Imagine this scenario: As a coach, you walk into a classroom to conduct an informal CLASS observation followed by a coaching conversation. During this conversation you might ask the teacher to share some of the highlights of her week and challenges that she has been facing. You also plan to share what you observed during your time in the classroom, some areas of strength that you noted, and opportunities for growth. You have grand plans of how this visit will go.
Just when things are getting started and the ball is rolling, you suddenly realize that the entire morning has flown by. It’s just about time for you to leave and head to your next classroom visit. You know that you won’t be back in to work with this teacher for at least another week, or possibly two, and you hope that you can pick up right where you left off. You assure her that you will bring in some extra resources on concept development during your next visit, something that she shared has been challenging for her, and set a date and time for the next conversation. Then you’re on your way.
How much of what I just described sounds familiar to you? I'll be the first to admit, that as an instructional coach, I had the responsibility of supporting and coaching teachers in 21 classrooms. And some of those classrooms had multiple teachers. Think about the amount of time in your day. How much actual face to face time are you getting with each teacher over the course a week, a month, or even a year? Probably not as much as you had hoped.
I used to say to myself, “if only there was a way for me to continue these coaching conversations with my teachers in between each face to face visit, I could get so much more accomplished.” Well, you’re in luck, because there is a way, and it's called Coaching with myTeachstone.
Coaching with myTeachstone, or Cwmy/TS, is an interactive, on-line coaching program. As a coach, it will extend your access to professional development resources and increase opportunities for communication between you and your teachers, and among groups of teachers. It will also help you keep track of how your teachers are doing in order to help you individualize learning opportunities to best support their growth and development.
As a coach, the most impactful way to implement professional development is to use individual teacher data to drive the PD plan. Teachstone offers a 2-day training in which coaches are trained on navigating and using the data and resources available on myTeachstone. You will also learn how to coach effectively online by engaging in both individualized and group learning conversations. myTeachstone is not just about recommending content to teachers, but about facilitating their learning through discussion.
I think you will find that having myTeachstone available to you and your teachers will open up a world of opportunities. Gone are the days when you can only communicate with your teachers once every two or three weeks. With Coaching with myTeachstone, you can continue your coaching conversations, individualize professional development for your teachers, and recommend resources that are relevant to them throughout the year. And you can do it from anywhere—your office, your home, or even laying in bed in the evenings. OK, I know, maybe that is taking it a bit too far, but imagine the possibilities.
For more information on starting your Coaching with myTeachstone journey, please call us at 877-401-8007 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you jump in to help your teacher, working side by side as a collaborator, everything seems clear at the beginning. There are some obvious areas to address and both you and your teacher have tons of energy, ready to change the world. After a few visits, however, an unsettling feeling begins to creep up on you.
Do you have fond childhood memories of sitting with a special adult and listening to them read one of your favorite stories? I vividly remember my dad reading The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling to me and how we laughed together at the funny voices he used. As an educator, you know how important those moments are for building warm connections, enjoying time together, and learning about many things. So, even if you missed out on those moments as a child, you want to create those moments for the children in your classroom. With careful planning, you can be confident that your read-alouds will be exciting, effective learning opportunities.
As part of our Teacher Spotlight series, we recently asked the CLASS Community to nominate a teacher whose high-quality classroom interactions are making a difference for their dual language learners. Our winner, Kim Schoell, has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a Pre-K teacher in Frederick County, VA. 67% of her students are Hispanic and many of the children are dual language learners.
We were really happy to receive an article examining the use of CLASS in American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Programs. And we were equally happy when lead author, Jessica Barnes-Najor, a researcher at Michigan State University, agreed to speak with us. In conjunction with her work at MSU, Jessica is a co-investigator for The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC). Read below to learn more about this important research.