Friday, October 30, 2015

Reading the Research: Critical Discourse Analysis of IEP Meetings

Barb Novak contributed today's post. More of her thinking about research can be found here.

I mentioned a PLC I'm part of in a previous post. We meet monthly and discuss a piece of research (selected by one of the members) at each meeting. The study I'm writing about today was discussed by my PLC.

I'm sharing it simply to give access to how I process research when I read - how I organize my thinking before, during, and after reading research. This post is not intended to be an endorsement of the research or its conclusions.

"The the Eyes of the Institution: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Decision Making in Two Special Education Meetings"
Rebecca Rogers (2002)

The article is available free for Wisconsin educators through BadgerLink.

Why This Article: 
I'm interested in discourse analysis as a research methodology and am on a work group about College and Career Readiness IEPs.

Research Questions:
How are "contradictions of social structure embedded within the special education process" (p. 214)? Basically, research has already demonstrated that children from minority groups are over represented in special education. Rogers's research is unique because it investigates how the special education process maintains and/or perpetuates social inequalities.

This is an ethnographic study; Rogers served as a participant-observer.

Rogers studied language and literacy practices of a community (Sherman Hollows) for two years. Much of her work focused on a mother (June Treader) and daughter (Vicky Treader). Rogers data collection was extensive; data included interviews; documents and photographs; 300 hours of recorded interactions in home, community, and school; 500 hours of participant observation in home and community; and interviews with school and community members. 

Rogers participant-observation included a special education eligibility and IEP meeting (when Vicky was in sixth grade), and Vicky's subsequent annual IEP (when Vicky was in seventh grade). The article focuses on the discourse as these meetings. Although, Rogers relies heavily on her understanding of the Treader family and their community to make sense of the meetings.

There were vast contradictions between the two special education meetings.
  • The eligibility determination meeting included a cataloged and data-based list of Vicky's deficits. One year later, the same things noted as deficits were discussed as strengths.
  • Prior to both meetings, Rogers talked with June and Vicky about their hopes for the meetings. The outcomes of both meetings (along with communication between meetings) contradicted what June and Vicky wanted prior to the meeting.
  • The eligibility meeting was highly structured and data driven. The second meeting included no formal data or evidence.
  • June and Vicky spoke much more at the second meeting than the first meeting. Yet, democratizing the meeting did not change the results. Vicky remained in special education as
This research is highly contextualized. Findings cannot be generalized to other settings.

Vicky transitioned to a new school (elementary school to middle school) between the meetings. How were the contradictions between the meetings related to the differences in protocol and practice between schools?


  • Rogers references Mehan's (1996) work about disability as a cultural construct. I want to know more about this.
  • How would these meetings look the same and different for a student who identifies with other cultural groups?
  • How would the participants reflect on the experience now (almost 20 years later)?
Complete citation:
Rogers, R. (2002). Through the eyes of the institution: A critical discourse analysis of decision making in two special education meetings. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 33(2), p. 213 - 237. Retrieved from

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Sharon Seely contributed today's post.

Last year was my first year as our district’s first instructional coach. What an eye opening experience!  It was definitely a year of growth for me.
The year for me began at our annual District Data Dig in Mid-August. In the past I sat at a table filled with my individual building colleagues. This year was different; it was the first time I looked at the data from all of the elementary schools in our district. There were similarities and differences in and among them all. The discussions at each table representing each of the schools in our district were amazing – talking about students, needs, interventions, data results and closing the gap. One common thread that was woven throughout was, "Yes, we are doing okay, but what can we do better?"

As a first year coach, our CESA Literacy Leader recommended that I attend The Wisconsin RtI Center and PBIS Network Leadership and Coaching for RtI Implementation – Implementing a Culturally Responsive Multi-level System of Support. In October, I attended the pre-requisite two-day RtI training. This is where I learned more about the RtI pyramid, the tiers, and what the percentages really meant.

Yes, we were doing okay, but in studying the scores I realized that we didn’t have 80% of our students at or above district benchmarks.  “What?!?!” We are doing okay… meeting expectations…that’s what our school report cards said. Probortunity moment… We needed to take a closer look at our universal instruction.

So, a team from our district attended the Wisconsin RtI Center K-5 Universal Reading Instruction three day training…talk about enlightening!  Day one was overwhelming, wondering, “What are we doing right?”- so much information – lots of questions about our instructional practices, research based best practices, consistency between all of our elementary buildings, etc. Great discussions! We spent lot of time reflecting and questioning. We realized that we needed written non-negotiables and consistent teacher resources from building to building.

Day Two followed with more great discussions and Day Three was time for planning… moving forward …coming up with the beginning works for our district’s Instructional Playbook (non-negotiables), bringing this information back to our district with consideration of varied learners:
  • Listening Learners: heard the information, believed the information
  • Visual Learners: watched someone else try it, saw the results/effects
  • Kinesthetic Learners: jumped right in, learned through doing/trial and error

and having great team (grade-level, building, district) discussions to have a positive impact on everyone – teachers and students alike. 
So, find those probortunities, partner with a team and embrace them.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Setting Norms

Meghan Retallick contributed today's post.


Maybe I missed an important piece of information along the way, but it was seven years into my career as an educator before I attended a meeting where norms were set.  Why is this?  

Is it because, as adults, we assume that we already know the standards and expectations of working as a team?

Is it because we are teachers that constantly ask high standards of our students during collaboration, so naturally we know them in our own collaborative settings?

Is it because it is uncomfortable to suggest that our colleagues’ behaviors would take away from the effectiveness of a meeting?

I’m still not sure why my previous experiences didn’t include norms for the teams on which I was a member, but I do know now that the process of setting norms is essential for effective teamwork.  

First, for those of you that may be feeling as clueless as I was about this, Webster’s dictionary defines a norm as “a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior.”  Knowing the expectations is something that all of us enjoy.  Whenever I am asked to participate on a team or group, knowing the purpose and what to expect from my fellow team members makes me a more comfortable, confident, and productive participant.

So what does this mean for teams in school settings?

I’ve recently attended two meetings: one where norms were written by the facilitator  and one where norms were set with all group members having input.

For the sake of time, I won’t go into the details about each meeting, but I’d like to help give you insight to the atmosphere of each by sharing their norms:

Meeting #1 (facilitator determined norms):  
  1. Timekeeper will notify the facilitator when it is time to move to the next agenda item.
  2. Keep conversations related to the current topic.

Meeting #2 (team determined norms):
  1. Problem Solving Conversations/Focus
  2. Active Participation
  3. Be Positive
  4. Outcome Oriented
  5. Build Trusting Relationships

Just from looking at the norms, which meeting would you rather attend?

For me, Meeting #2 is the team I can’t wait to work with again!  The process they used for determining their really impressive norms is a protocol called “Affinity Mapping” created by the National School Reform Faculty (NSRF).  The basics of the protocol are that each team member individually brainstorms ideas for norms on sticky notes.  Then the sticky notes are posted on the wall for all to look at.  In silence, team members categorize like sticky notes/ideas.  The team then determines the norms from those categories.

Find this protocol and more on the NSRF website.  (Shout out to Casey Gretzinger at CESA 9 for introducing me to this resource and the power of norms!)

And so, my great take away for the week is that the process of setting norms is just as important as the norms themselves.  Using a protocol like Affinity Mapping begins the process of building trust in the team because all members can share their thoughts in a safe way.  Purpose is set, along with guidelines and expectations for team behaviors, and ownership is built from the very first team activity.  

What are the “must haves” for effective teamwork on your norm list?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Statewide Literacy Coach Network: Face-to-Face Meeting Materials

All materials used at the October 23, 2015, meeting are available in this Google Drive folder.

Mindset On My Mind - Chapter 1 Disco

Barb contributed today's post. Her other thinking about mindset can be found here.

I'm re-reading Carol Dweck's Mindset and writing about my thinking. I encourage you to grab a copy and read and think along with me!

My notes from Chapter 1 - The Mindsets 
(reading and thinking done over breakfast)

A mindset is the mental frame one applies to life (learning, successes, challenges, etc.). Dweck suggests that although mindset is developed through an interaction of nature (genetics), nurture, and environment, one's mindset (and one's intelligence) is under constant development.

Dweck's research suggests two types of mindsets - fixed and growth. Those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence and other qualities are not malleable. They might avoid situations in which they would look less than smart or not experience success. They might surround themselves with people who build their self-esteem and do not challenge them.

In contrast, those with a growth mindset see challenge and failure as opportunities to learn and grow. They are able to accurately identify their strengths and weaknesses and seek feedback to continually improve. A growth mindset isn't necessarily a belief that anything is possible but more a belief that one's potential is unlimited through "passion, toil, and training" (p. 7).

This chapter left me thinking about:
  • How do I cope with failure?
  • How do I respond to those coping with failure?
  • How do I respond to a bad day?
  • How do I respond to those having a bad day?
  • How are my responses the same and different in my personal and professional lives?

Use the comments to share your thinking about the first chapter of Mindset.

(Chapter 2 - Inside the Mindsets is next. Join that conversation in late November.)

Mindset Online:
"Why a Growth Mindset Won't Work"
"Studies Hit on Ways to Nuture Students' 'Growth Mindsets'"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Conferencing with Students: This Year’s Goal with the Comprehension Focus Group

Heather Zimmerman contributed today's post.

The new year is back in full swing.  My role (part-time coach, part-time interventionist) has stayed the same as last year, and I am at the same school.  I am excited for the consistency, so I can build off what was started last year.

This was the first time I ever cycled with some of my kids.  Some of my 8th graders are students I also worked with as 7th graders.   It was so exciting to see them again, and so interesting starting a year with students who already know me and our classroom routines.  We have had some celebrations together as we began the beginning of the year assessments.  I have noticed many of my students did not experience the dreaded summer slide and took my advice to read over summer.  I strongly believe as they grow as readers and gain skills to be successful through Comprehension Focus Groups (CFGs) and in their other classes, they are then able to apply these strategies on their own.  Therefore, growing as readers!

Some of you may have followed me last year through my journey of implementing CFGs in my middle school classroom for the first year.  Before this school year began, I started to think about what my focus will be this year for professional growth.  I thought about what worked well last year with the CFGs and what I wanted to work on.  

I decided to attempt to tackle putting in a place a conference schedule and method for taking notes.  Conferencing, even small groups, at times seems tricky.  I have yet to find a method I love to track my conferences.  This goal is going to not only be a part of my Professional Practice Goal (PPG), but also learning that I can share with the teachers I work with.  I already shared my goal with some of my colleagues, and they are eager to collaborate.

Here are some resources that are helping guide my thinking:

I plan to keep track of conferences this year electronically using Google Forms.  I hope if I put the compliment and teaching point into Google forms, I can then use the spreadsheet to sort the data.  With the data, I can sort by student name and also by teaching points for small groups.

I am excited to get started and continue learning.  I have high hopes that I will finally find a method that works for me.

What has worked well for you with conferencing with students?  What advice have you given to your teachers regarding conferences?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Righting Wrongs

Lisa Weiss contributed today's post.

Last year I blogged about the transition of changing our 6-12 district goals to writing goals. I shared the process, the successes, and challenges of the plan, and that is where I want to begin this year: writing about how I intend to address the fatal flaw I made last year--ignoring the importance of the culture that teachers build in their classrooms.

Last December I had Fox Valley Writing Project teacher leaders from most content areas come into the district  to model how the gradual release of responsibility looks when you model writing. I needed the 6-12 teachers to be engaged in the process, like students would be, in order to see first hand what the teacher role looks like, as well as to feel how the natural scaffolding of the GRR worked for students; I wanted teachers to experience the GRR. After teachers saw and felt the power of the GRR in their individual disciplines, I walked them through some simple steps for planning their own model of writing, using GRR, and then set some expectations for teachers  to engage students in the process so we could begin to have some conversations focused on student writing.

My phone was forever ringing, my inbox bursting with emails, the literacy coaches in my ears. The message were all the same: teachers were uncomfortable modeling writing in front of their students. Teachers did not see themselves as a writers, and modeling the messy work of thinking and writing (live) was pushing teachers into disequilibrium, and not the good kind where one can be reflective on a messy process, and walk away with new understandings. This disequilibrium was on that was causing two responses: refusal to model the writing that was being assigned, and challenging the people who were there to support those efforts.

I did much talking, thinking, and writing about the situation, drawing the conclusion that the fear of modeling a messy process in front of kids is about the culture of the classroom. I also acknowledged that a secondary problem playing into the issue of culture was the thinking that I don’t know how to teach writing. But first things first…

How do I “fix” this? How do I go into fall of 2015, backing up to address culture? How do I teach teachers to build a culture of (literacy) learning? Does it start with principals, and building expectations? I still have many of these questions, but I had to start somewhere. I chose to start this year by sharing the identified problems, as well as some possibilities for moving forward as building leadership teams consider how much time needs to be devoted to building a culture of (literacy) learning in each building, department, and classroom.

I set up building leadership teams including technology, literacy and instructional coaches, along with principals to consider the use of the following resources as they consider how they might approach building a culture of learning:

Our writing data from last year 6-12, to revisit the “why” behind the efforts directed at the purposeful and explicit teaching of writing.

Student & Teacher surveys (as suggested in Eric Jensen’s Teaching with Poverty in Mind, or any developed one that elicits responses from teachers & students regarding the culture of the school and the culture of learning that exists).

Readings or activities that include information about mindsets, for both teachers and students.

Chapter 7 from Subjects Matter: Exceeding Standards Through Powerful Content-Area Reading, Second Edition, Harvey Daniels & Steven Zemelman

Possibly assessing the school’s capacity to support systematic literacy development by considering the use of one of these tools:

It has been interesting to learn about the similarities and differences that building teams have taken in order to begin having open discussions about what it means to foster a culture of literacy learning, but more on that next month.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Defining Your Coaching Role

Carrie Sand contributed today's post.

Many literacy coaches land into a coaching position and find themselves answering various versions of the same question: “What exactly does a literacy coach do?” While coaches expect this question from people outside of the school system, I think we can be caught off guard when we encounter that question within the walls of our own buildings. Therefore, it is no wonder we, ourselves, can wonder, throughout different points in a school year, where our responsibilities as a coach begin and end.

In my experience, September is always a good time for a coach to address uncertainties and lay out a foundation for job responsibilities, even if the coach is in a returning role or building. Many coaches have a job description that is flexible in its written rules and requirements. The undeniable benefit to this flexibility is a coach’s ability to shape the role to best address the needs of the teachers and students in our school district or building. In addition, this flexibility implies an understanding and respect for us as a professional. I believe, however, different problems, including taking on extra duties, feelings of resentment or frustration from peers and colleagues, and not meeting the expectations of our administrator, may arise if we don’t work to build an understanding about our role as a coach from year to year.

Some of the guiding principles I use to shape my work as a literacy coach come from Cathy Toll’s book The Literacy Coach’s Survival Guide: Essential Questions and Practical Answers. Three of my own person philosophical beliefs regarding coaching come from the ideas Cathy Toll presents in this book. These include:

  • Coaching is a partnership between the teacher and the coach. Coaching only works in an environment of collaboration between peers and equals. Toll stresses the importance of keeping this relationship with teachers in the forefront of the coach’s role. While we all want to see student achievement raised, coaches work for and with teachers first. If an environment or situation threatens this balance of equals, a true coaching partnership can not occur.
  • Literacy coaching is different than being an interventionist, teacher, or Reading Specialist. While many coaches may hold one or more of these duties in conjunction with their coaching title, it is important to honor each job as a separate identity with different roles and responsibilities. Toll suggests that if 25 teachers is a full time coaching load, a coach who is only a certain percentage should only service a certain percentage of those teachers for a specified amount of time per day. A way to check your time as a coach is asking the following prompts: Am I in the correct % of my role? Am I getting to everyone on my coaching cycle equally? and Am I doing what I want to be doing to best serve both parties involved?
  • Coaching conversations are the most effective for creating change. Toll suggests that 50% of our time as coaches needs to be centered around the coaching conversation. She also says that the conversation is the secret to collaboration, as the teacher’s needs are the focus and all other aspects of coaching (demonstration lessons and professional development options) can grow from those conversations. Finally, Toll is firm in her belief that classroom observations have limited role in a coach’s job and should only be done for specific purposes.

Early in the year is the perfect time for a coach to be specific about their role in the building or district. Each year, I find my own duties to encompass new goals, changes, and expectations; I believe by being open and honest about the values I hold regarding what a literacy coach is and does, leaves less opportunity for misunderstandings and frustrations throughout the course of a school year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Confessions of a Learner

Andrea Reichenberger contributed today's post.

When given a choice, we often prefer to live and make decisions that keep us within our comfort zone. After working in one school district for over 17 years, I was offered a position with another. There were several factors that led me down this path, but ultimately I made the decision in an effort to force myself out of my comfort zone and to challenge myself to grow from this new endeavor. So far, my plan is working. :) You will probably hear a lot about this over the course of this blogging year!

But as I reflect back on my past experiences and use them to connect with my new experiences, I realize how often I had to encounter discomfort and embrace it in order to learn from it.  I wouldn't be where I am today without those feelings and challenges.  It's humbling and I'm almost ashamed to admit where I used to be in some of my thinking and mindset and I am going to confess them for all of the world to see.  I hope my reflections on my own growth will help provide that little push for my fellow educators.  

I used to...
be scared of any type of diversity in my classroom.  This included special education students, English language learners and students of any color. Born and raised in small town Wisconsin, I hadn’t met a single person who wasn’t Caucasian until I was a sophomore in high school.
I am passionate about learning and doing what is best for ALL of our kids. I have worked with a students who provide a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.  I truly believe that every student can learn and have been witness to it.  Over the years, I also came to the realization that teaching shouldn’t be all about ME, it’s about THE STUDENTS  and what they need. In order to be a better teacher, I had to set aside my ego and admit that I had a lot to learn. I began reading and seeking out professional conversations with those whom I trusted and obviously knew more than I did.  There is no shame in asking questions. We need to model ourselves as learners for our students.
not worry about how to meet the needs of ALL of my students.  If my Hispanic students didn’t understand what I was teaching, it was a language issue and since these students didn’t speak the language I was teaching in--there was nothing I could do, right? If I had a special education student in my class, it was the special education teacher’s job to teach that student.  If no one was holding me accountable, what difference did it make?
I have learned that if a student is literate in his or her own language, he/she can be literate in another.  It takes patience, time and a little extra preparation when thinking through our learning purposes and assessments.  There are no “my students” and “your students’ there are only OUR students. Planning is the key, but you have to know the purpose behind everything you are doing and why you are having students doing it.  We must make accommodations and modifications and put scaffolds in place so that all students can reach the target. And yes, we may have to assess those students a little bit differently.
not speak my truth.  I didn’t like to take risks and I wasn’t always honest about my thoughts, feelings, and opinions.  I often said what I perceived my colleagues or administrators wanted to hear.  
I know that if I don't ask the tough questions or have those crucial conversations, change cannot happen. I probably don't always use the best approach and maybe I'm not always right, but I’ve learned from these experiences and will continue to improve my skills.
not worry about what the data says.
I recognize the importance of data but also have to remain cognizant of the balance required in how we use it. We cannot make excuses for what it tells us though.
believe it was okay to just “wing it.”
I realize how not okay it really is. Many of us complain about the little amount of time we already have with our students.  Every minute of learning should count and students know when they are getting fluff. This is how teachers get a bad rap.  We need to take control of the narrative of teachers as professionals and administrators as instructional leaders.
not know what I didn't know.
I know and I continue to make sure that I know. I collaborate, I read, I attend conferences, I participate in Twitter chats, and webinars. I seek out opportunities to connect with my educational colleagues all around the world, but most importantly, those who are down the hall or just a building or district away!
see my student through only one lens--my lens.
I have learned that we cannot pigeon hole students based on who WE think they are or who WE think they should be. No student is any ONE thing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

So Much to Learn and Never Enough Time. . .

Julie Schwartzbauer contributed today's post.

As I sit at my desk reflecting on this first month of school and how quickly it has gone by, I am surrounded by some of the people I admire most.  At my desk is Diane Lapp, Barbara Moss, and Matt Glover.  At the table behind me sits Brenda Overturf, Jennifer Serravallo, Patrick Allen and Steven Layne.  Taking up floor space is Kelly Gallagher, Kathy Collins and Regie Routman.

I want to engage with these Literacy icons more than anything, but seem to keep pushing them aside.  I thought I would have had more time for them over the summer, but the idea of inviting them out on my patio or to sit around the campfire with me, did not feel right at the time.  

I have decided that I need set aside time for these influential people, the people who guide me in building my expertise as a professional.  I feel that it is my duty to engage with those who continue to inspire me and ignite a passion in me for wanting learn more.

In looking at my job description, there is nothing in writing about spending uninterrupted time with experts in my field.  When thinking about all of the meetings I attend, surely meeting with the inspiring words of Steven Layne or Kathy Collins could be part of my role.

In conclusion, I am giving myself permission to spend more time with some of my favorite people and continue to grow in a profession that I love.

Thank you for being a part of my ongoing learning…


Monday, October 5, 2015

Focusing on Positivity

Maggie Schumacher contributed this thinking.

We’re about a month back into the school year and into the grind, and now that I have the September testing window behind me, I can look forward to truly diving into literacy work, coaching, and initiatives at the middle school. As always, I’m excited for the year ahead and the amazing work that will be done alongside my fabulous colleagues. I could easily get overwhelmed by my ever-expanding to-do list, but today I’m choosing optimism and reflection.

This time of year I like to refresh and remind myself why I got into the field of education. It wasn’t for the money, it wasn’t for the glory, and it definitely wasn’t for assessment and data analysis. I got into this field, as did many others, because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my students. I wanted to inspire them the way so many of my former teachers inspired me. I love teaching. I love getting students excited about reading and hooked on good books. There’s nothing more exciting to me than hearing a middle school student tell me about their enjoyment of a book they’re reading. I love hearing the groans echo throughout the room when I say it’s time to stop reading and the begging for me to keep reading during a class read-aloud. It’s music to my ears.

Sometimes we get bogged down by the pressure of deadlines and assessments and the Common Core and Educator Effectiveness. Is what I’m teaching rigorous enough? Do we have our interventions in place? How will I move these students and differentiate to meet the needs of all learners? When will I fit a bathroom break into my day? Amidst these pressures and stresses of our day-to-day work, it’s important to keep our priorities in line. We need to keep the joy alive in the classroom and embrace the teachable moments. We need to take time to get to know our students as people and not just another test score. We need to take time to stop and laugh throughout our day - when things go right and when things go wrong. In the end, these are the moments our students will remember. When our students see that we care about them, the rest will fall in place.

Finally, and most importantly, we need to remember to take care of ourselves. Without this piece, we won’t be able to give our best to our students and our colleagues. Take the time to rest. When the day gets too long, set aside the grading or lesson planning and do something for yourself. Read a good book, take a walk, eat a piece of chocolate, laugh with friends. Remember the special moments from each day and leave the negativity behind… and enjoy a fabulous school year!

Friday, October 2, 2015

What Are You Reading: October 2015

  1. Maggie is reading House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. She says,  I love science fiction, and am FINALLY getting around to reading this novel which has been recommended to me over the years. So far so good! The book has a very intriguing plot - and it's interesting to see how the main character Matt, a clone, slowly pieces together the dangers of the future that have been foreshadowed over the years. 
  2. Heather is reading Jumpstart the World by Cynthia Rylant Hyde - This young adult book is about Elle, a 15-year-old, who is thrown into an apartment by her mother who does not want her around.  Elle encounters a lot of problems through various  characters in this book with sometimes tough solutions.
  3. Maggie is also reading Sure Signs of Crazy. In this book, the main character, Sarah Nelson, is worried she will take after her mother, who is in a mental hospital for the murder of Sarah's twin brother. Sarah writes letters to Atticus Finch and struggles with her identity and her relationship with her father. Maggie says, "I can't wait to see how this story will end!"
  4. Lisa is reading Trust Matters. She says, "It's a book that profiles school leaders and how they earn and maintain trust among staff."

  1. Carrie and Meghan are both reading Cathy Toll's The Literacy Coach's Survival Guide. Carrie says, "I use this resource as a way to organize my thoughts for each upcoming school year. I find the information to be relevant and helpful for guiding any new school year's coaching goals." Meghan says ". . . Toll’s approach to the coaching conversation is natural and meaningful.  This quote really resonated with me this week, “Change is ongoing in schools, and you can’t rein it in to make it yours.  Even if you accomplish what you aimed for, the constancy of change means that it, too, will pass” (16).  I’ve found that Toll’s methods support teachers and coaches in navigating change to improve outcomes for students."
  2. Julie says, "I am currently reading Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop by Patrick Allen. In this book, Allen unpacks the essential components of the conferring process, while exploring the fundamentals of conferring."
  3. Andrea is reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. She says, "It is really a life changing book and it is forcing me to reevaluate what is truly essential in my life and work. As literacy leaders, we often take on too much. How do we prioritize and keep ourselves mentally sane?"
  4. Maggie says, "I'm currently reading In Defense of Read Aloud by Steven Layne. I love how Layne can relate to teachers and make the reading of a professional text engaging and humorous. I also love the support for read alouds - especially the need to keep them at the secondary levels!"

  1. Jaimie is reading Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principles by Diane Sweeney. She says," This book makes so much sense to me. The idea of using student data to guide your coaching is ingenious. I love how Sweeney puts the focus on coaching on student learning rather than on 'fixing' the teacher. This is a great, easy read that offers many practical ideas for how to make this structure work."
  2. Sharon says, "I am currently reading I Am Reading - Nurturing Young Children's Meaning Making and Joyful Engagement with Any Book by Kathy Collins and Matt Glover.  I was drawn to this book because of two words in the title - 'joyful engagement' To me it seems that often our very young don't see reading as an adventure and aren't getting hooked on books even before they can 'read' them.  I want to learn more about how to prompt, encourage and stimulate young learners interest in books."
  3. Andrea is about to start Writing with Mentors by Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell.
  4. Heather is reading How's It Going by Carl Anderson. She writes, "This book talks about how to maneuver the always tricky conferences.  Though the book came out quite a few years ago, it still has great tips, which are feeding into my PPG."

  1. Meghan says, "I am reading The Administration and Supervision of Reading Programs, Fifth Edition (Wepner, Strickland, Quatroche) in a graduate class for my reading specialist license.  Each chapter includes guidance for literacy leaders on a variety of topics from a variety of experts.  This week’s chapter was titled, “Evaluation, Change, and Program Improvement” and this quote stuck with me:  “Program change is not about creating sameness, but rather about being responsive to learners’ needs in a context where learners are different and teachers are different.”
  2. Barb is reading Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. It's this year's Go Big Read; the author will be in Madison in October.
  3. Meghan is reading Five Dysfunctions of a Team. She writes, "It was recommended by Laura Gleisner and is exactly what my district needs to know right now as we work through our PLC process.  Lencioni’s message is that 'the true measure of a team is that it accomplishes the results that it sets out to achieve,' but each team must overcome five dysfunctions to achieve their results.  This book explains the dysfunctions and gives exercises to help teams overcome them."
  4. Barb is reading Reading the Naked Truth. Published in 2003, it is a criticism of the National Reading Panel.