Thursday, December 18, 2014

@isteconnects Coaching Academy Series- Reflection 3

Part A: Coach Attributes The characteristics or qualities a coach brings to the job are critical to a coach’s success and will shape the roles a coach plays.

For more information on the ISTE Coaching Academy Series Click here!  

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  1. Jot down your ideas on the qualities that would be desirable for a coach to possess.  You may also want to ask a peer to define a few desirable coach qualities.

Someone that is willing to listen, patient, and understanding of their own pedagogy and content in relation to technology integration. A coach is some that is okay with making mistakes and admitting when they don’t know the answer BUT knows how to find the answers or is connected enough to others to get help from someone more knowledgable in that particular topic. A tech coach is someone that is willing to seek answers and constantly learn. I believe a good tech coach seeks out innovative ideas and shares those with others. 

  1. Review the qualities teachers who collaborated with coaches say strong coaches should possess.  Teachers say a successful peer coach:
    • Is able to build trust with peers.
    • Builds on what a teacher needs.
    • Is a team player.
    • Communicates well and listens to teachers.
    • Knows what teachers are doing in their classrooms.
    • Can show teachers how to replace what they are doing with something better, not just present technology as an add-on.
    • Is highly organized and plans well in advance with teachers.
    • Provides a safe, risk-taking environment and is non-threatening, non-judgmental, and accepting.
    • Is flexible.
    • Has enough depth and breadth of knowledge to help teachers who are at various stages of technology integration, including knowledge of appropriate instructional strategies.
    • Knows how to organize and structure a technology-rich classroom.
    • Is recognized by staff as a strong/outstanding teacher.
  1. After reviewing your list, and the ideas of coaches’ collaborating teachers identify one or two most important qualities of a strong coach.
First of all I am having a hard time figuring out which one to say is the “most important” this is a really good list! I currently however, just had a meeting with my admin this morning and one thing we were both really focusing on was classroom visits and “knowing what teachers are doing in their classrooms.” Right now, I know generalities, I really want to get into more classrooms to get a better feel of what is going on daily at NAMS.
Beyond that though, I also believe that these two are really good:
    • Has enough depth and breadth of knowledge to help teachers who are at various stages of technology integration, including knowledge of appropriate instructional strategies.
    • Knows how to organize and structure a technology-rich classroom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

@isteconnects Coaching Academy Series- Reflection 2

Effective Professional Learning-2

What professional learning is going to best prepare teachers to meet their students’ needs? 
For more information on the ISTE Coaching Academy Series Click here!  

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Part C: Compare your notes to the video instruction.

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development
    • On the job or job-embedded training
    • Connected to classroom practice, pedagogy, and content
        • Meeting the students needs
        • Study- by Cole in Australia where to effect change in a teachers practice you have to actually provide the instruction in the classroom, and focus on issues immediately relevant to them.
    • Shaped by data
    • Intensive, ongoing, and long-term
        • Episodic PD unrelated to one another (Darling-Hammond) to change in content or pedagogy Teachers need 50 hours of training on that one topic throughout the year.
        • Long term professional learning goals. Do not jump from one topic to another.
          • In our building our continued focus on “rigor” in our standards based curriculum as well as the look at technology integration school wide has allowed for the growth we see today.
    • Connects peers with purpose, focuses on innovation
        • If you don’t give teachers structured times to connect and collaborate  you wouldn’t see school wide systemic change
        • One systemic change is all teachers using technology to support standards based instruction
        • In the best school systems in the world teachers have the opportunity to meet and plan and observe each other teach, and then after that have time to reflect.
        • Personally, reflection is KEY! We all need to do more of it.
          • I might have that be a part of my “coach connection” plan if it isn’t already… I would like my people that I am coaching to possibly set up a blog and/or old fashioned journal and reflect on their practice. How often is too often for this?
        • “It’s time for our education workforce to engage in learning the way other professionals do- continually, collaboratively, and on the job- to address the common problems and crucial challenges where they work.” Former North Carolina Governor James Hunt ( Darling-Hammond, 2009, pg. 2)
    • Collaborative and structured to offer educators chances to learn from others

This list of characteristics comes from work of:  Fullan, M. (2001, 2008); Darling-Hammond, L. Wei, R. Andree, A. Richardson, N. Orphanos (2009); Barber, M. & Mourshed, M. (2007); Elmore, R. (2004); Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (2003, July).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

@isteconnects Coaching Academy Series- Reflection 1

Effective Professional Learning-1 Reflection


Part A: Typical Professional Development

Take a moment and jot down some notes on what typical professional development in your school looks like. What is emphasized in this typical model?
Typical professional development is a sit and get sort of activity. Lecture based on power points with some hand outs.


It usually is based on the newest acronym or system that the district has paid for that needs to be implemented with fidelity however we are never given enough time to truly see if it works because we are moving onto the “next thing” before we can actually see the long term effects of the “old thing.”


However, I would say that I have done a pretty good job helping the staff move to a more interactive and tech driven PD, which I would assume is much of what I might learn in this module. Side note: I would love to be able to offer more edcamp style PD here though. Our cafe sessions are good but we only do them about 3-4 times a year and they aren’t really edcamp style since they are much more planned out ahead of time and less organic.


Part B:  Discuss Characteristics of Effective Professional Learning                                                 

Think of a time that you learned something from a professional development experience that changed your practice as a teacher.
Using online sources whether that is Twitter, learning modules like this one or on sophia.org (FREE); having access to resources outside of my building or district and seeing what other teachers are doing has been inspirational and so valuable for me. I wouldn’t be where I am now, or have been able to make changes for my students in my classroom without these connections and learning experiences. However, I would also say it goes beyond just the online environment because many of these people I have then done Google Hangouts with, or met in person at edcamps or conferences. Truly developing a Professional Learning Network, of people that I can go to for help and guidance when I need it.
What made the experience so effective?
Open communication and availability, as well as like minded people that are passionate about teaching and what is good for students. Also the idea that as a teacher it is death to an engaging classroom when you become stagnant.
Reflective Questions for others, especially for admin meeting on Thursday:

  1. What roles does a coach have in a building?
  2. What roles do teachers that collaborate with coaches have?    

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Digital Learning Coach

A Day in the Life of a Digital Learning Coach

I was tagged in this post by Crystal Kirch to document my day so here it goes... Now keep in mind I am still a classroom teacher and only get a small stipend for my Tech Coach responsibilities and one prep period a day to facilitate all that I do.

Thursday 12-4-14

  • 7:25-7:40 Duty (Standing outside in the student drop off zone)
  • 7:45-8:10 co-taught in an 8th ELA classroom to get those students set up with the student website template. See that here
  • 8:10-8:15 Fill out my Coach Tracker form (this is something I use to keep track of all the time I spend on this "job" with the idea that if it is ever called into question exactly what I do with my time I can quickly pull up this data)
  • 8:15-8:40 Quickly pulling together a lesson plan- we had a student pass away a day before and it drastically changed the rest of the week for all students.
  • 8:40-9:31 Teach my 2nd period ELA class
  • 9:35-10:10 Advisory- my advisory has been changed into what I call my tech gurus. See a post on that here. This week we were busy planning and prepping for a Genius Bar and Speed apping event we held in the library at 5:30-6:30pm. Hopefully will do a post on that soon that will include a video of some of the presentations mashed together. The tech gurus are working on editing that together.
  • 10:14-11:05 (technically my prep period for my ELA classes) BUT I was working on getting the documents ready for Tech Thursday on homework incentive ideas. I actually worked into my lunch putting all this stuff together. Tweeting to see if anyone had any ideas, had a few come back from Troy Cockrum where he provided me with the link to the Flipped Learning Network Podcast on gamification of a flipped classroom that I think will be a good resource for the teachers.
  • 11:05-11:20 Continued working through my lunch gathering resources
  • 11:15-11:30 lunch
  • 11:30-11:35 potty break ;-) TMI? #sorrynotsorry
  • 11:43-2:35 Teaching another class of ELA and two of honors language arts.
  • 2:30 Announcment that all students need to leave at 2:35 vs. staying after school (due to the student passing) and all staff had a staff meeting in the library. So much for my planning for Tech Thursday! Will have to use it next week! 
  • 2:45-3:45 Staff Meeting on student interaction over the next few weeks.
  • 3:45 left to pick up my daughter! 
Wondering if I need to do this more often just to see it in type is a bit much... Of course there was a lot more messing around here and their while teaching, my hands are always in several different documents all at once. It also doesn't help that today is a grading day so while teaching I was conferencing with a lot of my students that had lower grades and trying to get work turned in and graded on the spot. Day in the life of a teacher is nothing to mess with! 



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Reflective Teaching: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (Day 17)

Reflective Teaching: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (Day 17)


Topic: What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?


I think the most pervasive challenge in education is the continued negative feeling attached to the profession. How all the failings of the country are settled on our shoulders. That the media more often than not focuses on the few negative things happening instead of focusing on the good. I believe that other nations are outpacing us in education not because of excessive more hours spent at school or on school work but because of the general attitude of the nation on education as a whole. You have countries that view their educators as professionals, and are paid as such- it's not the pay, it is more the attitude attached to teachers in this country. The well known saying, "Those that can't do teach..." that is exactly what is wrong with education in this country, because it simply isn't true. 


It even goes to the family connection, the value that a family places on education over other activities, in our country we are obsessed with our sports & celebrities. At the middle level so many of my students believe with their whole heart that they will become a professional athlete, a rapper, or the newest one a YouTube personality. YouTube Famous! We have a serious problem where we aren't placing enough emphasis at HOME, not just at school, on the importance of a good education- no matter what level you finish at. 

I honestly could go on an on with this topic, even talk about the attitude of the majority of teachers but I don't want to ostracize anyone... Just note that as a hard working teacher, one that wants to constantly learn and become a better teacher then I was last year, I make other people uncomfortable. I do feel like a lone wolf a lot of the time...  This got too personal and I am not sure if I am ready to write this much yet...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reflective Teaching: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (Day 16)

Reflective Teaching: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (Day 16)


Topic: If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?



Oh man, this proves how much a nerd and fangirl I am for Harry Potter, the only thing that comes to my mind is the time traveling necklace, the Time Turner, that Hermoine wears in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I often get really good at the actual teaching of the lesson by the end of the day. My first period of the day is always my guinea pig class, and I always feel bad because I feel like they are missing out of the better instruction. So I would probably use the time turner which really isn’t a super power but would at least allow me to go back in time to reteach my first period after I have gone through the whole day and perfected the lesson. 



Reflective Teaching: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (Day 15)

Reflective Teaching: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers (Day 15)


Topic:Name three strengths you have as an educator.




  1. I have gotten better at being flexible in my lesson planning, I used to be very rigid and would move things along faster than they probably should have been. Now I have more emphasis on the learning that is actually taking place and on when students are ready to move on.
  2.  If I don’t know the answer to something, or it isn’t working I know the channels to ask for help and I am not afraid to do so.
  3. I am a perpetual learner, I can’t stay stagnant and teach the same thing over and over. I like to try new things and learn how to get better at the craft of teaching.