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An Instructional Coaching Toolkit!

I have a thing for notebooks. And colorful markers. And sticky notes. I use them in all aspects of my literacy teaching and coaching. During coaching conversations, I often find myself providing on-the-spot demonstrations with these tools. I might engage teachers in a brief lesson on phonemic awareness and ask them to sort sounds. I might walk teachers through word building activities so they experience a new way of engaging students. I might introduce books to teachers to model how they might do the same for their students. I might even create game boards on sticky notes as visuals for teachers to support instructional planning. These demonstrations and notes act as instant and tangible tools to further teacher learning.

Over the years, I’ve compiled these artifacts to create coaching toolkits for the teachers I work with. My toolkit for ‘word work’ might include a picture of an anchor chart created with students, a list of words appropriate to the alphabetic feature students are working on, a game template that can be used for further practice and a list of helpful reminders for the teacher. Essentially, a coaching toolkit provides you with what you need to support teacher learning and application to the classroom.

As I continued my work, I finally realized that I (and other coaches) deserved the same kind of collection. You see, I spent a great deal of my time as a literacy teacher educator and coach planning professional learning for teachers. I take great care to ensure the content and methods of learning are engaging, meet teachers’ needs and honor their time and expertise as adult learners. Adding a little fun never hurts either. In the past, I would jot down ideas for professional learning on sticky notes (that I would then lose), save ideas from blogs and the Internet (and then not find the right bookmark) and even note them on a Google Keep sticky note (but then forget to scroll down to it). When it came time to plan for my sessions with teachers, I could never seem to remember or find that great idea that was sure to engage and inspire teachers. I needed a new strategy. So, I blended my love of notebooks, markers and sticky notes and created a coaching toolkit for myself: compiling ideas, practices and activities I have collected over time to engage educators in professional learning.

It is my toolkit for professional learning. My toolkit is a small 3-ring binder filled with pre-punched cardstock and a bag of colorful markers. The binder is divided into clear sections, although those sections grow and change with each page I add: soft-starts, honor and inspire, engage, encourage collaboration, spark reflection and other coaching tools. Each time I have an idea (or find one from others) to make professional learning even better, I create a sketchnote of it and add it to my collection. I have shown a few coaches my collection and they loved the idea. So, I have decided to digitize my coaching toolkit and have created an e-book of sorts using Google Slides. In each section, you will find the actual pictures of my toolkit. Some are tried and true ideas that have been around for a while. Others are new ideas that I have created. On some slides, I have added comments at the bottom to explain my thinking and even share additional resources. I may truly digitize this later on, but for now, I am not willing to give up the ‘creating’ part of this work with good old-fashioned markers! 

Here is a sneak peek at a page!
I hope this resource helps streamline your planning and bring a bit of joy to the process. I encourage you to create your own coaching toolkit and borrow these pages for inspiration. I’ll continue to update this digital version as my actual toolkit grows and have created a Remind list for those that would like notifications each time it is updated. I hope this helps you plan for professional learning and offers a bit of coaching inspiration as well! I also hope that you will share your successful pages with me as well. We are in this together!


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