Monthly Archives: January 2016

Learn how your library could be supporting teachers’ instruction, helping to foster life-long love of reading in students, and creating a literacy-rich environment for the entire school.


On Thursday, February 11, 2016  from 12:30 to 3:00 pm at Kent ISD Teacher-librarian Kurt Stroh,  will share the exciting things that are happening in the elementary libraries in the Northview Public Schools.  Sign-up for free at the Kent ISD Professional Development site. (link to registration page)

This information / interactive session is open to librarians, principals, teachers or anyone who would like to learn more about how to make the library a vital part of their school’s literacy instruction.

In a time when many elementary schools don’t have librarians (and sadly, some don’t even have libraries), find out how your school library could be the literacy heart of your school. So much more than story time and book check out! Learn how your library could be supporting teachers’ instruction, helping to foster life-long love of reading in students, and creating a literacy-rich environment for the entire school.

We anticipate that this afternoon will be just the beginning of an exciting Library Network! Come to learn, come to share what you are doing, and come to voice what you would most value from a Library Network.

Coaching Cycle: Benefits of having a Coaching Cycle

 Some members asked for the coaching cycle components one more time… 🙂

A coaching cycle is simply a framework, that helps to provide assistance in a systematic way.  Without this framework, I find that it is too easy to begin “bird-walking” down paths that (while fun), do not lead to the change I am working toward accomplishing. The other important point that I really want to emphasize is that….”IT’S NOT  ABOUT YOU”  [sorry, but don’t worry you will come in at the end]. Everything you provide for the teacher is simply based on their wants and needs….so let’s run back through the cycle looking at it from that perspective.


  1.     THE GOAL: “Easy, student-focused, reachable”(Knight, 2015) If “you” (and your wants and needs) begin to creep into goal setting, things will eventually get muddy. Allow the teacher to guide the goal. If the teacher you are working with is not committed to the goal, then when the going gets rough ….the commitment with waver. Trust  me, I have been down the road. They   have    to   “want it”!!!!  As a coach, you are asking the questions to get them there. Make SURE they are passionate about it.

For me, it’s all about the goal [ I do actually sing “it’s all about that goal, ‘bout that goal… ] if the goal is absolutely crystal clear, then I can continue to reference it and hold it when the going gets tough. “Remember, you really wanted the kids to start work within two minutes of arriving in your room”.

  1.       Learn (research): My hip-pocket question: “So, how do you want to proceed from here?”

How they want to proceed tells me A LOT about the person. Do they want to do their own research? Go in and watch another teacher, do they want me to gather information for them? I learn a lot about how they want to operate, at this stage. Again, it’s NOT about me; I will service their needs any way I can!

Remember, we talked about generating a checklist at this point. A simple checklist can help both the instructor, and you, gather the necessary data (they decide what goes on it, you simply ask the questions).

  1.       Improve: This is the point where the data is gathered (probably by the coach, but there are other options, even involving students can be an exciting venture. It demonstrates to students that we are also learners. It also can demonstrate to them how to accept feedback and work on improvement.). I usually just give the data to the teacher and allow them to draw their conclusions. Sometimes, my role might be to ask clarifying questions to help  decide  where they are at.

Just like a walking buddy that shows up at your door to pull you out of the house, even when you don’t feel like it; a coach helps to get teachers working and motivated on their goal. At this point, I become their encourager and biggest cheerleader.

Once the goal is reached, then the teacher (all about them) decides where they want to go now, and again I support them. This leads into….

  1.    Reflection: What worked? What factors contributed to your success? What new learning have you gained and do you want to take with you? How did coaching help the process?
  2.    Celebrate: Again, it’s all about them, and hopefully you have learned a little bit about the person. Would this person appreciate recognition in front of staff? Would they like their supervisor to know of their accomplishments? A note from you? Chocolate truffles? 

You have helped this teacher improve, and who knows how many other students you have affected. Congratulations Coach!

Creating a Culture of Achievement – Updates

Hello LCN Members,

Thank you for a wonderful morning of learning around “Fostering a Culture of Do No Harm” from Doug Fisher’s book,  How to Create a Culture of Achievement in your school and classroom.  We explored and discussed two proactive service cycles, A proactive classroom environment for learning and Hallway TLC and two service cycles that look at ways to support learning despite our best efforts to prevent problems from occurring, Analyze the causes of behavior and Restorative practices.  Our learning community offered two additional resources to support our learning in creating a culture of do no harm.   Lots of resources to work with behavior. MDE’s recently released Alternatives to Suspensions and Expulsions Toolkit.

Here’s the link to the toolkit homepage: Alternatives to Suspensions and Expulsions Toolkit

Here’s a direct link to the video segments  mentioned today at LCN with the Restorative Justice video segments:

Also, if some are interested in the PowerPoints that go along with the videos, they’re found at the links below (the videos are embedded within the PPTs). These are also found at the bottom of the toolkit homepage at the Restorative Justice Practices link:

Segment 2- Restorative Justice Revealed — Restorative Resources Video (Overview): Slide 15
Segment 5 – Informal Restorative Justice Interventions — Video Segment #1: Slide 4; Video Segment #2: Slide 13
Segment 6 – Formal Restorative Justice Interventions — Video Segment #3: Slide 12
Segment 7 – Circle Process — Video Segment #4: Slide 14; Video Segment #5: Slide 18

15-4285_Alternatives to Suspension Resources

15-4285_Alternatives to Suspension Resources-2

Interested in looking up your favorite Professional Learning Highlight offered here at Kent ISD from last LCN check out the list of all opportunities here.

Our next LCN Session will be on Thursday, March 10, 2016.  Please read Chapter 4, Choice Words in How to Create a Culture of Achievement in your school and classroom.


Talk About Understanding

Rethinking classroom talk to get at deeper understanding is difficult!! Ellin Keene’s book Talk About Understanding and video have helped us start to shape our thinking and intentions and talk around the “Cognitive Outcomes for Deeper Comprehension”.

At our next LCN Session on March 10, 2016 we will continue to learn together using Chapter 4, Immersed in Ideas, What does it mean to comprehend deeply in informational text? and Chapter 5, From the Inside, Integrating strategy instruction and informational outcomes.

Please use / integrate some of Ellin’s thinking with your work with students and/or as you support your colleagues.  We will share some of your experiences/learning with each other at our next session.


The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching

Thank you for a wonderful session of thinking, talking and networking our learning around Chapter 2, The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching in the book, Best Practice.  

The following links are some additional resources that were provided.

Proficient CollaboratorsTable


Going Deeper with Writing to LearnWrittenConversationWriteAround

Lots of Collaborative activities

For our March 10, 2016 LCN Session please come prepared to share some of your learning around Best Practice.  Read one of the following chapters–based on your work:  Best Practice in Reading, Best Practice in Writing, Best Practice in Mathematics, Best Practice in Science and Best Practice in Social Studies.

Coaching for Identity


What identity do you hold for yourself when you are coaching?   This was the question posed to me from a coach  to reflect on my work.  The question caught me off guard.  As the coach continued I realized that I was concentrating on developing the tools of coaching but I had not defined my identity as a coach.  I often thought about the ‘doing’ of coaching but not about the ‘why’ of coaching.   Through further reflection I explored many of the values and beliefs I hold about being a coach and about coaching others.  My coaching behaviors changed the more I thought of myself as a coach, they became more focused to support the thinking of the person I was coaching.  As a coach I strive to support others to be self-directed in their work.

Last Thursday, January 7, 2016 we explored how identity impacts learning and growth.  Identity is like a nesting cup that holds one’s values, beliefs, capabilities, behaviors and the environment or context of work. Each level impacts the other. Quality of performance is enhanced when the levels are aligned.  ( Robert Dilts)  It is powerful when a student says…. I am a reader…I am a writer.   Teachers prompt identity when they invite a student to …be writer, reader,…to think like a scientist or mathematician…to be an explorer.  What is the identity you hold for yourself…as a teacher-leader…as a coach…as a teacher for students?  How might you invite students or colleagues to consider their identity?

TIPS – Coaching stems related to identity:

Paraphrasing –  It is important to you…. You believe…

Questioning – What is important to you about____?   As you continue to grow as a _____ what  might you need to learn?


The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching

Happy New Year!!  This Thursday, January 7th this session will focus on Chapter 2: The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching in the book, Best Practice:  Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms.  We will reflect on our own practice and collaboratively examine the seven structures through the lens of what we know and do and what might be some areas for growth and intention.

Looking forward to learning together.

Nelli Koster

Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom Talk to Enhance Comprehension

Hope that you had a wonderful holiday break.  This Thursday’s LCN Session will focus on “Enhancing Comprehension with Narrative Text”.  We will investigate what deeper understanding looks and sounds like from your own experience and then use the video in the book to examine and reflect on the integration of strategy  instruction with the outcomes of understanding in narrative text.

We will be using Chapters 2 & 3 in the book, Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom Talk to Enhance Comprehension by Ellin Oliver Keene.

Looking forward to learning together.

Nelli Koster

LCN Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hello Everybody,
Happy New Year!! What a great way to celebrate all the learning possibilities for 2016 by attending this Thursday, January 7th’s LCN Day of Professional Learning and Networking!

Please bring all your books: How to Create a Culture of Achievement in your School and Classroom (read Chapter 3:  Do No Harm) and your two session books and your journal. Each session will be using the books as part of the learning and discussions.

I’ve attached the LCN Schedule for January 7th LCN Schedule for Jan.7, 2016  and the the Topic Sessions for the 12:15 to 1:15 segment. LCNTopicSessionsforJanuary7,2016 .Please note that the topic session on Academic Conversations with Laura Robinson will start at 11:15 and go to 1:15. This session will take place at KCTC and will include a lunch for $5.00. Please let Laura Robinson know if you are planning to attend. This will help for the lunch count.

Looking forward to learning together.
Your Literacy Coaches Network Training Team
Nelli Koster–questions – please ask.