Instructional Coaching

Instructional Coaching

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tuesday Teaching Tips - GRASPS: A Focus on Writing

What are GRASPS?
GRASPS are performance-based assessments intended to provide students with experiences found in the real world.  GRASPS can be used in all subject areas (a GREAT way to get kids writing).

What does GRASPS stand for?

G = Goal: The Purpose of the task

R = Role: Explains student involvement in scenario

A = Audience: The people the student addresses

S = Situation: Explain the scenario

P = Product, Performance, and Purpose: Tangible evidence of understanding

S = Standards and Criteria for Success: How to complete the task successfully

Design, teach, explain, inform, create, persuade, defend, critique, improve
Advertiser, illustrator, coach, candidate, chef, engineer, eyewitness, 
newscaster, editor, news show host, politician
Board members, neighbors, pen pals, travel agent, jury, celebrity, 
historical figure, community, school board, government
The context of the situation – Create a real life scenario.
Advertisement, game, script, debate, rap, banner, cartoon, scrapbook, 
proposal, brochure, slide show, puppet show
What success looks like: Scoring guide, rubric & examples
- Grade Level Examples - 
Kindergarten Example:
Animal Action
You are a zookeeper at the Milwaukee County Zoo. You have been asked to write a
caption that describes one of the animals. Your description will help people who come to the zoo learn more about that animal.

First Grade Example:
My Menu
The cooks in the cafeteria at your school have invited students to submit items to be
considered for future menu selections. Your teacher would like each student in your class to submit several items. All of the items will be included on a school-wide ballot. The items with the most votes will be included on the menu. Your task is to create several items for the menu. Use sentences to describe each item.

Second Grade Example:
Pet Care
You are the owner of a pet shop. You will create a sign to help your customers know what they need to take care of their new pets. Choose a pet and write a description of the items a pet owner needs to care for his or her pet.

Third Grade Example:
Worth Remembering
A local bookstore is sponsoring a contest for third grade students called Most Memorable Characters. The organizers of the contest would like students to describe a memorable character from a book they have read. The contest entry should show why the character is memorable.

Fourth Grade Example:
Join the Club!
Your school would like to offer more after school activities next year, including starting several new clubs for students to join. Write a business letter to your principal describing a club that you would like to start at your school.

Fifth Grade Example:
Select a picture from a magazine or newspaper and describe what is happening in
the picture using the voice of someone or something in the picture.

For other great GRASPS examples visit this link:  GRASPS: A Focus on Writing
For more information and organizers to create your own GRASPS visit:  GRASPS

Coaching Request Form:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tuesday Teaching Tips - Number Talks

What is a Number Talk?
A Number Talk is a short, ongoing daily routine that provides students with meaningful ongoing practice with computation and mathematical reasoning. A Number Talk is a powerful tool for helping students develop computational fluency because the expectation is that they will use number relationships and the structures of numbers to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

Number Talks should be structured as short sessions alongside (but not necessarily directly related to) the ongoing math curriculum. It is important to keep Number Talks short, as they are not intended to replace current curriculum or take up the majority of the time spent on mathematics. In fact, teachers need to spend only 5 to 15 minutes on Number Talks. Number Talks are most effective when done every day.

Article on Number Talks

Implementing Number Talks - Helpful Hints

What is the format of Number Talks?
1.  Teacher presents a problem.

2.  Students figure out an answer.

3.  Students share their answer.

4.  Students share their thinking.
The teacher asks questions: 
• Who would like to share their thinking? 
• Who did it another way? 
• How many people solved it the same way as Billy? 
• Does anyone have any questions for Billy? 
• Billy, can you tell us where you got that 5? 
• How did you figure that out? 
• What was the first thing your eyes saw, or your brain did?

5.  The class agrees on the "real" answer for the problem.

Why are Number Talks beneficial?
  • Encourage math communication from all students
  • Provide structured practice for mental math
  • Promote the value in using mental math to compute
  • Promote the importance of being flexible with numbers
  • Use a variety of strategies for computation
~Using Number Talks to help build students' math reasoning:

Hand signals can be used to keep students engaged during Number Talks.
Here are a few examples:
Fist to chest = still thinking
Thumb up (to chest) = I have a solution
Thumb up and another finger (to chest) = I have more than one way to solve

Introductory Video on Number Talks and Hand Signals

Number Talk Examples:

Friday, August 22, 2014

And We're Off......

These first couple weeks of school are exciting and at times overwhelming.  If I can be of assistance, please let me know.

I will be meeting with grade level teams to discuss my role and how I can support you as an instructional coach.  I look forward to partnering with you throughout the school year!

Sheryl Sulima
K-5 Instructional Coach