Protocols: Safe Havens for Discussion

Education protocols are guidelines for efficient, respectful and productive discussions about teaching practices. Though many different education protocols have been developed, all attempt to provide participants with a safe space for sharing and improving their own or others’ teaching and coaching practices.

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Essential Questions

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Essential questions provide context for individual understandings or skills. They connect the small to the large, the known to what still must be explored. If designed well and integrated into instruction, they help students think bigger, communicate better, analyze and synthesize what they learn and transfer that knowledge to other subject areas both inside and outside of school.

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Just in Time: Formative Assessment

Formative assessments are a key component of grounding students in 21st century skills. By providing feedback while students are learning instead of waiting until the end of a lesson or term, learners can recognize what they are and aren’t understanding. Similarly, educators can adjust their teaching methods to better meet their students’ needs.

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A Starting Point for Effective Coaching Sessions

In chapter 4 of The Adaptive School (2016), Garmston and Wellman describe seven norms that are essential to group collaboration: pausing, paraphrasing, posing questions, putting ideas on the table, providing data, paying attention to yourself and others, and presuming good intent.  I planned to focus on the seven norms in this post, but after reading chapter 4 more closely, I realized that the success of these norms relies on individual group members being able to monitor their own thinking and behavior. So instead, I chose to focus on the four “group member capabilities” (Figure 1) identified by the authors that underlie the seven norms of collaboration.

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Coaching for Computer Science Integration

My job is to teach elementary computer science and technology classes and when appropriate, help my students’ classroom teachers integrate tech into their classes. Though I am not a technology coach, many of the skills I need to do my job effectively are the same that are required in coaching: building relationships, listening to teacher’s concerns and goals, and understanding how school and district level expectations effect technology and computer science integration at the classroom level.

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