Sneak Peek into "The Coaching Partnership: Collaboration for Systematic Change"

Coaching. It's quite a dynamic role. Being a coach might be uncomfortable and demanding at times. However, it can be pleasurable and gratifying, too. Even though I've just begun my 24th year as an educator, and have an abundance of strategies in my teacher tool belt when working with children, I must declare, when it comes to the world of *teaching adults*, I'm a newbie. 

For numerous years, I've dabbled in supporting adults in a variety of ways, such as supervising student-teachers and mentoring new staff. However, my role as a Literacy Coach for the past (going on) three years has been an entirely unique journey. There have been an abundance of impactful ups, alongside a smattering of setbacks. If I am being honest, mistakes have been made and situations have been approached in a semi-regrettable manner. I say "semi-regrettable" because we all need to endure difficult times to come out stronger in the long run. I guess that's pretty much life, though. Nonetheless, I have learned from all of my experiences and have witnessed some tremendous growth on my end. Tons of self-reflection happening over here!

Apart from having a bit of experience in this role, as well as a Literacy Coach team like no other, another undertaking that has helped me jump start my impact as a coach is reading professional texts. If you were to peruse my blog, you'd see an assortment of posts highlighting some of those texts, many of them being books published by Scholastic. 

My latest read is The Coaching Partnership: Collaboration for Systematic Change by Rosemarye T. Taylor and Carol Chanter. This book is packed with comprehensive tips and suggestions to guide change-agents in increasing student achievement. I've highlighted and tagged much of the book's contents, which support collaboration, inquiry, generative thinking, communication strategies, delivery modes, self-reflection, and, of course, on-going learning.
For my "sneak peek" posts, I usually reveal what's in the Table of Contents. Look below and you'll see the book is divided into three parts: Part 1: Learning Partners, Part 2: Learning Process, and Part 3: Learning Breakthroughs. Within these three parts, you'll find real-life vignettes called From the Field that are accompanied by Questions for Reflection to support professional reflection on the readers' end. You'll also come across suggested supplemental resources riddled throughout its pages referencing useful coaching blogs and other professional book titles supporting coaching partnerships, as well as links to self-assessment surveys to encourage additional learning.  

If you're anything like me, you may find it helpful to view videos of coaches in action or coaching gurus sharing advice. This book provides readers with an online, password protected site containing videos and downloadable resources. Below are images of what the site has to offer. It provides all the tools you'll require to  better help you optimize and implement the coaching partnership system. 

For "sneak peek" posts, I also enjoy sharing tips or advice I've highlighted directly from the book that have served me well. It is my hope to give you better insight into The Coaching Partnership: Collaboration for Systematic Change. I definitely recommend the book!
  • A feeling of continuous growth is a wonderful source of motivation and confidence (p.12).
  • Administrators determine the value given to coaching and mentoring in their schools (p.13).
  • The intent is for each person in the learning partnership to be empowered to improve the outcomes of the partnership (p.24).
  • Having a well-thought-out focus for coaching can help target and achieved desired outcomes (p.29).
  • If adult learning is valued, then administrators will find ways to carve out time for opportunities for teachers to observe each other, discuss learning, and analyze student evidence of learning (p.37).
  • To overcome barriers or negative experiences, in-person meetings are almost always recommended over email, if only for the frequency with which emails can be misunderstood (p.62).
  • In the coaching partnership, all are equal in asking for, receiving and giving coaching and feedback (p.63).
  • To facilitate authentic discussions that build rapport and trust, we suggest replacing the common "Any questions?" with "Jot down your wonders" (p.66).
  • In contrast to norms in school cultures, norms of collaboration are deliberately developed and agreed to. Norms foster collaboration, build relationships, and help avoid interactions that may derail the learning process (p.71).
  • The power of coaching is this--you are expected to give people the path to find answers, not the answers (p.83).
  • Whether coaching groups or individuals, learn how to take people through the steps of identifying a problem of practices, setting learning goals, learning, gathering and analyzing evidence, reflecting, and refining practice. This sophisticated skill of moving adult learners along a continuum of instructional expertise is the heart and soul of the coaching role (p.95).
  • An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them (p.100).
  • Leaders are those who empower others (p.120).
If you're interested in snagging a free copy of your own, drop a comment below to be entered in a giveaway. :) 

Happy Coaching!

Reading Revealed: 50 Expert Teachers Share What They Do and Why They Do It~ Sneak Peek!

Diane Stephens, Jerome C. Harste, and Jean Anne Clyde joined forces, alongside a nifty fifty expert teachers, to write Reading Revealed: 50 Expert Teachers Share What They Do and Why They Do ItIn the Introduction, Diane Stephens states, This book is based on the premise that no matter how long we have been teaching, no matter how good we are as teachers, we can always do a better job tomorrow than we did today (p.11). So true! As a Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach, I am always seeking manageable ways to continue learning, growing and improving as an educator in order to support student growth in all areas of literacy. 
If you were to peek into the Table of Contents, you'd notice four parts, Part I: Knowing Reading, Part II: Knowing Readers, Part III: Engaging Readers, and Part IV: Knowing the Language to Usewhich include thirty eight *engagements*, or instruction and assessment actions to engage students in a variety of ways, such as Reading Interviews, Book Clubs, Strategy Sharing, Written Conversations, Class Journals, and more.
Each *engagement* provides a Why? (advantages), Who? (those who may benefit), How? (materials needed & step-by-step procedures), Closure/Stepping Back (conclusion), and How's It Going? Informal Assessment section to support educators in diving deeper into its implementation. Examples of student work, classroom vignettes, photographs, and more are also displayed throughout the pages. The *engagements* can be implemented straightaway because they are well organized and explicitly explained. 
Furthermore, the book provides readers with an online, password-protected site containing videos and downloadable resources that accompany the *engagements*. Below are images of what the site has to offer. 

For this post, I also wanted to highlight some quotes and tips taken directly from the book to give you better insight into Reading Revealed: 50 Expert Teachers Share What They Do and Why They Do It.
  • The authors show the deep, intentional thinking that all students can engage in when their teachers understand that comprehension is the end-all and be-all of reading, and when they understand that reading must always make sense and sound like language (or it's not reading) (p.9).
  • In the hands of expert, responsive teachers who have fingertip access to classroom and school libraries brimming with beautiful books that kids want to read- and who know reading, know their students, and know how to engage them- all children will discover the joy and power of reading (p.10).

  • As you learn, share what you know and, as you bring the ideas of others into your classrooms, make your ideas become parts of other people's classrooms (p.18).
  • Teachers who are kidwatchers understand their students as people, which makes it possible to plan more responsively, see more clearly, and appreciate students in ways that percentages and letter grades simply don't allow (p.30).
  • It would be hard for students to learn that reading is about meaning-making if, in school, reading is about getting the words right (p.82).
  • Independent reading works when we create a context in which the focus is on meaning, students are reading books they want to read and with which they feel successful, and students consider reading to be pleasurable (p.84).
  • As students become more experienced in talking about books, you can help them develop and awareness of the power of conversation by asking, "What did you learn about reading and what readers do from talking about books?" (p.135).
  • We strongly believe that teachers need to know kids and get kids engaged with books- two responsibilities that work hand-in-hand (p.224). 
  • We learn the most about kids when they are engaged (p.224).
  • No matter the size of the group, we need to get to know our students and identify their strengths and needs (p.224).
Thanks for taking a sneak peek. Leave a thoughtful comment for a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself!  :)

#D100bloggerPD Book Study Kickoff on 'Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead'

Welcome back for another #D100bloggerPD crew book study. I always take pleasure in starting our book study kickoff with an introduction of the crew. We consist of an assortment of Berwyn South School District teacher and administrator learners who enjoy blogging, are smitten with social media and make use of our PLNs as an irreplaceable source of powerful content, hence the hashtag #D100bloggerPD. We devote ourselves to staying globally connected. The crew embraces change, strives to better ourselves professionally, desires to join forces with our PLNs to share what we learn, and aims to inspire others (#D100inspires) because we are better together.

Our #D100bloggerPD book study is dedicated to Brené Brown's Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and LeadEven though this is the first book I've read by Brené Brown, it certainly won't be the last. (I've already started Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts!) If I were to have read this book and watched Brown's TEDTalk sooner, the opportunity for an awakening would have come to me a few years prior to 2019. Live and learn, I guess. :)

Daring Greatly is a *food for the soul* type of book. I've already witnessed how Daring Greatly is an invaluable, necessary, hopeful and inspiring book. It highlights Brené Brown's years of research on vulnerability and shame and her commitment to dispel the myth that vulnerability is a weakness. This post focuses on the first sections of her book, including What It Means to Dare GreatlyIntroduction: My Adventures into the Arena, and Chapter 1- Scarcity: Looking Inside Our Culture of "Never Enough." I also added a few thought-provoking quotes I found within the Facebook group, which are applicable to the first portions of the book. Let's get started. 

What It Means to Dare Greatly
Right out of the gates, Brown voices, Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly (p. 2). 
Brown's book centers around Theodore Roosevelt's speech given in 1910, which uses the term daring greatly and the idea that we must be courageous and willing to engage in order to step into life's arena. 
Daring greatly is about getting uncomfortable, being unsure and feeling exposed. It's about raw emotions out in the open. It's being truly seen by others. #VulnerabilityRocks ;)
Introduction: My Adventures into the Arena
According to Brown, she's spent her entire life attempting to outsmart vulnerability (p.7). In the introduction, Brown shares a take away from her years studying social work. Her original view was that social work is all about fixing things, but in actuality, she's learned it's about leaning in and being able to connect. Humans are all about connection. We are hardwired to connect with others, ...and without it there is suffering. I wanted to develop research that explained the anatomy of connection (p.8).

Brown believes our human experiences can lead us to wholehearted living. Wholehearted people are those who believe in their worthiness and are most resilient to shame.
As Brown discusses her adventures into the arena, she mentions her well-known TEDTalk, The Power of Vulnerability. She was asked to dare greatly in June of 2010 at TEDxHouston. Brown explains her agreement to speak at TEDxHouston stemmed from faith in her research, not necessarily from self-confidence. Vulnerability would take me where I wanted or maybe needed to go (p.13). Even though Brown claims she had the worst vulnerability hangover after the TEDTalk, the sharing of her research caused her to write Daring Greatly. I'm so glad she did because it has given me, and I'm sure so many others, clarity on being vulnerable to live life to the fullest. 
We all have the power and desire (even, if unknowingly, at first) to unlock our own doors to a fully-engaged self. Challenges of stepping into the arena have been experienced by us all. I found it reassuring to read Brown's own challenging moments, including her TEDTalk experience, as well as the personal stories shared by those connected to her research.

When I think about my educational career, from entering the teaching field as a student teacher, to changing grade levels as a classroom teacher, to becoming a Reading Specialist and now a Literacy Coach, I've unquestionably experienced the arena. During my journey, I've floundered in the zone of uncertainty, become well-versed in awkward moments and have been exposed to minor and major failures along the way.

A daring greatly experience I'm grateful for includes my colleague and friend, Michelle over at BigTime Literacy. A handful of years ago, we decided to present together at the Illinois Reading Council Conference, which was new to me, but something Michelle had done before. You see, Michelle dares greatly on a daily basis, and since I admire her and her courageous acts, I followed Michelle's lead and jumped on board.
I'm not a huge fan of public speaking. As Jerry Seinfeld says, people's number one fear is public speakingMy agreement to present in front of strangers at a highly attended conference was a huge step towards leaning in to all vulnerability has to offer. After taking that first step into the arena, I've continued to present at conferences (once more with Michelle at our district's iEngage Conference), as well as at district Institute Days, staff meetings and more. Thanks, Michelle! ;) Beyond this specific experience, I want you to know every member that has popped in and out of the #D100bloggerPD Crew over the years is in the arena beside me. We all dare greatly and have given support to one another. I commend them all! 
Brown states the core of Daring Greatly is this: What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen (p.16).
Chapter 1- Scarcity: Looking Inside Our Culture of "Never Enough" 
In the first chapter of the book, Brown takes a look at narcissism through the lens of vulnerability and the idea that people have a shame-based fear of being ordinary. She discusses how social media and reality television shows have distorted our sense of the world and has impacted some people to believe they are only as good as the number of likes on social media (p.23). This distorted outlook leads to a culture of scarcity, or the "never enough" problem. She states the culture of scarcity ...allows us to accurately identify the greatest cultural influence of our time- the environment that not only explains what everyone is calling a narcissism epidemic, but also provides a panoramic view of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are slowly changing who we are and how we live, love, work, lead, parent, govern, teach, and connect with one another (p.24).
During her research, Brown asked people to respond to the following phrase: Never__________ enoughShe explains this view of scarcity is thriving because we live in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack (p.26). 
We often feel self-defeated even before our feet hit the floor in the morning. Our constant comparing of ourselves to others is dangerous because, often times, we have a fictional account of how others are living or how "good they have it". We begin to set artificial goals for ourselves and then struggle to achieve them. 

This formula of shame, comparison and disengagement is not only found in the general public, but also in family, school and community cultures. Brown explains how we must all be willing to push back and challenge the culture of scarcity. We must begin living a wholehearted life, one which centers around the belief that we are all worthy and not inadequate (p.29). We must stand together to be brave and to dare greatly. The vulnerability myths that fuel scarcity will be discussed in the next chapter, so stay tuned. 

Thank you for stopping by Literacy Loving Gals to support the #D100bloggerPD book study. As the study continues in the upcoming weeks, the hyperlinks to each #D100bloggerPD crew member's post will be added below to keep Brene Brown's insights from Daring Greatly in one spot. We hope you continue to follow along with us. Next up is the amazingly talented Michelle Brezek over at BigTime Literacy with Chapter 2: Debunking the Vulnerability Myths.

Quick PD Idea based on Serravallo's "Understanding Texts & Readers"

Here's a quick idea based on Jennifer Serravallo's new book, Understanding Texts & Readers: Responsive Comprehension Instruction with Leveled Texts. The amazing ladies over at Tiny Tips and Teeny Tales shared an Instagram post about a Text Bands PD they were going to present. I was able to take the idea and run with it, so my staff may also benefit from the book's contents. Thanks, Ladies!

The images below show a simple chart that explains the characteristics of Plot/Setting, Characters, Themes/Ideas, and Vocabulary/Figurative Language at each text band ranging from Level J to Level W. The chart shown is geared toward fictional texts. I'm optimistic the contents can better support teachers in conferring more productively with students because they will be able to see how the demands placed on the reader change as the complexity increases. I'm hoping to create a similar chart dedicated to informational texts. Coming soon!
Enjoy. :)

Sneak Peek into "From Striving to Thriving Writers: Strategies That Jump-Start Writing" (& Giveaway!)

I've been a huge fan of Stephanie Harvey for many years. It all started with her book, Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement. Since then, she's among a handful of literacy gurus I admire and closely follow to gain perspective from and to become better equipped in best and next literacy practices. Last year, I read her (and Annie Ward's) book, From Striving to Thriving: How to Grow Confident, Capable Readers and raved about their suggestion to *table the labels* to empower children to grow as readers. 

When I got wind of a new Striving to Thriving professional text hitting the shelves, I was interested in taking a peek. I learned much from the first book dedicated to striving readers, including more on the complexities of language learning, but I also had many personal beliefs validated. When my copy of From Striving to Thriving Writers: Strategies That Jump-Start Writing arrived, I was instantly able to see its value.

Stephanie Harvey, Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger joined forces to write the book. On page 6, it states, This book is about helping our students harness the power of language to accomplish their own purposes for writing: to tell a story, to investigate an issue, to prioritize information, to persuade a reader, and to generally inform. 

If you were to peek into the Table of Contents, you'd notice 27 writing frameworks designed to differentiate for and support striving writers, as well as to improve and integrate writing across the curriculum. The frameworks are divided into three parts: Learning About Language, Learning Through Language, and Using Language to Learn About Self
Each framework provides a suggested starting grade-level (Kindergarten through 6th and up) and focus skills. For example, the first three frameworks listed in the picture below are for 'Kindergarten and up': Picture This, Refrain Again, and Scaffolding Into Sharing. Depending on the framework, the focus skills covered may include Persuasive, Descriptive, Research, Vocabulary, and Figurative Language. Take note of Sara Holbrook's tweet below about the grade level suggestions for the frameworks. Teachers know their students best! :)
In order for students to become better equipped writers, they need to write... A LOT...and OFTEN. Voluminous writing is the key to moving writers forward. Holbrook and Salinger discuss 3 ways to support writing in volume: 1. Embed writing in all content areas. 2. Pre-write to get it right. 3. Take it one version at a time. Click HERE to learn more.
The book provides readers with an online, password-protected site that includes downloadable resources available to help educators support students with voluminous writing. The resources include graphic organizers ("GO sheets") for students to use during the pre-writing stages, as well as professional videos of the writing frameworks in action to view firsthand. Having these resources at the tip of our fingers can allow the frameworks to be implemented straightaway. The videos allow readers flexible opportunities to grow professionally, even while at home! Below are a handful of screenshots depicting the online resource site. 

The authors caution in their tweets below that GO sheets are not worksheets, but engaging and valuable outlines for students!  
Below is a peek into the first framework: Sentence Variety Pack: Crafting Engaging Text. You can get a better sense of what the book offers, including online slides to support implementation of the framework, lesson extension ideas, sample stages of students' writting and assessment checkpoint rubrics. Jackpot! 
There is so much more to the book than I've briefly overviewed. I look forward to putting these frameworks into practice with students in the upcoming weeks. I highly recommend you snagging a copy for yourself! Additionally, there's a blog post written by Larry Ferlazzo in Education Teacher Week titled Writing Frames Are The Recipes of Writing. Within the post, Holbrook and Salinger answer the following questionHow can we use "writing frames" and "writing structures" without students feeling like they always have to do formulaic writing? If their response interests you, click HERE to read more. 

Leave a relevant comment below for a chance to acquire a free copy for yourself! :)
P.S. Check out the authors on Twitter, @saraholbrook, @michaelsalinger, and @Stephharvey49, as well as the content linked to the hashtag #FromStrivingtoThrivingWriters! They're visible and welcoming!

Happy Writing & Happy Thanksgiving! 

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