We Can Do This Together . . .
One BRAVE Next Step at a Time
If all of the children in our care are to thrive – developing the skills and inspiration to pursue bold hopes and dreams – they’ll need the educators around them to act with courage, clarity and commitment.
I am an author, speaker, and consultant offering professional development to help busy teachers, coaches, and administrators like you develop capacity to nurture joyful, authentic and kid-centered learning environments for all children.
I’d love to be part of your journey, helping you to uncover, claim, and implement the courageous next steps that are right for you, your students, your school, and your community. There are many options for learning together.
None of us can do this work well enough alone. But when we join together, we can create the kind of vibrant classrooms where children are empowered to read, write, collaborate, explore and discover their way into brighter futures; moment to moment, day in and day out.
Together we can . . .
Create the classrooms all young learners need and deserve.
Help all kids build vibrant reading and writing lives.
Nurture inquiry, exploration and engagement.
Leverage student insterests, strengths, and aspiriations in creating kid-centered learning opportunities at every age.
Nurture a sense of safety, community and belonging for all of the children in our care.
Empower students with the desire, determination and skills to build a better world for themselves and each other.
One day, one moment, one thoughtful next step at a time we can all continue to step into more kid-centered practices.
When you’re ready for your next BRAVE step . . .
I’m here to help.
Check out the articles and resources in my blog. The content offers inspiration, encouragement, and practical strategies for your journey toward more engaging and kid-centered classrooms for all. It’s all free. Browse, enjoy and share with other educators. I’ve even brought over some favorite posts from Simplyinspiredteaching.com
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Free Content Downloads
Check out the Downloads page for access to a growing collection of freebies for educators making the move to more kid-centered classrooms. It’s all there for the taking; my gift to you as a to support the work you do every day. Grab as many as you like for your own use. I’ve even included some high resolution prints of the original watercolor art from around the site. Go take a look.
Book Study Support
Are you considering launching a book study of Simple Starts: Making the Move to a Reader-Centered Classroom or To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy? I’d love to be part of the conversation by connecting with your study group through Twitter, Facebook, Voxer or Google Hangout. You can use the contact page to reach out to me. Also, on the Resources and Downloads page of this site you study guides and other supports for the books I’ve authored and coauthored.
Coming Soon! Online Courses
In 2019 I’ll be launching online courses for teachers, coaches, and administrators. The first course is still under construction, but coming soon. You can stay posted by checking back here (sort of a lot of work) or subscribing to my newsletter (super easy).
Onsite Professional Development
Planning an educational conference or event? I’d love to be a part of it. I’m available to do keynotes, half-day, full-day, and breakout session. Check out the Sample Topics further down on this page. Interested in learning more or considering a different topic? Use the contact form to reach out.
Onsite Coaching and Consultation
I’d love to come and work with your team, school, or district in person. I offer learning experiences that range from one hour to two days and include teaching demonstrations, learning labs, coaching, and/or interactive learning modules. Check out the sample list of topics below. Interested in learning more or considering a different topic? Use the contact form to reach out.
Improvement Planning Partnerships
Are you a school leader ready to take your school to the next level? Building healthier, more vibrant and engaging learning environments is serious and ongoing work. I can provide support with school improvement planning including needs assessment, strategic planning, and implementation support. If you’d like to learn more, use the contact form below. We can connect by phone to explore more about about your needs and the potential ways we might partner.
Sample Workshop Topics
Reader-Centered Instruction; What’s Your Next Move? Schoolwide Commitments for Literacy Success (K-6)
The stakes are high. The research is clear. The time is now. Getting all students reading at high levels, with independence and joy is within our reach. We can help every child develop a lifelong love of reading and while preparing them to meet demanding standards along the way. This session will balance urgency about what our kids desperately need, optimism about the impact of a few simple commitments, and practicality about steps we can take starting today. This session focuses on a few critical schoolwide commitments to help you get started, stay focused, and go the distance in transforming young lives through literacy. Commitments include interactive read aloud, high volume independent reading, authentic choice, academic talk and writing in response to reading, and responsive teaching driven by formative assessment. Reader-centered instruction doesn’t happen all at once. It happens one thoughtful and courageous next-step at time. Day-by-day, student-by-student, move-by-move, we can step closer to the classrooms and schools we’ve imagined, providing our students with the books, time, choice and responsive teaching they deserve. This session equips educators with the energy and clarity to select their next move on the road to a more reader-centered classroom.
To Know and Nurture a Reader Conferring with Confidence and Joy (K-8)
Every child deserves a teacher committed to conferring and a conferring practice that really works is within the reach of any teacher committed to build it. Yet, with limited time, a room full of diverse readers, and increasing curricular demands, it’s not uncommon for teachers to experience overwhelm and uncertainty when it comes to the practice of conferring. This session will help teacher zero in on a handful of moves that will empower them to confer with greater confidence, clarity, purpose, and joy. We’ll explore four directions for conferring with readers and guiding questions that will boost any conferring practice to become more reader-centered and intentional. Throughout the session we’ll share a wealth of simple, yet powerful and teacher tools to support decision-making in each of the four directions, as well as language choices that will support more effectively conferring with any reader starting immediately. This session is intended for classroom teachers, interventionists, or coaches grades K-8. Available in full day, half day, or 90 minute sessions. K-8.
The Courage Rules: Bringing Your Best Self to Children Every Day (K-6)
Becoming the kind of educators our students need and deserve takes courage, commitment and a healthy dose of self-care. This interactive workshop will both support and stretch every educator to start with why (taking time to reevaluate the purpose in our commitments), celebrate small successes along the way, plan for one small but intentional next step at a time, make time for things that energize and center you, and surround yourself with people who will lift you up rather than drag you down. When we are intentionally courageous in our work each day, our classrooms become thriving communities where children, too, can take on the brave and purposeful work of authentic and personally meaningful learning. Educators will leave with inspiration, commitment, and concrete plans for how to courageously bring their best selves to children every day. This session is for K-8 classroom teachers, interventionist, coaches, administrators. 90 minutes, half day or full day.
Building Thriving Reading Lives: Four Questions to Guide You on the Road to Responsive Teaching (K-8)
How can we empower our students to take the lead, expertly teaching us about their reading lives so we in turn can provide kid-centered response? This session offers kid-watching strategies, language shifts, and teacher moves to embed more responsive teaching across the balanced literacy framework, following readers as they guide the way. During this interactive session, participants will build their capacity for creating the portrait of reader by using four lenses; book choice, healthy reading habits, reading process, and authentic response. For each of four lenses, we’ll offer an essential question to guide teacher inquiry and decision making about readers. We’ll also explore a variety of tools to support each of these four dimensions of vibrant reading life, in order to help teachers map out a pathway of response. This session is for classroom teachers, interventionists, and instructional coaches. Available in full day, half day, or 90 minute sessions. K-8.
Growing Readers and Writers Right from the Start: Literacy Basics for Early Childhood Classrooms (PreK-K)
Throw out the worksheets, flash cards, and one-size fits all art projects. Our youngest students are ready to be empowered as readers, writers, creators, collaborators and communicators from the moment we meet them. Getting school readiness right doesn’t mean making sure kids are ready for school, it means making sure school is ready for kids! In this session we’ll focus on creating the kinds of classrooms that provide rich, authentic and meaning-based literacy experiences for every early learner. Using a kid-centered approach, a carefully designed environment, and a predictable daily routine, as the backdrop, all students can thrive. In this session, we’ll unpack the power and importance of early learning essentials such as interactive read aloud, playful phonemic awareness activities, authentic alphabetics, exploration of print concepts, language routines for shared and independent reading, meaningful interactive writing and book making, dramatic play, and access to open-ended materials for problem solving and choice making. PreK and K teachers, interventionists, coaches, and administrators. Half day or full day session.
Let’s Talk About Reading: Using Conversation About Books to Build a Connected Community of Readers
When readers have the opportunity to talk about their reading with purpose and intention, understanding deepens. When readers have the opportunity to give and receive book recommendations from other readers, more reading naturally happens. When readers have the chance to engage in book reading partnerships and clubs, energy and connection can soar. Yet in too many reading classrooms silent reading, and teacher directed conversation are still the norm. So, how can we create more frequent and meaningful opportunities for young readers to connect with each other through conversation. What are the steps to building conversational routines that really work? How can we learn to let go of our need for quiet and control in order to make more room for reading to become more authentic and meaningful for students. . That’s the work we’ll unpack in the session. Teachers will leave with concrete plans for gradually increasing the amount of text related conversation in their classrooms, starting the very next day. Grades K-3 classroom teachers, interventionists, coaches, and administrators. 90 minutes, half day or full day session.
Balanced Literacy Basics (K-5)
Whether you’ve used a traditional basal program, a structure such as Daily 5, a workshop model, or have developed your own system of literacy instruction, understanding the foundations of balanced literacy is the key to success for all students. In the session, we’ll unpack the power of each of the instructional formats within a balanced literacy framework, including read aloud, shard reading, guided reading, and independent reading in the reading classroom, and modeled writing, interactive writing, guided writing, and independent writing in the writing classroom. Participants will learn the basics and philosophy of each instructional format, and how to develop a balanced literacy day where all literacy instruction is done in the service of meaning making and student agency. Participants will discuss video examples, collaborate to build a flexible and effective schedule, and set professional individual goals to meet the needs of all learners in their classrooms. This session is for classroom teachers, interventionists, and instructional coaches. Available in full day session. K-6.
Our Words Matter: Power Language for Responsive Teaching (K-8)
The language choices we make moment to moment and day to day as teachers matter. What we say and don’t say, how we say what we say, and how we invite and encourage student voice, choice, and agency have an enormous influence on the classroom community we create. Becoming more thoughtful about our language choices is a career long journey for all of us. Yet, committing to make shifts in our language can create a significant shift in the energy, effort, engagement levels, and expectations of our students. In this interactive session, teachers will have the chance to reflect on classroom video examples, learn how to use tools to support choices, practice writing and practice using powerful classroom language. We will examine common instructional language pitfalls and design new pathways to inspire more student empowerment, effort, energy, goal setting, and intention. This session is intended for any elementary or middle school educator who is ready to offer students more ownership and opportunity to take charge of their own learning lives. This session is for classroom teachers, interventionists, and instructional coaches. Available in full day, half day, or 90 minute sessions. K-8.
Embracing the Messiness of Choice: Helping All Readers Find Engaging Texts
Supporting self-selected book choice is messy, ongoing work. So many readers with so many books can sometimes feel a bit chaotic.. Yet, nothing engages and empowers readers more than choosing texts for themselves. In this session, we’ll consider simple yet powerful practices that raise engagement, lower stress, and make independent reading a more purposeful and joyful time of day for all. Throughout the session we’ll explore practical steps teachers can take to support readers at every age and stage learn to find a steady stream of books that they can and want to read. These strategies will target library organization, book selection routines, conferring to nurture and sustain strategic book selection, and building a classroom culture that empowers students to talk about and recommend books to each other. Self-selected independent reading is messy work. But inside that messiness lives a great deal of opportunity. Let’s embrace it! This session is for classroom teachers, interventionists, and instructional coaches. Available in full day, half day, or 90 minute sessions. K-8.
From Frustration and Fake Reading to Joyful Engagement: Keys to Independent Reading Success (K-8)
Are you committed to high volume independent reading but worry that too many students aren’t actually engaged in deep meaning-making? Do you worry about fake reading? Constant book abandoning? Kids who seem to only want to choose the books that are too hard for them to actually read? In this session we’ll unpack the research about engaged reading, consider practices that do and don’t work, and then offer a multitude of concrete strategies for raising the quality reader engagement starting immediately. We’ll offer support for reading routines, classroom library organization, book shopping routines, student goal setting, reader to reader connections, and conferring. We all want kids to have the time and chance to make their own choices. Let’s work to help them make the most of self-selected independent reading! This session is for classroom teachers, interventionists, and instructional coaches. Available in full day or half day sessions. K-8.
Coaching Readers: Nurturing Resilience, Problem Solving and Meaning Making Across the Stages of Development
What happens when teachers pull up alongside readers in action? How confident are you that the coaching you are providing young readers is meeting their needs and moving them forward? Our job as reading teachers is help student become fluent and flexible problem-solvers, independently making meaning working through the tricky stuff on the run. Yet many teachers feel unsure about how to help readers stretch and grow. They wondering what more you could do to move readers forward? This session will help teachers understand how students progress across the stages of reading development (pre-emergent, emergent, early, transitional, and fluent) zeroing in on the most critical ways to build resilience, problem-solving and meaning making at each stage. Teachers will leave with with practical tools for observing and making sense of reading behaviors, selecting teaching points, and effectively coaching readers at each distinct stage of development. With independence and meaning making as the overarching goal for all stages, teachers will leave with the tools, understanding, and confidence to be responsive to the needs of any reader. This session is for K-3 classroom teachers, interventionists, coaches, and administrations. Half day session can include two stages of development. Full day session can include an introduction to all five.
Language and Literacy: Bridges to Success for English Learners (K-5)
English learners come to our classrooms with stores of experience, knowledge and language assets of their own. So, how can we build classroom environments and routines that build on expand their opportunities for success and engagement day in and day out. In this interactive and experiential workshop teachers will build empathy and capacity to scaffold learning for English Learners. We’ll explore ways to create meaningful reading, writing, speaking and listening opportunities for English Learners in the regular classroom. With an emphasis on use of authentic texts, thematic text sets, high utility language frames, graphic organizers, and thoughtful scaffolding of language input and output, teacher will leave the session with a flexible toolkit of options to ensure English Learners are included, engaged, and growing all day long. This session is for K-5 classroom teachers, interventionists, coaches, and administrators.