*Updated* Priority Skills: Engagement

*Updated* Priority Skills: Engagement

As many folks know, I am in the process of writing my fifth book!  It’s about instructional coaching…tentatively titled “How to Coach Teachers to Teach (Almost) Anything” – – – I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be published by Yale or anything, right?  😉

One of the things that I wanted to really drive home for coaches are the fundamental skills that teachers have to have in place.  So, I broke those fundamental skills down into five categories:

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Behavior Management
  3. Engagement
  4. Lesson Planning (the most often un-coached skills that is the starting point of a successful lesson)
  5. Delivery of a Basic Lesson (like the very least the teacher has to do to deliver a successful lesson)

In this series of five blogs, one on each of the topics, I have broken down those skills for you, too!

If you’re a teacher, you can use these as a checklist for lesson planning

If you are a professional developer, you can use this is a checklist for a new teacher (or veteren teacher) training program

If you are a principal, you can use this to help you set your instructional goal and as a tool to determine where you staff might need strengthening.

If you are a coach, you will use these lists to prioritize the content that you will coach.  If a teacher is struggling with any of these, then that struggling point is where your coaching should start.  After all, if a fundamental is missing, then the teacher doesn’t have much of a chance of getting the fancier stuff well implemented.

Here are the Student Engagement Priority Skills for Coaching

The teacher:

  • Teaches with a swift pace with a good mix of teacher talk and student action
  • Has written response signals in place for the whole class and individuals
  • Has verbal response signals in place for the whole class and individuals
  • Has physical response signals in place for the whole class and individuals
  • Does not rely on raised hands as an engagement tool
  • Uses engagement tools to have all students do the work during whole group, partner and independent work time
  • Walks around the room to monitor what is said, done and discussed during lessons
  • Uses engagement techniques to practice the most important content and does not allow the techniques to overshadow the content of the lesson
  • Explicitly teaches the difference between compliant engagement and true engagement through modeling
  • Requires students to use complete sentences and academic language as they are engaging with the content and their classmates
  • Uses engagement to correct content errors, require students to extend their responses and give high-quality academic feedback
*Updated* Priority Skills: Behavior Management

*Updated* Priority Skills: Behavior Management

As many folks know, I am in the process of writing my fifth book!  It’s about instructional coaching…tentatively titled “How to Coach Teachers to Teach (Almost) Anything” – – – I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be published by Yale or anything, right?  😉

One of the things that I wanted to really drive home for coaches are the fundamental skills that teachers have to have in place.  So, I broke those fundamental skills down into five categories:

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Behavior Management
  3. Engagement
  4. Lesson Planning (the most often un-coached skills that is the starting point of a successful lesson)
  5. Delivery of a Basic Lesson (like the very least the teacher has to do to deliver a successful lesson)

In this series of five blogs, one on each of the topics, I have broken down those skills for you, too!

If you’re a teacher, you can use these as a checklist for lesson planning

If you are a professional developer, you can use this is a checklist for a new teacher (or veteren teacher) training program

If you are a principal, you can use this to help you set your instructional goal and as a tool to determine where you staff might need strengthening.

If you are a coach, you will use these lists to prioritize the content that you will coach.  If a teacher is struggling with any of these, then that struggling point is where your coaching should start.  After all, if a fundamental is missing, then the teacher doesn’t have much of a chance of getting the fancier stuff well implemented.

Here are the Behavior Management Priority Skills for Coaching

The teacher:

  • Teaches replacement behaviors for most common behavior problems
  • Has the ability to quickly analyze the behavior and get to the root of whether it is a whole group, small group, time of day, type of content issue
  • Has clear steps in place for students choosing to repeatedly break the classroom rules
  • Has a procedure for removing students from the place of instruction without students removing themselves from learning the content
  • Has a routine for de-escalating behaviors before they become intolerable

Allows students to recover once they have paid the “price” for misbehavior

*Updated* Priority Skills: Classroom Management

*Updated* Priority Skills: Classroom Management

As many folks know, I am in the process of writing my fifth book!  It’s about instructional coaching…tentatively titled “How to Coach Teachers to Teach (Almost) Anything” – – – I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be published by Yale or anything, right?  😉

One of the things that I wanted to really drive home for coaches are the fundamental skills that teachers have to have in place.  So, I broke those fundamental skills down into five categories:

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Behavior Management
  3. Engagement
  4. Lesson Planning (the most often un-coached skills that is the starting point of a successful lesson)
  5. Delivery of a Basic Lesson (like the very least the teacher has to do to deliver a successful lesson)

In this series of five blogs, one on each of the topics, I have broken down those skills for you, too!

If you’re a teacher, you can use these as a checklist for lesson planning

If you are a professional developer, you can use this is a checklist for a new teacher (or veteren teacher) training program

If you are a principal, you can use this to help you set your instructional goal and as a tool to determine where you staff might need strengthening.

If you are a coach, you will use these lists to prioritize the content that you will coach.  If a teacher is struggling with any of these, then that struggling point is where your coaching should start.  After all, if a fundamental is missing, then the teacher doesn’t have much of a chance of getting the fancier stuff well implemented.

Here are the Classroom Management Priority Skills for Coaching

The teacher:

  • Has a signal for getting whole class attention
  • Gives directions when students are all quiet and all eyes are on her
  • Has a go-to redirection routine
  • Sets up, signals and has a very brief time limit for transitions
  • Modulates her voice to get attention and focus students
  • Has a routine for revving students up when their energy is waning
  • Greets students in the morning/top of the period and gives a task right away so they enter the classroom with purpose
  • Has a simple routine for written responses
  • Has a simple routine for discussion
  • Has a simple routine for partnering

 

Does a Checklist Really Work? {Behavior Mgmt.}

Does a Checklist Really Work? {Behavior Mgmt.}

I am on a quest to figure out how checklists can simplify and improve the quality of our work in schools.  If you haven’t read my first two installments of this little series, I suggest you do (they’re super quick reads!).  Here’s the 1st.  Here’s the 2nd.

This time I tried my hand at behavior management.  How do we define a series of steps so that we can ensure that behavior management doesn’t dominate instruction?  Also, how do we streamline it across a school so we have similar expectations for kids?  I tried my hand at it here…what do you think?

Checklist for In-Class Behavior Management

1

When a student is misbehaving, kindly ask student to replace with an alternate behavior (“Instead of _____, John, I would like you to do _____.”)

2

If behavior is not immediately corrected, then firmly ask the student to change behavior and add consequence (“John, I have asked you to _____ and you have chosen not to.  I would like you to ____ right now.  I do not want to have to ask you to leave the group!”)

3

If the behavior is changed and no longer an issue, find an immediate way to compliment the student on the changed behavior (“John…thanks so much for doing _____ -really nice job paying close attention.”)

4

If the behavior persists, quietly go over to the student, whisper directions to carry out consequence (Whispering: “John, please come and sit in this desk right now – I will let you know when you are free to join us again.”).  Ignore the student if he acts out or tries to get other kids’ attention

5

Tell the student that he is still responsible for doing the work, just doing the work in a different spot in the room

6

If the student is not behaving in the new spot, give 1-2 calm reminders of what is expected (“Remember John, I’m looking for you to not blurt out and try to distract everyone.  When you can do that, I’ll invite you back to the group, which is my #1 goal.”)

7

If the student is still not responding, then calmly move the student to the next step on the behavior chart (losing recess?)

8

If the student gets to the 4th step on the behavior chart, a note goes home with the student and the note comes to the principal’s office

9

Every new day is a fresh start for every student – we allow students to recover
Does a Checklist Really Work? {Talking with Parents}

Does a Checklist Really Work? {Talking with Parents}

I have been really obsessed with the book “The Checklist Manifesto.”  To say it’s changed my life would be a little wild, but it has definitely changed my perspective.  A lot.

One of the things that I learned about the power of checklists is that is helps us manage the cognitive load of all teachers have to handle in a day/week/month/year.  I mean, we don’t need anyone to tell us that we just have TOO MUCH TO DEAL WITH.

Things gets lost in the shuffle – we forget things that we would ordinarily remember.  We are running around like crazy.  More is definitely not more!

Checklists help us deliver the important stuff reliably across time – I think a series of simple checklists might really be able to help us manage all that we have to do.

As I was writing a new presentation I’m giving on a webinar in few weeks, I really though about what a checklist would look like in real school life, so I’d like to share some ideas with you and see what you think!  I have three to share…here is the first:

Working with/Talking with a Parent

1

Prior to call, pull any data, notes or information you need to reference

2

Greet the parent and tell them how happy you are to talk in person/by phone

3

Confirm the purpose of the call and let the parent know the amount of time you have for the call

4

Encourage parent to share concern/information related to the purpose of the call

5

Summarize what you hear the parent saying, “So, I want to make sure I understand what you’re sharing with me…”

6

Propose 1-2 solutions to the concern or propose 1-2 next steps and have the parent choose which he feels is the best

7

Confirm with the parent when these solution/next step will take place

8

Compliment the parent for taking time to work with you – end on a positive
Why Teachers Drop a Skill After Coaching

Why Teachers Drop a Skill After Coaching

A very common question that I get from coaches is this: What do I do when a teacher has been coached in a skill and yet when I get back into the classroom, they’ve dropped or stopped using the skill?

I think that sometimes coaches take this personally – after all, everyone has put a lot of time in effort in coaching and learning a new/updated skill!  But, I find that when I ask myself these three questions, I can usually get to the root of why that’s happened…and, more importantly, I can fix it with the teacher:

  1. Did I break the steps of the skill down to the –nth degree or was the skills we were working on really like five skills rolled up into one?
  2. Did the teacher understand what I wanted him to do? (And a nod of the head isn’t a confirmation…the teacher should be able to fully explain what you want him to do in his own words – make sure to weave this into your debriefing each time!)
  3. Did the teacher simply forget to keep doing it and do we need to add some sort of note on his desk or in his lesson plan book so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle any longer? (Teachers have lots to remember and can simply forget. It happens to all of us!)

The most important thing is to avoid going straight to the line of the thinking that the teacher is stopping the practice on purpose.  By digging just a bit deeper through the questions, you’ll find an even more efficient way to work with a teacher…and it doesn’t have to affect your relationship one bit!

 

 

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