Just in my first year in the Learning Coach Role, I often reflect on my effectiveness and my ability to assist others to change their practice. Earlier this week, I was affirmed that I may be doing just that! As mentioned in my previous post, I am working with a grade three teacher with a student blogging project. I have modeled using the placemat strategy as a means to ensure all students are engaged, have a voice, and are able to assess their own learning, specifically to develop criteria and requirements for Powerful Blog Entries (yes Diane, we discussed the difference). Rather than speak about the actual lessons again, I would like to speak to the wonderful “aha” moment both the teacher and I had. After being away from the school for a week, I did a check in. She related a story about how she “just” about used the placemat strategy for another lesson, separate from our project. However, she was reluctant to “do it wrong” so she went back to a familiar, but less effective strategy. I was both excited and a little saddened by this. Excited, because she was looking for ways to incorporate the strategy into her practice and saddened, because I wondered if I hadn’t given her sufficient information, support, or something (?) so that she felt confident enough to go forth on her own. We spoke further about using this as a universal strategy and that she didn’t need my “permission” to expand on its use or worry about doing it “wrong”. This is a learning process for everyone! Imagine my delight when, later that day, I walked into a room in which she had been teaching to see this display (see picture above) on the board. Just like the Grinch, my heart grew bigger and my smile grew wider! She had taken initiative and used the strategy with a whole new group of kids to brainstorm for a writing assignment. Later that day, we had our second team teaching experience and I noticed her increased confidence and comfort level in using this teaching tool. She was effusive in her enthusiasm and its effectiveness to promote “thoughtful” thinking (is there such a beast?) in the classroom. We have plans to work on more Cooperative Learning Strategies in the New Year. I feel one small seed has been planted; I am looking forward to the garden blooming.