New to Coaching? 7 Starting Points

We are taking a break from our weekly Coaches Connect Clubhouse room to give Tim and Brian an added break for their Spring Break! (Enjoy guys!)

Are you new to Clubhouse? Here’s a video from Brian Fanzo that might help! If you’re an iOS user and are not on Clubhouse yet, let me know and I’ll send you an invite! (The Android version is coming soon!) I am finding that it is an incredible place to make authentic connections with those in your industry.

Here are a few graphics that might help you navigate this new audio-only app:


Last session we gathered together to talk about Coaching Starting Points. We invited special guest, Lydia Croupe, a digital learning coach from N. Texas. Here are 8 tips for those beginning their coaching journey or coaches that needed a bit of inspiration for the new week:

FIND COACHES YOU ADMIRE

Find strong coaching friends either in your area or on social media! Lydia recommends this because as coaches you will also need to talk through situations! As moderator, Brian Sepe says “Everyone deserves a though partner.”

FIND A COACHING MODEL

Tim suggested the Google Certified Coach model or Challenge-Based Coaching. There are many choices out there, so if you’re unsure which model you prefer do some research on the different types.

FIND WELCOMING TEACHERS/CLASSROOMS

Brian suggests finding those teachers in your district or campus that will welcome your need to practice strategies or tech lessons. He also believes it helps you to have thought-partners you can trust!

READ THESE BOOKS

My suggestion for new coaches is to read! I always have believed that readers are leaders and leaders are readers! Here are the suggestions curated from the speakers after my all-time favorite book, Dare to Lead.

The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar

Waking the Tiger by Peter A Levine

The Ideal Team Player

5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

Mastery by Robert Green

Better Conversations by Jim Knight

Stillness is Key by Ryan Holiday

Be Real by Tara Martin

DON’T SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS

It’s easy to believe you have to have all the solutions and know all of the answers as a coach, but the truth is your role is a partnership with your educator! This means you should be working side-by-side together through a design thinking process. Be transparent when you do not have the answer and find those great coaches in your personal learning network to find it!

LISTEN, ACT, CONNECT

Be a good listener, ask great questions and make emotional connections. Focusing on these 3 actions daily will give you a great foundation for coaching individuals and teams within your organization.

YOU ARE A LEADER

Don’t wait for a title to lead. One of the best books I read as a new coach was The 360º Leader by John Maxwell. You can lead from whatever vantage point you’re standing on in any organization. Do not wait for someone to give you a specific title or salary to know you ARE a leader! Cultivate your leadership style so you become the best coach you can be for those you’re mentoring.

Goal Setting: Ideas, Tools, and Strategies

Goal Setting is such an important part of coaching in an educational setting or just in our every lives. Educational and Digital Coaches, Tim Belmont, Brian Sepe, and I moderate a room every week called “Coaches Connect” under our club of the same name in an effort to bring coaches (instructional, digital or life) together and encourage discussion around topics important to our practice. If you’re new to Clubhouse, check out this blog from my friend, Monica Burns.

This is curation of our discussion on March 7, 2021 where we focused on Goal Setting for coaches.


Goal Setting Ideas

Goal Setting is such an important part of the coaches life as well as those they are coaching. Here are a few of the topics that our speakers coach their educators on:

• Pedagogy

• Tech

• Classroom Management

• Mindset

• Presentation Strategies/ Engagement

• Organization 

• Improving Units


Tools to Use

The tools we use help us to be intentional when goal setting for our educators and ourselves. Here are a few tools our speakers shared:

Google Docs

Google Sheets

Flipgrid – reflections, obstacles, building community

Full Focus Planner

High Performance Planner

Jim Knight – new planner coming soon!

Passion Planner


Questioning

John Maxwell says “Good Leaders Ask Great Questions.” {I do recommend this book!} The truth is if we don’t study the art of question asking we will not have a grasp on what our client/educators need and will not be able to guide them to meet and achieve the goals they have set. Here are some questions we ask:

What goals/outcomes do you want to achieve? 

What are some goals/outcomes that you’re striving for? 

• How will you know that it is successful? 

• How will you know you’ve achieved the goal? 

• What evidence will you collect? 

• Ask students for feedback – exit tickets, learning styles, lesson reflections

• EdTech Tips and Strategies: What is the best framework? This week?  This month? This year? 

How can this unit(s) be improved?

• How much does the person your coaching disposition influence the work you do? 

• What’s keeping you up at night? 


Strategies

• iSMART Goals – Inspiring, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Specific

Impact Cycle – Identify, Learn, Improve

PEERS Goals (Jim Knight)  – Powerful, Easy, Emotionally Compelling, Reachable, Student-Focused

Leadership Competencies: Where am I strong? Opportunities for Improvement? Reflections

• Model, Lead, Teacher-Led with support from coach

• 3 Prong approach: Lesson Design, Classroom Management, Student Engagement

• Content engagement, teacher engagement, peer engagement

• Coach with EMPATHY

• Resistance is a conflict with core Values

• 4 Disciplines of Execution


Are you an instructional, digital or life coach? Are you thinking of transitioning from the classroom to a coaching role and have questions? Have you been coaching and want to share your biggest lessons or takeaways? We would love to have you join us on Clubhouse! Please reach out to use and let us know you’d like to join and we will get you connected with our community!

9 Self-Care Tips and Habits for Coaches

The following tips are curated from our Sunday night room on Clubhouse for Instructional and/or Tech Coaches called “Coaches Connect.” Many tips were shared during our time together, but Brian, Tim, and I have curated the tips we believe are the most powerful for coaches to be the best versions of themselves in order to make a positive impact on those they are coaching! Comment below and share your own or let us know which one resonates with you the most!

  1. Laugh! Find something (or someone) that makes you laugh! This could be a podcast, a movie, or a TV series. One of my favorite shows is Shitt$ Creek, but I’m also a fan of anything that makes me laugh and doesn’t require much attention or time. My advice is to also to stay around people that make you laugh! After all, we become most like the top 5 people we spend the most time around. Laughter has been proven to be great medicine and being around laughter will always be a remedy for stress. (Tisha) 
  2. Affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements that can help overcome negative thoughts. I keep sticky notes up in my car, on my bathroom mirror, and on my iTunes playlists. I have been a fan of affirmations for many years and implemented them with my kids when dropping them off at school, but they have definitely helped me cope during the last year. They can be as simple or as lengthy as you want.
  3. Decompress: Decompression in this instance means to “release from pressure.” This can look however you want it to look. For me, decompression sometimes means sitting in my car in the garage alone in silence for 30 minutes after arriving home. Others may need a scheduled workout time each day, a weekend away alone, or a social media minute. TikTok, though controversial, has afforded me laughter, inspiration, and a time to decompress. (Tisha)
  4. Get Fresh Air: Aside from rejuvenating your lungs with air from the outdoors, stepping outside is a great reminder that there is a whole, massive world out there and that some of our small worries are not quite worth going into crisis mode over. (Tim)
  5. Schedule Downtime: Just like scheduling time to respond to emails or exercise, having designated relaxation time is particularly beneficial for those who feel the need to stay active. Stillness doesn’t come naturally to everyone- relaxation is a practice! (Tim)
  6. Stretch: Taking time to touch your toes, lengthen on the ground, or even put your arms above your head can relieve tension. Also, it’s a great reminder that you have some control over how you physically feel. (Tim)
  7. Write Daily: Getting into a habit and routine of writing can have an incredible impact on our well-being and sharpen our focus on how we lead and how we show up for those we serve. One way this routine can start is by creating the conditions for the habit to form. Try placing the device or notebook in an area where you will see it each day. Next, choose a structure that works for you or you may choose to write without a structure. The point is, you are ‘writing’ and ‘creating.’ One structure that works for me: 2-3 lines of gratitude • 1-2 lines of today’s greatness (what will make today great?) • Attention: bulleted list of what has my attention • 1 quote or affirmation (Brian)
  8. Move: Doing something physical each day can not only get the heart rate going, but it also has a direct impact on our energy and our focus. Physical activity can be as simple as you want or as intense a workout as you have time for. Anything from yoga to strength-training or working on flexibility or a few push-ups. The act of something physical means you are accomplishing hard things and gathering your energy for the day. (Brian)
  9. Gratitude: Your gratitude practice can start as soon as your feet hit the floor. Cultivating good habits can be as simple as using a cue like your feet hitting the floor to trigger the routine of starting your day with gratitude by flashing a smile and thinking for a moment about how grateful you are to be here today. The reward here is that by starting with gratitude, you are positioning yourself to be in control of your thoughts and ideas. Starting the day this way can put you on a path for new ideas and leading and learning with an open mind and an open heart. (Brian)

Tips for Instructional or Digital Coaches

I’m finally back to writing again and so glad to be sharing some tips I’ve curated from a group of coaches on Clubhouse. What is Clubhouse you may ask? Here’s a video from Brian Fanzo that might help! I have a few graphics to help with new users and tips for moderators, so reach out and let me know if you’d like them and I’ll email them to you! I also have 2 invites I will share with the first 2 people that comment below if you’re on an iOS device and interested in joining us.

Tonight, Tim, an ELA educator and instructional technology coach and I hosted a room specifically for coaches to come together, connect and share their best tips for effective coaching. Though Tim and I are both on Twitter, we did not know each other prior to both being in the same Clubhouse room at some point the last few weeks. We kept running into each other in rooms and decided to join forces to have meaningful discussion in hopes of helping those who do what we do. We had some INCREDIBLE educators and coaches join us tonight.

Clubhouse Event Description

So here are the curated answers to the question:

What’s Your Best Tip for Effective Coaching?

  • Allow people to be where they are. Amanda shared about SAMR and started the discussion off on the right foot. She says that, especially this year, we need to allow teachers to be where they are in terms of their tech integration.
  • Be aware of where you are as a coach. Raff brought a great point to the conversation. As coaches leading others, we have to know where we are in terms of SAMR or other tech integration models.
  • SAMR is a great starting point. Laura shared that SAMR is not linear and coaches need to use the model to guide teachers in critically thinking and determining what is possible.
  • Model for teachers – Co Plan with them – Allow Independent Practice. Omar says to combing instructional models and the coaching cycle. Give teachers the time to reflect on the strategies you used in your modeling and continue conversations until the teacher is independent and confident in the practice.
  • Advice can be toxic. Lydia brought down the house with her shares! She discussed the TPACK model as being good for planning lessons, SAMR being great for evaluation and TIM for self-reflection. She also shared that our teachers do not want to or need to know what we did back in 1999 in our classrooms. We need to be active listeners and allow them time for critical thinking. She also mentioned Carl Hooker’s pool blog that is a GREAT read for anyone interested in the SAMR model.
  • Be the guide on the side. Cindy recommends allowing an organic coaching process that still focuses on results. Allowing our teachers to be human and connecting with them in other ares will encourage a partnership that yields results.
  • Ask teachers “What is your goal? What is your plan? What characteristics do you have on your best day? Who will you be in 3-5 years? What characteristics will you have then? Anderson talks about being intentional with your teachers and encouraging them to prepare for the future person they want to be and their future impact. When teachers are reminded who they are and what their goals are they are better able to focus and move forward.
  • Coach must work on themselves. Brian shares that coaches have to work on themselves. He shared about Jim Knight and GCI and will be joining us next Sunday, Feb 28 @ 6 pm EST to discuss strategies for coaches to implement in order to be the best for those they coach.
  • Don’t just use tech for the sake of using tech. Gretchen shares her love for coaching teachers to plan and execute great lessons. Many teachers want to scrap lessons just to use a new tech tool. She suggests having discussions with teachers to discuss how using tech is making the learning or engagement better. Tim shared a great read called “Learning First, Technology 2nd” by Liz Kolb.
  • Assist teachers with projects. Katie shared taking a project from a teacher to help them feel less overwhelmed. Oftentimes small projects to us are big projects to teachers! So true, Katie! Every little bit helps and usually goes a long way in supporting our teachers.

Let us know which tips resonated with you or comment and share a tip you have that wasn’t discussed!

We will be hosting a room next Sunday, Feb 28 @ 6:00 pm EST for instructional or digital coaches and would love for you to join us and share or listen!

Be Uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable is the point. We don’t change our hearts when we are comfortable.

I hope that this blog post makes you VERY uncomfortable. Don’t scroll by. Sit in the uncomfortable spaces. Read the posts of your BIPOC friends. Read the comments. Think through your biases (thoughts, words, behaviors). We ALL have them. Acknowledging them is what will knock our pride on its feet.

These are comments curated by me and my girls from classmates, co-workers and family and, yes, some of them are from voices currently on my friends list.

“What are you? You look {fill in the blank with your choice} __.”

“Why are your lips so big like those “n”? Looks like you’re one of “them.”

“Are you are an Eskimo? Serious. Are you?”

“Do you speak Spanish? You look like you should.”

“Do you know what a “beaner” is? Well, that’s what you are.”

Mixed Family taking photos. Photographer to my daughters: “Well where did you come from? You don’t look like you fit here with your skin color.”

“Why don’t you speak Spanish?” {yelling angrily}

Referring to me: “Was your mom really born in the United States?”

“Oh sorry! You know I meant that as a compliment right?”

**Subtle seating charts, group projects, partnered work/workouts (all the brown-skinned students together)

Not white enough to fit in with whites and not brown enough to fit in with any other group.
Not being able to fit us into a box makes people uncomfortable.

See, I never thought I had the power to call this behavior or the comments out, especially because maybe they were right: What am I? If they don’t know and I don’t know my own history as an adoptee, I must have zero ground to stand on. {wrong}

As one of the very few educators of color at my school, I can tell you that I’ve witnessed biases and racism, firsthand. I grew up in a very small Texas town and now live in another small Texas town. Nothing has really changed except the faces behind the comments.

These comments and the ones that flow so easily and try with all of their might to come out as a compliment, is EXACTLY what I want others to be aware of. THIS rhetoric needs to change and we ALL need to check ourselves at the door of racist/colorism thoughts, words and behaviors.

It 👏🏻 Isn’t 👏🏻 Enough 👏🏻 To 👏🏻 BE 👏🏻SILENTLY 👏🏻NOT RACIST.👏🏻 WE 👏🏻MUST 👏🏻WORK 👏🏻TO 👏🏻BE 👏🏻ANTI-RACIST!

My friend, Amy, posted a quote from an article (link below) and it moved me so much and reminds me each day to keep digging, reading, listening and ACTING on what I’m learning:

“If you’ve never had a defining moment in your childhood or life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.”

This involves action on our part. It involves asking questions and really hearing the responses. It takes challenging ourselves and surrounding ourselves with those that will challenge us without us defaulting to defensiveness. Don’t create an echo chamber of only people that repeat back your beliefs and experiences.

…. And now my girls are sharing things similar to those experiences I never shared with my own parents or friends because it wasn’t considered “polite” to do so. And now I KNOW I have to teach them not to cower down to this behavior. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a family member, a colleague, a teacher, or a church member.

I’m vowing to do the work on and within myself to be a better advocate for all BIPOC people in my life near and dear to me. I ask you to do the same.

Editorial: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege

Remote Learning Resources 2020

I’m not going to waste much time with an intro. I just want to say as a digital learning specialist and educator by nature, I am here to help any educators that may need assistance during this time of unprecedented realities. As my friend Ann Kozma as taught me, we are always #BETTERTOGETHER!

I’ve compiled a list of resources I have personally vetted from educators/private groups that I know and trust. I will update it as often as possible as new resources become available!

As always, please reach out to me on Twitter, FB, Instagram or email for any additional assistance or to add a resource!


Catch Sunday’s Recorded Periscope with Gabriel, Jacob and Tisha here: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1jMJgQnBPdMKL

Tips from Gabriel, Jacob and Tisha


List of Resources

List of Free Wifi

List of Company Offerings

Workspace Tips

Organize Your Study Space: 9 Tips to Make Your Environment Perfect for Studying

Example Daily Schedules

NESCA Productive Home Environment Tips & Jessica Hale Daily Schedule

Sample Schedule in Google Sheets by Angela Tewalt

Khan Academy schedules for closures (K-2, 3-5, 6-9, 10-12)

Tips/Upcoming Webinars

Google Distance Learning Strategies Part 1 – Register to join on March 17 @ 5 pm CST

Planning and Facilitating Remote Learning – Tom Driscoll

Monday Morning Meetings with Katherine McKnight (March 16 @ 8 am CST)

List of Education Companies (updated link as of 3/14) offerings FREE subscriptions

Teaching Online Resources from UNC Charlotte – including best online learning practices

Tips for Educators moving courses online

Activities/Engaged Learning

Zoom for Educators (takes 24 hours to take effect!)

Remote Lab Activities and Experiences

Unplugged Lit/Reading Activities for students without digital access

Breakout Games @ Home

Wakelet’s Collection of Distance Learning Resources from educators by educators

Buncee Resources 👇🏼

  1. Free access to Buncee Classroom accounts throughout the period of their closure, in order to help students communicate, collaborate and learn remotely.
  2. A kit of resources that can help facilitate remote learning with EdTech tools such as Buncee, Microsoft Teams and Immersive Reader, Google Classroom, Wakelet, and Flipgrid.

Flipgrid Community Resources 👇🏼

  1. As a central resource, we created this Remote Learning with Flipgrid page. The post is filled with ideas and support for increasing student agency and ensuring that the magic of social learning thrives… anywhere. Please check it out and share with any peers!
  2. Explore the new Learning from Home Disco Library Playlist for ready-to-use Topics.
  3. Add your name to the inspiring community of educators willing to help and share remote learning ideas.
  4. Share this Family Learning post with parents or guardians looking to engage their child at home.

Google for Education Distance Learning Resources

Groups/Educator Connections

• Facebook Group: Educator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning (has links for subgroups: English, Science, SEL, Music, Theater, Special Needs, GT, After School Organizations, Math, Languages, Art)

Parent Resources

Helping Families Cope – student behaviors and actions may escalate as they adjust to this disruption

Fun ideas to Fight Isolation and Loneliness

In learning news:

Comcast Free Package

Zoom – VideoConferencing for Free (allow 24 hours to take effect) ; Guide to using Zoom

Virtual Museum Tours

Google’s Hangout Meets free until July 1

Spectrum offers Free Wifi for 60 Days (Wisconsin area)

What Teachers in China Have Learned in the Past Month


Why Get Google Certified?

What is a Google Certified Educator? 

A Google Certified Educator is a program managed by Google for educators who use G Suite for Education as part of their teaching and student learning.

How will being Certified help you? 

Personally, going through the study and exam process gave me the confidence I needed to intentionally implement GSuite with my teachers and students. Being certified has added to my knowledge of pedagogy, best tech integration practices and how to utilize technology to take the learning outside the four walls of my classrooms. Having the GSuite knowledge along with the knowledge of best practices makes for a powerhouse of skills in my opinion!

In addition, I lead a group of student technology leaders (S.W.A.T)  who become G Suite Edu Level 1 & 2 Certified in order to best serve our campus learners and educators.

Having a certification brings a confidence for a teacher of any age!

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Also, certification:

• Increases student engagement

• Encourages autonomy of learner

• Opportunities for 4 C’s: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking

• Cultivates a culture of life-long learning among administrators, educators and learners

• Immerses learners in practicing self-pacing and time/project management

• Allows “app smashing” between all G Suite Edu applications

• Opportunities to discuss, model and practice digital citizenship and digital literacy

How can I prepare? 

There are many ways to prepare for certification of Level 1, Level 2 or Trainer. I always believe there is a way not the way when it comes to learning. There are several ways to prepare.

On Your Own: Google offers training that allows you to study at your own pace. This option, though, does not offer much support or collaborative study, however.

Academies: One of the best ways is to utilize a trainer program like the one Kasey Bell is offering. I have, personally, taken a course to prepare with Kasey.  It was so beneficial and set me on my way to become a Certified Google Trainer! Kasey has just launched courses for you as you set out on your learning journey. With Kasey’s courses you’re certain to not only find support, but also will have a facilitator helping you along with the material.

You can review all of the courses she is offering here.

In addition you could just sign up for Level 1 or Level 2 only.

Open enrollment on the above courses closes on December 3! 


Please reach out if you have any questions regarding certification, google training or the academy!

I have been a Certified Trainer since 2017 & Level 1 and 2 certified since 2016 and it truly has helped me be a better teacher, learner and digital coach!

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•The links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on them, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Voice and Choice: PD with Educators

This year we have implemented PLC times with our core content areas. What this means for me is that for the first time in the 12 years as a digital learning coach I have specific time set aside to coach and lead my teachers toward technology implementation.

This also means consistency with the information I share and open discussions with teams of teachers to foster a culture of trust and risk taking.

Each year I meet with campus leaders to find out more about their technology campus goals with their teachers. This year we switched from a 1:1 Mac Air environment with our students to a 1:1 iPad environment and because of that our campus leader’s vision was for each teacher to take just one risk with technology integration.

IMG_0225As many of you know for some educators even one risk is big and scary and definitely not comfortable. For the last few months, I have transitioned my teachers from the typical sit-and-get professional development to more of a collaborative, flexible seating and risk taking environment.

I first read The Future of the Classroom in June and found that it aligns with much of what I’ve learned in my UNT Learning Technologies course work about how students learn, how to best implement technology, and pedagogy.

The next article I came upon presented rooms like the one I created as a “teacher’s playground.” I loved reading how this idea began sparking change across the author’s school district. I recommend you read more about the “Spark Lab” here.

One of the biggest challenges I had before as a digital coach is not having enough time to allow the teachers to explore the tools we have on campus, the digital resources they have access to, and the ability to collaborate as a whole team.

Today I decided to take a risk with my own teachers and present them with two choices for their PD time:

  1. Work with a partner through a Choice Board in Google Docs to get better with iPad Navigation and Settings.
  2. Work with a partner using the S. M. A. R. T. goals and applying them to their 1 technology risk.

Both choices were going to meet goals we have set. One goal is to get them more comfortable with the device change and have them see the benefits to student learning using accessibility options. Another goal is to elevate their T-TESS levels as they implement technology into their classrooms. A few weeks ago, we used mentimeter as a quick formative assessment tool to see some of their risk taking goals for the semester/year. So I popped their results back up on the screen as a refresher and then…

IMG_0224

I turned on some Piano Guys and let them begin collaborating!

You see if we want teachers to give students choices in their learning and opportunities to collaborate, we have to be willing to show them how to do this with them as they learn.  We cannot ask our educators to do something in their classrooms that we are not willing to do when they are spending time with us (administrators, coaches, leaders).

Our teachers need choice and voice in their professional development.

They need time to reflect, talk, ask questions and take risks. It is up to us to immerse them in the same learning environment we want them to use with our students. When they see student voice and choice in action and can refer back to their own personal experience with it, they will begin implementing it in their classrooms!

I would love to collaborate with you and share more about how I created this experience for my teachers! Reach out to me and let me know if you would like to schedule an online meeting or email me with any quick questions you might have!