter. Goal setting I feel, is a great practice for all of us to take on in both our personal and professional lives. Having clear goals helps me stay motivated and driven in my work.

Although I won’t be starting any official coaching cycles the first few weeks of school, I’ve printed off a copy of my Coaching Schedule printable so I’m ready to go when I meet with our principal to discuss teachers to work with.

The next section is reserved for Meetings. Whether for an after school staff meeting, our weekly coaches meeting, or an impromptu meeting with a teacher, I have printed off a few of my Meeting Notes forms so I’m ready to go.

In my PD section, I have a copy of the PD Year Plan from my PD Planning Kit. It helps me to have a visual of PD scheduled for the year, as well as any sessions I will be responsible for facilitating so that I can give myself plenty of time to plan and prep.

I also have my agenda printed and ready to go for our first PD with new teachers this week!

I decided to include a Projects section this year, as I often find myself taking on different kinds of projects throughout the year. I use this sheet to help me plan, set timelines, and keep track of the different tasks connected to that single project.

Next up, I have my Flylady section. I use this as part of my home management/cleaning system. There’s nothing better than coming home to a clean and orderly house at the end of a long day, and this is one of the tools I use to help me with this. I plan my zone cleaning tasks weekly, and complete them after school. If you’d like to learn more about how I use the Flylady system, leave me a note in the comments :)

As I mentioned earlier, I do keep my Weekly Meal Planning sheets in my Kit. I actually find I glance at my meal plan rather frequently, either to remind myself of what we’re having for dinner and what I need to do when I get home, or to quickly jot down an item I’ve remembered that I need to get at the store that week.

My Notes section is reserved for any free form planning or brainstorming I might do during the day.

And lastly, I have a Reference section. As of now, I have our school calendar for the year printed off, a Resource Checkout Form which I know I’ll soon need, and an Idea Tracker. I use my idea Tracker to capture all those random thoughts/ideas that come up during the day, which don’t need to be recorded as a to-do in my Time & ToDo Planner, yet I don’t want to loose sight of them either.

So there it is! Having this ready to go for school beginning this week, has helped me feel much more relaxed and confident in starting the school year. There will be a lot to do, but my Coaching Kit will work its magic as always in helping me to stay organized.

All of these printables can be found in either my Coaching Kit, or other listings in my shop. Check it out, and please let me know if you have any questions!

Talk soon, and thanks for reading!

How to use Binders for Organizing Your Coaching Notes

Say what?! Binders?! Aren’t those a totally old school way to stay organized?

Well, I guess it depends on who you ask, but for me the answer is — Uh…no! Let’s chat.

At the end of the year, one thing I like to do is reflect back on all of the systems and structures I used to help me with my work and stay organized. I’m pretty much always tweaking, revising, or trying out different ideas.

One of the new systems I tried out this year to keep all of my notes organized, was a binder system. And I loved it!

Paper helps me think, process, and solidify all my various types of notes much more deeply than my laptop.

As explained in the article, “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard,” taking notes on your laptop may result in shallower processing and less effective learning. In using pen and paper to take observation notes, coaching meeting notes, or planning notes, you’re forced to more thoroughly process the information coming in and record key takeaways you know will be valuable, versus just transcribing everything.

And for coaches, this is super important!! I would also argue that paper notes support focus, and are less distracting than having a screen in front of you all the time.

To be clear, I’m not anti-tech. I use G-Drive and Evernote as an extension of my note taking system, but largely paper is where it’s “mightily” at for me :)

OK, paper vs. tech debate aside, let’s talk binders.

I always thought binders were kind of dumb and annoying because the only ones I had ever really used were the standard plastic, flimsy ones. Then I watched a video of Alejandra (fellow neat freak!) share how she uses Better Binders to organize her home office. She got me thinking that these binders could be the ideal tool to help me keep my paper notes and plans organized.

I headed to Staples, grabbed a few, and found that they would be the perfect fit for my binder storage system.

Each binder would essentially be a different “bucket” for organizing my notes. I didn’t want too many, so I narrowed it down to four binders:

Each binder would also have different sections. So for the section tabs, I went with the Avery Ready Index Tabs. They’re super light weight, so they don’t take up a bunch of space, and I like how they provide a friendly table of contents view right up front.

OK, now that we’ve gone over the set-up of this binder system, let’s talk about how I actually use them to keep me organized!

In my Coaching Kit, I have a section titled, “Daily Materials.” At the start of each day, I’ll plan out what notes, observation forms, materials, etc. I’ll need for that day. Some of these notes/materials are often a continuation of work from the day before or earlier in the week. When this is the case, I’ll reference the appropriate binder, grab what I need, and quickly be ready to start the day.

Then at the end of the day, I’ll go through all my “Daily Materials” notes, check for any to-dos to add to my Time & ToDo Planner, then file the remaining notes back into my binders.

note taking system

This overall process ensures that my notes remain active and alive, rather than being buried in a notebook and forgotten about. I’m constantly reviewing and reflecting on past work which helps me to more accurately plan upcoming work. Furthermore, it’s hard for me to miss a “to-do” captured in my notes since this system of review just doesn’t allow it.

I’m feeling pretty good in my end of year reflection, as this will definitely be a system that I use again next year.

And speaking of next year, I’d love your feedback!

If you have a second, I would really appreciate if you shared your thoughts for how I can continue to support and motivate you in your work as a coach. As a thank you, here is a free download of the binder covers I use! They’re also editable so you can customize them with a monogram and title, to your liking :)

Share your thoughts, Get Free Binder Covers

Thanks so much, and hope your year is winding down well! If you have any questions, always feel free to ask in the comments.

4 Steps for Creating a Coaching Cycle Schedule

Earlier this week, I broke out the cool new pens I got for Christmas and got to work on putting together my coaching cycle schedule for this next quarter.

Creating new schedules throughout the year is a cool opportunity for us coaches. It’s kind of like having a mini beginning-of-school-year kick off more than just once :)

You get to reset and regroup for a new journey ahead with new “students” to motivate and move forward.

I know that sometimes creating a coaching cycle schedule can feel overwhelming, so I wanted to share the steps I use to simplify the process a bit and make it fun.

OK, now that we’ve got those steps and tips down, grab yourself a nice bright sheet of white paper and head over to the printer. I just designed a new Scheduling Tool I want to share with you.

It’s simple, fun, and includes space at the top to jot down a few goals for your upcoming coaching cycles. And because I think quotes are cool and inspiring, I included one of those too :)

Once you have it printed out, you can pop it in your Coaching Kit. I like to put mine front and center, along with a color coded index of the teachers I’ll be working with. You know me and color coding :) The colors help me quickly find the different “sections” for teachers. So when I head into a classroom, I can just whip my Kit right open to that color.

Want to learn more about how I work through coaching cycles? Check out the Walk Through a Coaching Cycle Workshop, where we walk through a full coaching cycle together.

I’ll also help answer some of those logistic questions that come up:

  • How many teachers do you work with during your coaching cycles?
  • How many observations and feedback meetings do you schedule x week?
  • Do you always set-up face-face feedback meetings, or do you use email at all?

Here’s what Nancy C. had to say about her Coaching Workshop experience:

“First of all, I want to tell you that I absolutely LOVE your documentation and your videos! What a fantastic package you’ve put together. This is only my second year as a Literacy Coach so I’m really just learning as I go along and your clear and concise way of explaining the coaching cycle is EXACTLY what I needed. I cannot thank you enough.

Here we go Coaching Cycles, here we go!! Whoop whoop.

Alright friend, I’m feeling really good about this second half of the school year. If there are any other topics or resources you’d like me to share heading into this year, be sure to let me know!