Coaching Partnership Tools: Part II

In my previous post, I described several of my “go to” tools for planning and reflecting on coaching conversations. In this post, I want to share two of the language tools I use in partnership meetings. When I focus on language, I can ask more precise questions and model how intention to language is important when we work with students and colleagues. The more precise we are with language, the more impact our language can have!

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Coaching Partnership Tools: Part I

As I engage in mid-year reflection on my goals as an instructional coach, I would like to share some of the tools I use to plan and engage in coaching meetings. I call these coaching meetings “partnership meetings” because both my colleague and I are learning together. It is my job, as a coach, to reflect on, and plan for the conversations. Intentional planning focuses on ensuring that conversations focus on my colleague’s goals and priorities, while centering students, especially our formerly marginalized students. In this post, and an upcoming part two, I want to summarize some useful coaching tools. Continue reading “Coaching Partnership Tools: Part I”

Shifting the Balance: Disciplinary Literacy Connections

I’m finally making time to read Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom, thanks to a colleague who is reading it with me and discussing direct application of the reading to her classroom. As I’m reading, I’m making connections to Disciplinary Literacy. In this post I want to explore some of my initial connections and takeaways. As always, I look forward to feedback and ideas from my readers, as I know many of you are reading, or have already read the book!

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Data Protocols

Over the past few weeks we have engaged in data talks at my school and several colleagues from other sites have asked me to share effective protocols for data talks. Ever since I began developing my facilitation and coaching skills, protocols have intrigued me. Not only do protocols provide structure and a predictable, transparent routine, but they also can be intentionally designed to support asset-based and equity-rich conversations. In this post I want to share some of what I have learned and, as always, I hope to learn from reader suggestions and feedback.

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Tools for Calling In to Conversations About Race

A colleague recently said to me, “We know we are doing important equity work if people are asking lots of questions, when people are getting uncomfortable.” Like many, I like to refer to the conversations we have as Healing or Courageous Conversations rather than Hard Conversations. In a recent email, Elena Aguilar called these simply “Conversations About Race.” Aguilar writes, “Even if they’re uncomfortable or complicated, these conversations can bring relief, closure, and closeness.” I think that Hard Conversations are about me, while Healing and Courageous focus on the purpose which is to address racist actions, biases, and microaggressions. The purpose is to be an advocate for marginalized groups and to plant seeds of awareness, reflection, and potentially transformation for those who intentionally or unintentionally cause harm. The purpose, in education, is to continually ask “How Are the Children?” In this post, I want to share two tools to help engage in Conversations About Race.

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Speak Up to Call In

One of my school’s goals this year is to engage in Strategic Listening and to lean into Courageous Conversations. We know that the language we use has an impact on students, colleagues, and families. The language we use also reflects our beliefs, and by being intentional on our language choices, we can increase our own self-awareness and shift beliefs. As educators, we must strive to examine our language and beliefs. We must also support each other in this work to help us see our blind spots and to grow as social justice educators; and that happens through conversation. In this post, I want to highlight some ideas from Teaching Tolerance’s Speak Up Guide, in order to synthesize the guide and to share this important resource with others.

“Every moment that bias goes unanswered
is a moment that allows its roots to grow deeper and stronger.
Bias left unanswered is bias tacitly approved.
If you don’t speak up, you are saying, in your silence,
that you condone it.”    – Speak Up Guide

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Joy: I’m a Published Author!

I’ve been writing this blog for two years! Writing is one of the ways I show my creativity and honor my core value of sharing what I have learned with others. One of my dreams has been to be a published author, and that dream came true last week when my first article was published on Edutopia. Today I am celebrating this goal, and looking forward to my upcoming writing projects.

Please check out my article:

Fostering Identity, Joy, and Skill Development


Protocols, Protocols, Protocols!

Yesterday I learned about the “Sailboat Protocol” and want to write today about the protocol because it has so many potential uses: for coaching partnerships, teams, and student engagement and empowerment. Protocols are powerful because they provide structure, interdependence, and language to collaborative conversations. Structure frees up our energy and thinking so that we can hear all voices in the room and create transformational ideas together. The “Sailboat Protocol” is a useful way to address personalization and equity because it is a structured protocol and because of the steps that keep the focus on addressing barriers and moving towards our desired state.

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Thanks for the Feedback: The Conversation

In the last post, I summarized tips for giving and receiving feedback, and triggers from Thanks for the Feedback, by Stone and Heen. In this post I will continue using the book as a resource and will cover the components of an effective feedback conversation.

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Thanks for the Feedback

The past two posts have focused on feedback based on the book  Tell Me So I Can Hear You, by Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano. Today’s post will continue the theme of feedback, using the book Thanks for the Feedback, by Stone and Heen. Learning to give and receive feedback are skills that can be, and should be cultivated as we grow as educators. It is important to recognize that both the giver and receiver of feedback are learners in the process. In order to embrace the learning, we need to recognize our feedback triggers.

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