Mathematics Coaching During COVID-19

As a former K-5 Math Coach and co-instructor for Lesley University and Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities’ annual Mathematics Content Coaching Institute, I have been thinking much about the uneasiness all my fellow math coaches (and instructional coaches) must be feeling during this social distancing time. You are a teacher leader and your role is vital to the success of mathematics instruction at your school. Yet you don’t have your own classroom, so are likely feeling that your talents can’t be put to good use until core classroom teachers have a chance to adjust to the new normal. I feel you. I started brainstorming ways you can support your school and teachers during this time, where your work feels like support and value added, not extra or a burden to teachers. I hope you find some of the ideas helpful.

Ways You Can Support Your School and Teachers:

  • Community Building
    • Host daily or weekly “office” hours where you commit to being available on Zoom, Google Meet, Google Hangout, whatever the video platform, so teachers, administrators, or parents can sign on for support.
    • Create a school staff Facebook page or Slack channel for you all to connect online. Post math or tech supports that your teachers would find helpful.
  • Synchronous Learning
    • Co-plan, co-teach, and debrief
      • If you follow the three part coaching cycle of co-planning, co-teaching, and debriefing, you could continue your model if you are teaching synchronously.
    • Model a routine
      • Offer your teacher a model session where you model a small routine, such as a number talk, a ‘Which One Doesn’t Belong,’ or any other engaging launch. Doing this will allow you to micro-model online teacher moves, such as how to annotate on a tech tool, or how to ensure equity of voice.
  • Asynchronous Learning
    • Co-plan with teachers
      • Your teachers are still preparing materials for students even though they aren’t “live” teaching. This could be a great place for you to offer support, while modeling important planning moves, such as anticipating student responses. You can support them by doing a video call with them or even simply through a shared Google doc.
    • Create a landing page via the district or school’s website for parents that your teachers could share.
      • Many parents are feeling overwhelmed by the number of resources out there, the idea of having to teach their child, and “undoing” what the teachers have done by showing their ways.  Help your school and/or district by creating a one-stop-shop resource page where resources are housed (my recommendation: for all subjects) so parents and caregivers only have to look in one place.
        • We at the Center for Mathematics Achievement created our own resource document. We highly recommend districts make their own parent landing page that might house this resource, so parents have one place to look.
    • Create one resource for teachers of all grade levels you service where they can look for remote learning activities to use.
      • I have found Fawn Nguyen’s work a great model for this. She is a 5-8 TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) for the Rio School District in California.
    • Work with administrators to determine a re-entry plan if schools resume and/or plan for addressing the regression upon the start of the school year.
      • No one is prepared for the clean up that will need to happen either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year in order to keep students on grade-level. Now is a great time to help relieve your administrators of one more thing to think about and for you to start thinking about how you, as a school, will address the missed standards.  
        • How will you re-enter school if your school does resume some time this school year?
        • Will you adjust your scope and sequence next year to extend the length of each unit to include 4-5 days of pre-teaching of previous year’s content standards to ensure students have access to current grade-level work? What will need to be dropped in order to make this work?
        • Will you adjust your scope and sequence next year so the first month is teaching content missed from the previous grade level? Again, what will need to be dropped in order to make this work?
        • Be as prepared as possible and start thinking about this now.

This is not an easy time for anyone. Coaches, know you play a vital role in the success of your school.  Use this time to determine how your talents can best shine. If all of the ideas above sounds overwhelming, then my next suggestion would be to read the book Agents of Change by Lucy West and Antonia Cameron and focus on developing you during this time.

This is not an easy time for anyone. Coaches, know you play a vital role in the success of your school.  Use this time to determine how your talents can best shine. If all of the ideas above sounds overwhelming, then my next suggestion would be to read the book Agents of Change by Lucy West and Antonia Cameron and focus on developing you during this time.

Our Mathematics Content Coaching Institute mentioned earlier uses Agents of Change as the main text and provides educators and their administrators time and a network to navigate the challenging waters of coaching.

The event, originally scheduled for July 6 – 8, 2020 (8:30 am – 4:30 pm ET daily), has been postponed to August 4 – 6, 2020. If the event is canceled due to COVID-19, no processing fees will be charged. We will notify all by June 5, 2020 of our intentions to host or not host the event, all dependent on the COVID-19 situation. If the event goes on as planned, registrations will be fully refundable until July 24, 2020 (with a $50 processing fee).

Any coaches out there — let us know how you’re faring via Twitter and if any of these suggestions have been helpful for you.

Source:

West, L. & Cameron, A. (2013). Agents of Change: How Content Coaching Transforms Teaching and Learning. Heinemann, Portsmouth: NH.

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