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Model Classrooms: Why You Need One and What to Do When You Get One, Ep. 78 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Wondering what a model classroom is and why an instructional coach needs one? On episode 78 of The Coaching Podcast, I explain what it is and how to choose one on your campus. I share tips for picking the right teacher and questions to ask to set goals for your coaching work. Listen for model classroom ideas that will help you leverage your impact across the entire school.

What is a model classroom and why do you need one?

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I answer these and other questions about using a model classroom to help teachers improve their practice.

What is a model classroom?

A model classroom is where an instructional coach provides support and leverages it to grow the teachers on the campus. It’s a place where you will spend a lot of your time. Teachers will visit and observe practices in this room.

The model classroom is not a perfect classroom. It has a strong teacher who can serve as a model, but that doesn’t mean they are the best at everything.

Creating a model classroom won’t do coaching work for you, but it will serve many teachers if you’re strategic. When they visit, they’ll notice things there that pique their curiosity and prompt them to learn more.

How to choose a model classroom?

Instructional coaches need to be thoughtful about how they choose a model classroom. First, you’ll need to decide how many model classrooms to have for your staff. You probably want a classroom for each band of grades or in each content area you serve.

During the episode, I explain my thought process for how to choose the right teacher. A good place to start is getting to know each teacher in their classroom.

Choose teachers with solid management in place. Someone who has influence in the grade level and wants to try something new.

You can use the strategy in Episode 39 called “Classroom Sweep” to get to know teachers fast. The free Coaching in the Classroom download below has all the forms you’ll need to make your observations.

What to do once you choose a classroom?

Now that you have a model classroom or two, what should you do with them? Basically, you do your coaching work in there.

Focus your objectives on something that teachers are interested in and tied to your school goals or initiatives. You’re choosing a focus for your work with that model classroom, and you’re keeping in mind how it’s going to support other classrooms in the school.

Using model classrooms to leverage your impact on campus

You’ve been working with your model classroom and you see good things beginning to happen in there. So how do you use this to support other teachers on your campus?

There are a few different things that you can do that will help you maximize your effectiveness in other classrooms. During the episode, I go into details about what to do and how to do it.

Here are a few suggestions to leverage your work in that model classroom across the school.

  • Have teachers sit in on planning sessions with you, your co-teacher, and the cooperating teacher.
  • Teachers can observe the coaching model or lessons that are co-taught in this model classroom.
  • Use this classroom as a model of what coaching work is like. It will show teachers that coaching is not for weak teachers or punishment, but it’s for anyone who wants to improve their craft.
  • Record videos of you modeling and co-teaching. This library can provide support for teachers when time is tight.

When teachers see coaching in action and see the results, they are more likely to invite you into their room. You can use this to leverage your way into other classrooms and get those other teachers enrolled in coaching cycles.

After you have gone through coaching work with this model classroom, you may decide it’s time to move to the next one. Maybe you change model classrooms once a semester or every six weeks. It depends on your school climate and what you’re working on.

The model classroom can be used for deep coaching work and to show teaching in action. If you want to find out more, be sure to tune in to the entire episode. I share my best tips and ideas for creating a model classroom.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources

The Confident Literacy Coach
Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros

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