Coaching rules

Yesterday a colleague and I got a chance for a quick talk. We both mentioned that after our long Thanksgiving break, we felt that we were rusty on skills and we were glad we have a coaching session today!! (I realized that I have not been doing comprehension checks, for instance.)

Here are the rules for coaching, the steps, and a few extra skills to work on. We have posters of these for our coaching meetings. These come from Susie (with apologies for incorrect additions and changes).

When you begin teaching in a coaching session, tell the group what you want to practice, in terms of language, level, and skill.

Susie’s Coaching Rules:
Teacher stands
Students sit and respond
Only ONE coach
Please don’t correct the teacher
No discussions
Teacher chooses skill and level

Susie Gross’ critical skills (add one each time):
Read questions, listen for answers
Repeat answers every time
Comprehension checks
Three for one
Random order
3-4 questions, add a detail, 2-3 questions, another detail
affirmative/negative assessment

More possibilities:
slowing down
Point and pause
Using gestures
making a funny noise
twist to the story
introducing dialogue
contrastive grammar
parallel stories
one-word stories
using an actor
using a prop
reverse button
pause button

3 responses to “Coaching rules

  1. I am so glad you posted this. Such important reminders. Thanks.


    • Oh man…was it good to get together with a bunch of colleagues at this stress-filled time of the year. We spent time talking about frustrations and brainstorming ways to reel in the non-performers and to re-run all the structures that some kids hadn’t “got” yet. Then we talked about who’s doing what for finals. Finally, I threw myself into being coached and taught a song but forgot to do what I said I wanted to work on. That was dumb. Luckily Betsy was there and took over as a coach.

      After that, no one really wanted to practice for a bit. Instead, Anne talked about hearing a “chant and rhythm” group at ACTFL, and Yan got up to do a chant in Chinese with us. Wow! That was powerful! As Diana said, it was the clearest Chinese we’d ever heard! What was truly amazing about it was how Yan used her whole body to dance out the rhythm, and how much that helped us get the sounds. Then Betsy shared a grammar gesture “battle” she’d learned about, and we got those Japanese phrases down lickety split. I got inspired by all of this and practiced a chant to teach a difficult line from the Russian translation of “Jingle Bells.” When we sang it, the whole group boomed out that line. Again, I felt the power of the rhyme and chant combination. Yan had done it with snaps, and she changed the rhythm pattern up part-way through. I wasn’t having much success, at first, but then changed to fit the rhythm of the song, and that’s when it really clicked.

      Anne shared a structured sharing that I thought would be good for Mondays. It went something like this: I was at (x) on (x) and guess who I saw! (Class says Who?) I saw (x). (Class says Ohhh.) S/he looked really (x). (Class says Why?) Sample: I was at Maxim’s on Saturday night. I saw Britney Spears. She looked really sad. She had just broken up with…

      Then obviously a story could start–Anne suggested that it could be a way to start some gossip.

      So we did get coaching, new ideas, fun twists–along with amazing food. I might have to post a couple of pictures.


      • Blog your comment. Really great ideas.

        One of my new little (actually, he is a “tank”) fourth graders told his homeroom teacher yesterday that he had some advice for her. He said that he believed they should do things in their regular class like they do in Spanish class–you know, move around, do big actions to songs, do chants with actions, you know, have fun, move and learn at the same time. (I wasn’t sure he even liked my class.) She told him she would take his comment under advisement. I chuckled.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.