All aspects of literacy coaching have the potential to impact the classroom and student learning, but coaching in the classroom places the focus squarely on the teachers and students. Virtual coaching places particular importance on classroom instruction with a majority of interactions surrounding videotaped classroom teaching. But we must not forget about the power of examining artifacts of student learning as part of our virtual coaching cycles, just as we would if coaching in person. Every interaction, observation and artifact of learning is data we can use to inform our instruction and understanding of student achievement, even virtually. Here is a list of artifacts that could inform our virtual coaching:
- Classroom conversations (student-student, teacher-student)
- Writing Samples
- Running records
- Literacy stations artifacts
- Lesson artifacts (graphic organizers, reading logs, worksheets, etc.)
- Informal assessments (letter-sound inventories, sight word inventories, spelling inventories)
- Formal assessments (reading inventories, computerized measures)
As part of your coaching conversations, teachers can choose a sampling of student work to analyze. Together, you might evaluate writing pieces or review running record data as part of your virtual sessions. Teachers can email you a few pictures or even upload them into the private software you use to share videos. By sharing your screens virtually during online meeting sessions, you can analyze student work together and use the results to guide your next coaching cycle. I follow three simple guidelines for my work with teachers:
- Operate from a lens of strength: Teach teachers to notice what is going well in their teaching and what students know and can do. Often, teachers want to focus on what is wrong, or what is missing, but this does not move the conversation forward in productive ways.
- Follow an ‘I Notice, I Wonder’ protocol: Make observations about the data in front of you and think carefully and critically about what it tells us. What other information might be needed? What assumptions do we need to unpack? What perspective are we taking? Whose perspective are we leaving out?
- Link problems to solutions: It can be easy to focus on the things we cannot control, but we need to shift that mindset to one of action and train ourselves to immediately follow up negative thinking with positive possibilities. Our students deserve nothing less.
You might consider capturing these artifacts into a portfolio to showcase learning throughout the coaching cycle. You can compile them into a shared digital folder or even paste them into a simple Google presentation to archive the thinking and learning throughout your time together. What better way to celebrate a coaching cycle by seeing the impact coaching has had firsthand on student performance?
This was the second post in a blog series on virtual literacy coaching as part of an exciting partnership with Sibme. Head here to read all posts in the series and join the conversation!