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Teachstone Blog

Why CLASS Specialists Love Analogy (and you should, too!)

07 Mar 2017

 

CLASS Specialists are always thinking about the complexity of the CLASS tool as we prepare for our trainings. As a trained CLASS observer, I am comfortable observing and recognizing quality interactions that fit in the tool. But I needed a strategy to convey this information to those who may not be as familiar with the tool.

As it turns out, using an analogy is a perfect way to make the complex relatable, less overwhelming, and more familiar to our participants. 

Topics: Coach Tips, Just for Fun, CLASS FAQs Read More

The 5 Questions that Feedback Strategies Training Will Help You Answer

13 Feb 2017

 

 

Being an instructional coach or mentor is difficult. Sometimes it may feel like you don't have any support—especially when it comes to providing effective feedback to the teachers you work with. Have you, as a coach, ever asked yourself any of the following questions?

Topics: Coach Tips, Products and Trainings Read More

Is the Instructional Support Domain boring?

09 Feb 2017

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

You're in a coaching session trying to help your teacher understand how to be more intentional in her interactions with children in the dimension of Concept Development. When you start to explain what analysis and reasoning look like, she looks at you with that quizzical look in her eye. You suggest, “Let’s look at the Dimension Guide on page 19 and let’s read these informational paragraphs.” 

Topics: Coach Tips, Products and Trainings Read More

Self- and Parallel Talk: Not Just for the Non-verbal

12 Jan 2017

I was quite taken aback recently when an intern completing her first semester with a group of young toddlers told me, “My goal when I started the semester was to use more self-talk and parallel talk, but the toddlers are now talking, so that’s no longer needed.” 

How to respond? Clearly she assumed that the self- and parallel talk supported language for very young children, and the effectiveness ended there. But that's not really true.

Topics: Teacher Tips, Coach Tips, CLASS FAQs Read More

The 5 Coaching Strategies that Helped Me Connect with Resistant Teachers

28 Dec 2016

"I’ve just begun my journey into the world of coaching. I am eager and excited about this opportunity to help pave the way for more effective teaching. I’ve recently been given my list of classrooms that I will be working with and I’m anxious to get started. I get ready to meet my first teacher, Ms. Linda, and I just know that she will be excited to meet me and we will form an instant bond and work together for the benefit of the children in that classroom.

"I will not get many opportunities to have face to face visits with Ms. Linda, so I know this first one is crucial. I walk through the door, introduce myself, and am immediately brushed off. Ms. Linda does not have time to talk to me right now, she explains that several children need her assistance. She’s also got to get the morning snack ready, and her assistant is out for the day so she is flying solo. Ms. Linda does not seem as excited about this meeting as I would have hoped.

"She quickly shares that I’m the third coach that has been in to work with her, and although she knows that I have to do my job, she’s fine and really doesn’t see how I can help her. A CLASS observer was in her room last week, and she doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She’s been teaching for over 10 years and she’s tried it all. So, anything I have to share with her is stuff she’s already heard."

Sound familiar?

Topics: Professional Development, Coach Tips Read More

The 7 Deadly Sins to Avoid When Taking Teacher Learning Online

27 Dec 2016

If you’re a Teachstone blog-reader, you may have noticed that we focus on being “strengths-based” instructional coaching all the time. But sometimes it’s equally healthy to reflect on the stuff that didn’t go so well so we can avoid it next time. (By the way, if you’re looking for something purely strengths-based, Gina Gates recently wrote this fantastic post for the myTeachstone blog on ways to support resistant teachers using an online platform.) 

This post is about what not to do. These are the seven deadly sins of taking teacher learning online:

Topics: Professional Development, Coach Tips Read More

Overcoming Logistics & Time Challenges in Your New Professional Development Initiative

09 Nov 2016

At our 2016 InterAct CLASS Summit, we asked a group of educators to share their biggest difficulties in implementing professional development within their organizations. Despite the group’s diverse backgrounds, they reported similar challenges:

  • Getting buy-in
  • Uneven teacher skill sets
  • Planning and logistics
  • Time constraints
  • Sustainability
  • Costs

We're excited to introduce the third post in our four-post series discussing strategies to help with these common challenges.

Topics: Professional Development, Coach Tips Read More

The Most Underutilized Page in the CLASS Manual

22 Sep 2016

The Scoring Summary Sheet can offer observers and coaches a lot of insight on what's happening in a classroom during a typical day. Located on page 18 of the Pre-K CLASS Manual, Figure 2.2 shows how to create a summary of all six observational cycles. It also allows coaches to ask data-backed, specific questions like, "What's happening during small group that may be affecting a teacher's behavior management interactions?" 

Topics: Coach Tips, CLASS FAQs, Observation Training Read More

The Case for Developing Reliable CLASS Observers in Your Coaches

05 Jul 2016

Imagine sitting down beside a music student as he practices a new song. As a mentor, your role is to provide feedback to the student on how well he’s interpreted the piece, translated the notations into an audible melody, and literally used his fingers to create music as dictated by the sheet music.

Now consider this: How successful would you be as a mentor if you did not know how to read music?

Topics: Professional Development, Coach Tips Read More

We Recorded Our Model Teachers. Here's What We Learned.

07 Jun 2016

In preparing summer professional development for teachers, my district knew we wanted CLASS to play a larger role in our trainings. But how were we going to do that?

Once we began writing our training on centers we decided to videotape some of our model teachers to highlight interactions in each specific center—in essence, we wanted to create our own internal version of the CLASS Video Library. 

Topics: Technology, Teacher Tips, Coach Tips Read More
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