A blog to share information on literacy strategies across contents and grade levels. Metacognitive strategies included. "Metacognition is, put simply, thinking about one's thinking. More precisely, it refers to the processes used to plan, monitor, and assess one's understanding and performance. Metacognition includes a critical awareness of a) one's thinking and learning and b) oneself as a thinker and learner." -- Vanderbilt University
I always knew that the way to a person's heart was through their
stomach, so when I moved to a new district as a reading specialist for
one elementary building eight years ago, I enjoyed bringing cookies to
data meetings or other professional development
workshops. Teachers seemed to appreciate the midday treat and didn't
seem to mind being pulled from their rooms as much because they could
count on a home-baked goody. The expectations grew, and soon there
wasn't a meeting in that one building without a
cookie or brownie. When I became the literacy coach for four buildings,
word spread. "You can expect a treat at a meeting that Kathy runs," was
heard across the district.
I love living up to those expectations of baking, as the experience
is quite therapeutic for me. Some days are easy drop-cookie days, but
some can be "needing to knead bread dough" days! I always use fresh
ingredients, provide a variety of choices, consider
the dietary needs of the recipients, and try to make the treats easy to
eat on the run. Now and then, an extra-special treat like cinnamon
rolls are given to those who really need an extra pick-me-up. As I mix,
knead, bake, and decorate, I always think about
the people I am baking for. I think of recent times we have spent
together in their rooms planning, teaching, and debriefing. I think of
the struggles some have with challenging students. I think of how I can
help them grow as learners.
What are they expecting from me as a coach? The expectations that I
will be a caring, supportive, confidential coach have also taken some
to cultivate, but they are in place now. Here
are some things I know they have grown to expect
They expect confidentiality. Nothing leaves their room -- nothing we discuss together, not even notes I may take.
They expect consistency. We have established long-term goals
for our coaching cycles together, and short-term objectives for each
session that we both agreed on.
They expect to grow as a learner. Our time together is
nonevaluative, so risk taking is done without worry. They expect me to
anticipate what they will need next and plan for that.
They expect honesty and humility. None of my lessons are
perfect, and theirs aren't expected to be, either. The best data comes
from struggling and watching how students acquire what we hope we are
They expect me to be there on time. There is nothing worse
than trying to hold the attention of a large group of kindergartners
when you expected to start a lesson on time and the coach is late.
They expect me to be a listener. They need someone to
confide in when teaching is hard, an extra set of eyes for a puzzling
student, and a resource provider who can get them that just-right book
when there is no time to get it themselves.
They expect to be able to get what they need.
Needs vary, from a demo lesson, a co-teacher, or an observer, to a
pusher who helps them see when they are working harder than their
They don't expect me to know everything. I will never know it all, but love learning and growing with them.
Just as they've come to expect cookies, everyone expects me to live up to the
consistent role I have grown into over the years. Without those
expectations, our coaching time together wouldn't be effective. It
would be like me bringing cheese and crackers to a meeting!
This week we consider strategies for working with young readers. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
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