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Instructional Coaching

I provide individualized support for experienced educators.

Classroom Observations

I offer clear, concise, and relevant feedback to teachers with specific needs.

Transitional Supports

I guide teachers into and through the dynamics of a newly, assigned grade-level position.

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Blog

Celebrate the Cynic

We all have to deal with other people’s opinions, unsolicited comments, and silent judgments. THEY may never change. But WE can move from tolerating their disposition to, not only accepting, but embracing its presence in our lives. Go into every situation knowing full well that they will redirect, question, or completely deny the validity of

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Hear ye, hear ye! We must hear ye!

In an effective lesson design, students are the primary activators of the lesson. For example, they may be working in small groups dialoguing with one another and presenting finished work.   At one point in the lesson, you may find yourself saying, “Remember, during your presentation, each person has to talk.” Why? Consider the rationale

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Are you interested?

When teaching, whatever your content, whatever your method, be present, be passionate. Your authentic passion will fuel their interest triple-fold. They will be interested in your interest in it even if they are not interested in it. Now isn’t that interesting? (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

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Where Should I Focus My Efforts to Retain Teachers?

Where should we focus or efforts to retain teachers? Well, a recent study looked at teacher retention, movement, and attrition in Kentucky public schools. The study presented seven significant findings related to reasons teachers stayed, moved, or left either a school-site or the profession as a whole. According to the study rates of retention were “based on select

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Have you considered it? (probably not)

The boy was two, maybe three years old. He was holding his mother’s hand while they stood at the curb. He was eager to cross, but she, of course, stood fast. Through the window of the deli I could not hear her words, but understood her intention. She lowered her self to his level. She

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Diversity Comes in Many Forms

We think of a group of people who look different from one another are diverse. And that is true. They are. However, the importance of that difference to the making of decisions does not lie solely in the group members’ outward appearance or life experiences. It is the knowledge base each person brings from their

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5 Ways to Avoid Hearing “Are we there yet?”

They, the preverbal ‘they’, say 90 some percent of all learning is visual. So, do your teachers have a clear vision of where they are going in their professional development? Do you, as their principal, coach, or mentor, know if they are on the right track toward their desired professional goals? Well, worry no more,

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The Form, From & Function of Feedback

Please excuse the alliterative title. Its use was positively promoted primarily through teachers teeming with functional feedback from several sources. Annoying isn’t it. My older brother rues the day I discovered alliteration’s annoying properties. You can picture the scene – a long car ride with nothing else to do but enrage your big brother enough to

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Reforming Educational Reform

Educational reform is ripe with “distractors” and in need of more “collaboration”, so says John Hattie, chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, deputy director of the Science of Learning Research Centre, and  director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne. In recent reports summarized by freelance educational writer Dian Schaffhauser,

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Why Do I Need to Self-Reflect?

Why do you need to self-reflect? Well, in asking that question, you’ve begun the process of self-reflecting! Congrats. You need to include self-reflection as a professional development process because 1) like your mother always said of eating the stuffed, green peppers, its good for you, and 2) its becoming a job requirement. Along with many

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Serving Students While Suffering in Silence

Teachers have to deal with other people’s problems all day long. Teachers must mediate the effects of the societal and parental exposures their students experience. The National Education Association wrote, “Mental health conditions affect one in five adults in the United States every year.” [1] Nearly 50% of U.S. teachers polled in a recent Gallop

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How to Individualize Professional Development Offerings

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As part of re-licensure requirements for the state of Minnesota, teachers must submit 125 clock hours of documented trainings.  The 125 hours must address six different areas of professional content. One of which is entitled, “Accommodation, Modification, and Adaptation of Curriculum, Materials, and Instruction”. [2] The aim of this requirement is to encourage teachers to differentiate

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How to Motivate the Un-Motivatable

Chris made group work nearly impossible. Chris was never prepared. Didn’t participate. Talked incessantly about nothing in particular moving everyone else off-task. Chris’ choices made learning difficult for everyone. Chris’ behavior was challenging. Enter the theoretical approach of PBS – Positive Behavioral Support. “Positive behavioral support (PBS) is a broad term that describes a comprehensive, research

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Educators need to open their eyes!

Yes, educators do need to open their eyes, but not for the reasons you may think. We need to open our eyes to the interesting perspectives offered by 7 TED presenters. Watch these inspiring TED Talks that link various industries to our field of education. Each of the speakers looked outside their personal sphere of influence

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FuelEd Schools

No, that is not a type-o. That is the name of an exciting organization that, like TeacherCentricity, is dedicated to the social-emotional needs of educators. I am so excited to have found others that see things as I do! The mighty forces at FuelEd Schools believe that a teacher’s ability to build relationships with students,

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Teacher Effectiveness is Dependent

In the world of sales, Boris Groysberg’s research supports the notion that “star talent” is not very mobile. The same may be considered in the world of teaching. Highly effective teaching methods and attitudes can be specific to a grade level or subject area. The methods a teacher uses may also be influenced by the district, school,

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Collaboration At Work

Schools get graded. Teachers get anxious. Parents get upset. Administrators get pressured. With all the new pressures, how can teachers maintain a balance and meet expectations? Ask the teachers at two Eau Claire, Wisconsin schools and they will tell you to collaborate. A recent article outlined the problems encountered by the schools and how the

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Why Good Teachers Quit by Kay Bisaillon, Teacher

In this article, Bisaillon paints an all-to-common portrait of an educator who consistently and effectively meets the emotional, social, and academic needs of her students, yet has few of her own needs met. Bisailon writes of her friend, “She is losing faith that she is and can make a difference.” This 20 year veteran is

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What about you, the teacher?

Students get all the attention. Their needs are assessed. They have curriculum designed to meet their individual needs. They get differentiated instruction from well-trained educators. They have a right to a school years’ worth of growth. So . . . , how about you, the teacher? Who pays attention to you each day? Has anyone

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Just Being There

I ran all three miles this morning. My pace, breathing, and attention span were as inconsistent as a three-legged frog crossing a freeway. I’ve always been capable of completing three miles, physically, that is. On most occasions it’s the emotional stamina that fades, wanes, and all-together disappears. Today I finished because my wife joined me.

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Transition by the Numbers

I’ve taught every grade from first to sixth, in 7 schools, 4 districts, 2 states and 1 U.S. territory. I have made the transition to a new grade 8 times in 19 years. I was provided specific training and support for only 1 of those moves. Because of that 1 year of professional guidance, 14 years

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“A New Teacher How-To” Infographic

What can a teacher new to the profession or new to a school do to effectively engage with the new culture? Explore the infographic “A New Teacher How-To”, then share your comments, questions, or concerns.

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A Transfer’s Perspective

This post was submitted to a Proteacher.net Discussion Board for  Primary Grades. It is an example of the anxieties that experienced teachers feel when they are placed in a new teaching environment. You can read of the assumptions the transferring teacher makes about the principal’s motivation for the new grade-level assignment. You can sense the

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A Single Group Can Make All Things Different

How do the concepts in this video relate to achieving and maintaining grade-level team cohesion in your school? Comment below.

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Induction Effectiveness?

I am interested in the impact of new employees first day/week/month on long-term effectiveness of the employee within the hiring organization. Can effective induction be correlated to the bottom-line in for-profit environments? How does the induction process influence the retention of employees in non-profit institutions? Does it have any influence on improved or decreased levels

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Resource for Onboarding

Check out this comprehensive resource from the Society for Human Resource Management. It provides the research supporting the use of onboarding, as well as the benefits it will provide if implemented. SHRM Onboarding Report

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5 Steps of Transitional Onboarding

We assume, don’t we? We figure they will be fine, so we don’t bother them. We decide they probably just want to be left alone to dig into the curriculum, set-up their room, and tape name tags to desks. And we would be assuming correctly. It is true that a teacher transitioning to a new

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Employee Enculturation

George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut, in Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time, define onboarding as “the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating new team members”.  They state that onboarding “can be a culture-shaping sustainable competitive advantage” due to the process helping to “build, sustain, and perpetuate high-performing teams”. Without

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5 Questions to Consider

Do we listen to the educators’ expressed needs? Do we design professional learning experiences to be simple, or complex? Will the design challenge the learners’ expectations? Will it create a memory, meaning, or momentum? Will the teachers be able to apply what they’ve  learned? How have these questions been addressed in your school? Share your responses. Read one

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10 Easy Ways To Recognize Teachers during the First Weeks of School Year

“Building a positive and energized work force . . . takes attitude and action.” – John O’Brien, VP if BI Worldwide Employee Performance Group 1. Write a welcome note to each teacher that is new to our school and mail it to their home address a few days before the start of workshop. 2. Each

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Namesake

And, yet, I still don’t know her name. She greeted her guests by name and with a smile. She knew their orders before they did. She seemed to know ours, too. And, yet, I still don’t know her name. When she learned our names, she used them. Every interaction was personal. Regulars talked to us

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Supporting New Team Members

I walked into the school office expecting to be given a guided tour of the campus, shown my classroom, and the location of the roll paper to make some bulletin boards. What I received was a set of keys and a firm gesture pointing to a blue door across the courtyard. “That’s your room. There.”,

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Recognize. Empathize. Acknowledge.

Here we are at the beginning of another school year. Students have gathered their supplies. The kids walk into their schools to drop off their goodies and moan about being back at school. Yet, ten steps in they see a friend. They scream one another’s name, run, with arms flailing, down the hall to greet

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Skipping School at Age Four?

We are thinking of holding her back cause she’s a summer baby. What do you think? He’s already reading and he can write his first and last name. Should we have him skip Kinder altogether? Many of you have been asked these questions by well-intending parents. The decisions made, in part, from our answers, have

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Teaching is Not for Everyone

Check out this entertaining video of Hugh Jackman “interviewing” for a teaching position. http://youtu.be/fipSEmdj3i0 Greg Schnagl

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Teaching vs Educating

Yogi Berra, Major League Baseball player, is credited for saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up some place else.” Where are you going with your learning experiences? What direction are you taking your students? What directions are you guiding your students? Are you pulling or pushing them toward the objectives?

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Learning Forward Summer Conference

Those of you near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota have a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in conversation about professional development. Learning Forward is a dynamic organization advocating for teachers. Learn more about Learning Forward’s Summer Conference offerings via this link: http://www.learningforwardconference.org/summer13/ The king of Instructional Coaching, Jim Knight, will be one of the keynote presenters. A can’t miss

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Pros of Political Policy

The greatest benefit to the last twenty years of educational legislation has been the conversations. I do not believe the policies directly benefited society, teachers or students, but it did get us all talking. An argument is an exchange of ignorance, where as a discussion is an exchange of ideas. Discussions generated the policies. Discussions are amending them. Discussions will form the future models. It

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