Typically, when you hear the phrase ‘coaching cycle’, you might think of a classroom coaching cycle where teachers and coaches work together in the classroom to try new instructional practices, elevate current practices or even support specific students. The cycle usually begins with a pre-coaching conversation, continues with classroom observations, demonstrations and/or co-teaching and ends with a reflective discussion around shared learning. But sometimes, this kind of intense collaboration around classroom instruction might not be possible and a content coaching cycle is called for instead.

So, what’s a content coaching cycle? It’s an intense collaboration between a coach and a teacher around a shared topic, rather than classroom instruction. And while intense collaboration around shared topics with teachers is certainly not new, it is usually reserved for professional learning sessions, not coaching cycles. But I’ve found that content coaching cycles are a great way to connect and collaborate with individual teachers when coaching in the classroom is not possible or desired.

A content coaching cycle follows the same sequence of a classroom coaching cycle with just a few tweaks. We still have initial conversations around the shared vision for our work together and end the cycle with reflective discussions around what we learned and what might come next. The difference? Rather than work together in the classroom with students, we collaborate around content in new and different ways, from individual book studies, creating instructional resources, reflecting on videos of classroom instruction, watching webinars and replays and more. But one of my favorite ways to connect with teachers in a content coaching cycle is through a blog hop.

I first shared this idea of a blog hop content coaching cycle at my Coaching Through COVID Virtual Coaching Boot Camp and am excited to share it with others. The premise is simple: Together, you hop from one blog (or video, podcast, article, etc.) to the next in a strategic way to build shared understanding of a topic together, understandings that often launch ideas for the classroom. First, you decide on a shared topic of collaboration. Then, you get busy creating a bite-sized, personalized blog hop to share with the teacher and schedule times for discussion, either in person, online or through Voxer. These discussions often lead to additional collaborations and maybe even a classroom coaching cycle later on.

Here’s an example of a blog hop I created to introduce teachers to how they might rethink using levels as the sole method of organizing classroom libraries. In this first image, I packaged the blog hop using Smore, but in the second, I used a Google hyperdoc to pace teachers through the content instead. Just click on each image to see the full blog hop.

And here’s the best part: Once you’ve created a blog hop, you can save it to use with another teacher, too! Now, if you feel like repeating the same content again with a new teacher feels like a misuse of your time, think again! You might explore the same topic and content with multiple teachers, but each teacher approaches the blog hop with a different set of ideas, experiences, questions and potential possibilities for their classroom, just as they do classroom coaching cycles. So, this way, you can completely personalize the experience to each teacher you work with to best support the students in his or her classroom.

All you might need to do is update the blog hop with some fresh links, revise the order you present the resources in, create reflective prompts and questions based on the needs and wants of each teacher and personalize it as much as possible. For example, if you know one teacher loves podcasts, then include more of those. But if another teacher loves Pinterest, link to your chosen articles from there instead. This way, each teacher feels like you’ve created a miniature professional learning session just for them (and you have!) and can walk away with new and unique understandings and ideas perfect for his or her own classroom.

One last thing: While I prefer creating individual blog hops for individual teachers, you can easily create a blog hop for teams of teachers or even your entire faculty. The same principles apply, you just schedule in time for collaborative conversations among the team.

So, what are you waiting for? What blog hop might you give a try? And, if you are in need of a blog hop to get started, send me a topic and I’ll start creating!

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  1. I love this! Then to pair it with a Hyperdoc for reflections, connections, and collaborations is brilliant!

    1. Thank you, Tiffany! Let me know if you give one a try!

  2. I am creating one right now. I'll probably be emailing you with a question :). It's around the idea of acceleration not remediation so we don't spiral for the next 10 years. I am a bit nervous how to sequence the resources I have for learning. It's for staff, not just one teacher or grade.

  3. I sent you a vox. Let's brainstorm!


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