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Guest Blog: The Spring Coaching Dilemma!

Guest Blog: The Spring Coaching Dilemma!

We are so excited to have our partners at Edu20/20 guest blog for us TODAY!  Here are a few ‘nuggets’ to continue those teacher relationships, even when your coaching comes-to-a-grinding-halt! 


It’s that wonderful time of the year when the flowers bloom, the pollen invades, the students are restless, the teachers have dreams of beach vacations, standardized testing is looming, and your coaching efforts have come to a screeching halt. Does this seem familiar? 

Don’t put your coaching schedule away for the school year just yet. There’s still lots of meaningful coaching to be done! Pull up a chair and get comfy for a little chat about several ways that you can STILL make an impact on teachers and students.

If you’ve got a couple of weeks before testing (and even during testing), it’s time to work on those relationships with teachers! Although these aren’t part of your everyday coaching responsibilities, here are a couple of ways you can boost teacher morale during this super stressful time. And of course, doing these things will help provide you opportunities for coaching in the future. 

  • Offer to make copies of practice tests and review activities.
  • Sit with a small group to review test-taking strategies.
  • Offer to cover teachers’ walls or take down charts for them.
  • Cover recess or lunch duty for teachers so they get a real break. 

Now, once testing is over (and for those of you that coach non-tested subjects/grade levels) the question still remains…what do I do with these teachers until the end of school? No one wants me in their rooms! 

[insert superhero musical score here] I’ve got just the thing to help you! It’s a really simple idea that can be wrapped up with one quick conversation that sounds something like this:

“I have this strategy/method/new thing I’m thinking of using school-wide next school year. I think your kids would really rock it! Can I come in to try it in your classroom and have you give me some feedback?” 

What teacher would say no to that?? Teach my kids at the end of the year? Let me observe you and give feedback? Where do I sign up? How soon can you come in? 

And just like that, you’re in! Now, what you decide to model or “try out” should be super strategic! Does this particular teacher need support with classroom management? Then try out a “new” management strategy. Do they need support with text dependent questions? Then share your questioning strategy with them and have them provide feedback on the questions asked during the lesson. Super simple! 

Let’s summarize. Your spring agenda for coaching is going to focus on these 3 things: 

  1. Relationships
  2. Trying out strategies for next year
  3. Customizing what you model and how the teacher provides feedback 

With these 3 things in place, your spring coaching can be just as effective as the rest of the year! 

We have two great ways to get the How to Coach Teachers training

Check it out below!

Click here to learn more about Camp Coach, presented by Edu20/20

Click here to learn more about The Virtual Coaching Summit

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Differentiating Writing Instruction | For Teachers & Coaches

Differentiating Writing Instruction | For Teachers & Coaches

Differentiating writing instruction is a huge topic for educators these days. If you see that a student is struggling to write either to get the words on the page or get the ideas down, ask yourself this guiding question to get started troubleshooting: 

Is it a content issue, or is it a mechanics issue?

If it’s a content issue, that means the students are struggling with either too many ideas or not enough ideas. In that case, go back to their brainstorm or outline! Most content writing problems start there. They either didn’t have enough to begin with, or they had way too much and they didn’t narrow it down. 

If they’re struggling with mechanics, then you need to figure out how to isolate which mechanical piece that they’re missing. For example, if I see that my kids are struggling with the introduction, go there first. 

For more tips on how to make writing easy and accessible for your students, please check out all of our books online. Books can be found at amazon.com or by clicking here.

Differentiating Writing Instruction | For Teachers & Coaches

Restating the Thesis in the Conclusion | For Teachers

Confession: when I was a student, I never knew how to end my essays, so they always ended very randomly and abruptly! 

I don’t want that to happen to your students, so let’s give them some help. Here are three simple ways to restate the thesis in a conclusion paragraph or statement:

  1. Answer the question, ‘so what?’ In light of what I’ve told you so far, what are you going to do about it?
  2. Consider telling the reader what they should do next. Given what I’ve told you, here’s what you need to go out and do.
  3. Remind the reader why the topic or the information is important. Present a sense of urgency to the reader! 

Those are three ways students can restate their thesis in the conclusion to make it more interesting for the reader. Now, go give it a try today! 

For more help and tips on how to improve your teaching practice, please check out our books.

Books can be found at amazon.com or at https://jackson-consulting.com/buy-stuff/

Differentiating Writing Instruction | For Teachers & Coaches

Has Close Reading Lost All Its Power? | For Teachers, Principals, District Leaders

Today, I have a bone to pick about close reading. Everywhere I look these days, it seems like virtually everyone is talking about “close reading.” And I realized that we’re calling just about everything close reading and by doing that, it’s at the point where it’s lost so much of its power! 

So I want you to ask yourself: Do I know what close reading ACTUALLY is, and am I replicating that process in my classroom?

Let’s look at the true step-by-step process of close reading, to make sure we’re keeping its integrity and power when using it with students. 

Close reading is: 

  • 1st read – get the gist of what I’ve read
  • 2nd read – understand how the text is organized
  • 3rd read – read, analyze, and think deeply about what I’ve read

If we’ve taught close reading well, we’ve actually given kids a skill that they can take to any text they read! That is the sign of successful, close reading.

For more help and tips on how to improve your teaching practice, please check out our books.

Books can be found at amazon.com or at https://jackson-consulting.com/buy-stuff/

Differentiating Writing Instruction | For Teachers & Coaches

The Best Way to See the Big Picture | For Teachers and Coaches

Here’s a question that I get at least once a week: Should coaching be mandatory for all teachers in the school?

My emphatic answer to that is always absolutely YES!

There are a lot of reasons for that, but it’s mainly because if we have teachers receiving coaching, they are becoming better, more skilled, efficient, and effective teachers. 

How? You might wonder.

Because with coaching, teachers are able to see their classroom from a balcony view. When a coach is in the classroom, they aren’t getting lost in the details and can take a step back and see the big picture – and teachers are able to implement changes that will create the biggest impact.

When a teacher is busy teaching, they need somebody else in their classroom looking and watching for things that need changing or reworking.

  • A coach stands with the teacher and can say things like: “Hey, this is what I’m seeing while you’re teaching.” There is no way to figure that out unless somebody else is watching you or you watch yourself on video.
  • Also, we should be practicing what we preach! We expect every student to be corrected and coached through learning, why wouldn’t we model and go through that same process as teachers?
  • Lastly, it gives teachers the opportunity for reflection! The BEST teachers, the ones who get results over and over, year after year, even in pandemics and with the “difficult class,” are the ones who are constantly reflecting on their practice. 

For more help and tips on how to work with teachers as a coach or how to be coached please look at these books:

Books can be found at amazon.com or at our store.

Differentiating Writing Instruction | For Teachers & Coaches

What’s the Deal with this Blog, Anyway? | For Teachers, Coaches, Principals, and District Leaders

As I am sure you’ve noticed, we’re coming out with some blog posts about some of the most important topics in teaching, ones that you’re talking about right now.

These blog posts are 100% in response to questions that you are asking! This blog is a place for us to break down the most important questions you are facing today.

So, when you see these posts pop up in your email or on our website or social media, know that they are responses to questions coming from educators just like you! If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment on them and we will work towards a future post that will address that topic.

Hopefully through comments on the post it will also lead to a place where educators can engage with each other on the topic and BRING RELIEF TO EDUCATORS!  (That’s our tagline by the way!)

We also want to make sure that we are giving you timely content with this blog! Content that is not only relevant and applicable, but also delivered to you in a quick and easy way. A fast read that is understandable, so you can read it quickly, engage in comments, but most importantly take it RIGHT back to your classroom and with YOUR students.

That is our passion.

For more help and tips on how to better your teaching practice, please check out our books. Books can be found at amazon.com or at our store.