If I was forced to choose just one coaching sketchnote as my favorite (but please do not make me choose!), I would have to say that the Play of the Week would make my top 3. I stumbled upon this idea from Pam Hubler on the Shake Up Learning blog. While the post was geared toward students, Pam originally experienced this idea as an instructional coach. I read it, I loved it and I use it. Often. It's the perfect way to focus on what's working, over what's challenging, and re-energize our mindset for learning, something we can always use a bit more of.

Creating a collaborative play book with teachers is an innovative way to celebrate teaching and learning and has roots in athletic coaching. Have you ever watched the sports news on television and saw clips celebrating the play of the week or something similar? This activity helps educators do the same in their own classrooms so they can celebrate their own instructional moves.

Before I get into how it works, you might like to browsethis example created by our think tank of literacy coaches in upstate New York. We create one every month to celebrate and share our coaching practices.

Now, here’s how it works:

Create a Google Slides presentation and share it with teachers, giving everyone editing access. Send the template to teachers before an upcoming learning session with the following request: Create a slide that represents something that went well in your classroom, a ‘play’ you could highlight for your colleagues to celebrate and learn from. Start the slides off with an example of your own for teachers to use as a model and be sure to offer technical support if needed.

When you meet next, whether in person or virtually, project the playbook and play it on a loop for teachers to admire as they wait for your session to begin. Give teachers easy access to the slides by linking it to a QR code on the screen or give them a moment to access it on their own devices. Then, open your session by asking teachers to browse through the slides with you and give a one-minute celebration of their chosen play.

There are a few variations that you can try as you decide how this coaching idea can work best for you. If a Play of the Week seems a bit too overwhelming, how about a Play of the Month or a Play of the Quarter? Or, if you'd rather follow a unit of study, rather than the calendar, try create a playbook based on the topic your exploring together, like a playbook of effective word walls, reading workshop mini-lessons or small group strategy instruction.

While it might initially feel like another task to complete, once teachers see the power in sharing their successes with others and learn new ideas from their colleagues, I bet this routine will be welcomed. Over time, teachers will start to look for the plays they can celebrate with others as your learning community adopts this routine and develops a celebratory habit. I know I did.

How might you use collaborative playbooks in your coaching? I'd love to hear your ideas and better yet, hope you'll share your playbook with me to celebrate!


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  1. Hello Stephanie! I am an Project Coordinator who oversees a project that has 40 early learning consultants that support child care programs with coaching in programs and now we have to go virtual due to Covid. I came across your book and website and i love so much of what i read. I live in Alberta, Canada and i would love purchase your book for all 40 of my consultants to support them during this time. I am struggling in finding a company that has this many books and who will ship to Canada. Please reach out to me to see if we can work something out. Thank you, and hope to connect.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words about my books and coaching resources I share online. I am so glad they are helpful! I am sorry to hear that my book is not easily available in Canada. Here is the direct link to the publisher. I imagine they could ship to you and they offer a 30% discount on orders of 15 books or more, too. Here is the link.

      I'd love to connect with you and your coaches! If you ever want to set up a Zoom meeting to collaborate around the book, I'd love to. I have other resources online in my Coaching Through COVID Summer Boot Camp (I offer the videos on-demand, too) and my recent Virtual Coaching Roadmap series of on-demand videos, too.

      Have you seen my Virtual Coaching Toolkit on Padlet? I add to that every week, too!
      I'm so glad to connect!

      Stephanie

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