Thursday, December 10, 2015

People Ask: What do you do all day?

It's Dianna here with you today from Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching! Hope everyone is surviving the final days before the holiday break! Click on my button below to follow me along my journey.
As many of you know I'm no longer a classroom teacher, I am a Literacy Coach. So I often get the question or look, "What do you do all day?"

So today I am here to give you an answer of what my job consists of. Not every Literacy Coach is the same, it really depends on the county and school they are at. But, I am pretty clear on making sure that I still feel and act as an educator. I don't make a different salary than teachers, and I don't ever want to make teachers feel like I'm better than them because of my position. It's a team effort, so I always want to be a part of the teacher's and student's daily activities. Which is hard because there is only one of me and so many of them. But, if I need them to do anything or need to ask anything of them I can because I feel comfortable in our relationship.

So I use this tool from my Effective Literacy Coach Planner to keep my organized each week at my school. Each week can look different but I sit down prior to the start of each week and put in writing my schedule for the following week.Of course, things pop up daily or the day before that I go and do. Those things I don't have written down, but when you our without students you are always needed at random times for random things. It's mostly the things that nobody sees, but it helps with the day to day operations of a school.

Before I go into detail, we are currently in our middle of the year assessment window and I have a teacher out on maternity leave. So I have been devoting a chunk of time daily to that Kindergarten classroom to assess. Okay, here we go...

Daily:

  • 8:00-8:30 a.m.: I have a first grade classroom I visit to assist with each morning. I help the students stay focused on their morning routines and I also pull a small group of students. 
  • 8:30-9:00 a.m.: I take a small group of students for the Kindergarten Intervention time.
  • 1:45-2:15 p.m.: I take a small group of students for the First Grade Intervention time.
  • Every Monday is WAVE day at my school. I really don't know what that stands for, it was the name before I got here. But it means extended planning. Two grade levels a Monday meet for 2 1/2 hours. I have a part in these meetings where I check in on Literacy needs and wants. We discuss assessments, data, planning, etc... 
  • Every day I take a chunk of time to sit down and plan for a grade level or find/prep resources. I put one team or teacher down a day who has asked me to help with something. I like to do this because it allows me an opportunity to connect from a planning point of view when it comes to content, lessons, standards, etc...
  • I attempt to swing through 1-3 reading blocks a day. I deliberately do not take anything with me to record on. I know how that makes people feel and I don't want to make a relationship uncomfortable. Some days I stay longer in one place and don't get any further but I always try to see someones mini-lesson, work period and small group time each day. I use this as a positive to share with colleagues the great things that are happening that everyone can't see. 
  • I do this each day... LOOK AT DATA!!! I am always pulling up teacher data and looking around at trends. I am continuously thinking of ways we can improve instruction for all students. Not only Literacy data though, as part of the coaching team we are looking at all school data
  • The most important thing I do every day is walk to each classroom and say hello! That's it, simple. But it is how I build relationships, make teachers comfortable with me and let them know I am here for them! I do want students to see me so they also know who I am. 
This Week and Others:
  • One day a month one of my teachers attends the "Cadre". It's to build capacity in the school as a lead teacher. We all know the funding issues, so there is no sub. It's ME! I absolutely love it! It makes me feel like a teacher again and the class is wonderful. So today, Thursday, I am a third grade teacher all day! I just love doing it, because I do nothing all day but work with kids. I don't deal with any adults, which is a nice break sometimes. But most importantly, the fact that I'm teaching all day, eating lunch in the cafeteria with the students and monitoring recess gives me credibility with my teachers. This is a bonus when it comes to collaborating with them. 
  • Each semester I deliver 10 hours of Professional Development. We have already wrapped up our First Semester which was Improving Written Comprehension through Reading. But, this is usually in my weekly schedule to plan and deliver Professional Development. I also read a book with each Professional Development as between session reading. So I have to read ahead of my participants and plan for that weekly too. 
  • Each week if I'm asked to, I attend grade level meetings or have meetings of my own for Literacy. That is on a rotation with other coaches. Since we are in the Middle of the Year Benchmark window I asked my teachers to use their time this week to grade Spelling Inventories, Writing Samples or continue to assess students without disruption. I quickly met with 3rd grade though to go through some of our Read to Achieve Portfolios. 
  • As far as observations and individual conferences, that really has to do with any specific teacher I'm working with that has asked me to be there, or who our administration has asked me to work with. Seeing that it's the week before Christmas break, I am currently only working with one teacher as "check in status". I am very happy that I many teachers on my campus very casually always ask me to help or come in. It makes me smile because I want our relationship to be that way. 
  • Each week I organize and facilitate the Academic Language School-Wide Initiative each week at school. I send out the newsletter with activities, suggestions and etc. I also keep the front hallway bulletin board up to date.
  • Each week I contribute to our NWE Game Plan from the school coaches. I use this as a time to give some professional learning as well. Click below to see our newsletters from Smore! 
  • Each month I write the monthly Book of the Month Lesson plans with the help of some fabulous teacher brains and organize all that. 
  • Most importantly I try to be an advocate for the teachers when needed to the powers above us and I try to put out fires and keep nerves calm in a school full of women! 
So that is what's happening this week! It can be different each week, it really depends on the time of year, assessments, observations and my teachers most importantly. I help with many other spontaneous tasks and duties at school, along with the Hospitality Committee and Literacy Committee.

My planning pages help me keep my days organized and successful. I try to get as much face-to-face time in each day with the students and teachers across campus.

Here are some photos of my life at work this week! Of course I'm not able to snap pictures of me and I always forget to grab my phone but here are a few that I got. Sorry I didn't get any of my cute Kinder or First Grade groups, but I LOVE them all! I'll have to get some and post those. I also of course don't take photos of me and teachers meeting.

Let's start with my plan for the week. You can click HERE to see and read about all the details...

The main part, assessing....


My day in 3rd Grade consisted of lots of reading and writing activities. We worked twice on written response. Once through their science content with text structures and once through literature with inferences that our librarian led. We also had a little holiday crafts and attended the school performance!






Hour of Code, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably saw the Flipgram I posted earlier this week my time in 4th Grade...




You can click HERE to see and read about my Literacy Coach planning tools. You can click HERE to see some of the tools I use as a Literacy Coach that could help you too!

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