I really dislike the term ‘professional development’. If you look through my blog posts, you’ll see I barely say it. Instead, I say ‘professional learning’. And that difference of one word makes a big difference. As coaches, we are not here to ‘develop’ teachers, we are here to learn alongside them. We learn so we can lead the learning of others in ways that matter most to them. 

So, that means professional learning can look very different from one teacher to the next. Some might prefer live professional learning sessions. Others might prefer on-demand versions so they can learn when the time is right for them. Others learn best reading and experimenting in the classroom. And others prefer coaching cycles with intense support. 

So, what’s a coach to do? We need to provide teachers with options to fit how, why and where they learn best, models so they can do the same for their students: live professional learning, on-demand sessions, classroom coaching cycles, content coaching cycles and blog hops, coaching through email, coaching through Twitter Lists and other digital tools, like Voxer, innovative ideas like Pam Hubler’s Potty PD, and the subject of today’s coaching tool: Grab and Go. 

Grab and Go is inspired by Lisa Parrish, a literacy coach in New Jersey. Lisa and I have worked together over the past year and I’ve come to love and look forward to her weekly Grab and Go content. So, what is Grab and Go? Grab and Go is just what it sounds like: ready to go content for teachers to explore and support their classroom teaching, conveniently packed into an appealing Google Slide for easy access and archiving. Lisa shares the Grab and Go through email and then curates them on her launching pad (aka her website!) for on-demand use later on. 

Here’s an example of one of Lisa’s Grab and Go slides created especially for World Read Aloud Day. It has information on how and why the day came to be, links to diverse read alouds, classroom activities and discussion ideas, printable bookmarks and even a ready-to-go jamboard for teachers to copy and make their own version of. Essentially, it’s a mini professional-learning session neatly packed into one convenient and appealing slide:

Think for a minute about your own coaching and the teachers you work with. What topic might be especially appropriate for a Grab and Go? An upcoming author visit or birthday? A national holiday or special month? A professional learning topic on the horizon, like small group virtual instruction or writing notebooks? A reminder for teacher self-care? Whatever the topic is, you can create a simple, yet appealing, Google Slide and link teachers to information, ideas and resources to support their learning and teaching in new ways.

You can create a simple template that suits your Grab and Go topic, but if you’d like a starting point, I’ve created a simple collection of backgrounds perfect for Grab and Go templates and Lisa has graciously shared the Grab and Go section of her website as inspiration. You’ll definitely want to take a look!

The Grab and Go is the perfect addition to the on-demand learning section of your coaching website and launching pad. Give it a try and see how it might support your teachers!

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