The Coach’s View: Immerse Your Students in Experiential Learning

Learning about WWI can be more engaging with a few planning adjustments.

Make learning about WWI more engaging with a few adjustments in planning.

As an AUSL coach, I have a great opportunity to see teaching and learning from both a bird’s and ant’s eye perspective.  Something special usually happens when the teaching and learning are in sync; not only can one see and hear learning happening but also feel it.  The inner history teacher in me is always seeking out that educational “sweet spot” where for 50 minutes the lesson just seems to take flight, and for me, more often than not it happened during an Experiential Exercise lesson. Read more

Summer Reading and Resource List: Get a Head Start on Planning with these 8 Science Recommendations

With the school year coming to a close, it’s time to start making your summer plans! Sure, you probably have plans to head to the beach, travel, and partake in TONS  of outdoor activities–especially after the winter we’ve had to endure, here, in Chiberia!

Of course, you’ll also set aside time to do some reading and think about your how you’d like to run your classroom during the next school year….right?? We wanted to send you off on summer break armed with the best readings and resources to help you get a head start on your planning.

Check out these 8 awesome, free, and teacher-approved resources (click on the links in red)…

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DIY #7 Top Ten Coach Approved Ways to Get Smarter over the Summer

It’s that time of the year again!  You know the time of year when you’re answer to the question, “When does school get out?” is a very detailed, “25 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes and 46 seconds.”coachapproved-angled

Summer can’t get here fast enough and we know why, too:

  • You want to dust off the stack of professional books on your nightstand and read them without falling asleep
  • You want to visit the Chicago museums and plan a purpose-driven field trip for your class
  • You want to finally read some of the young adult fiction from your classroom library so you can start recommending more than that one Walter Dean Meyers’ book to your students
  • You want to bring one of the multi-step math word problems you taught your students to a party and watch your friends struggle to solve it.

Well, we have the right list of resources for you today: Here is an AUSL Coach approved list of the top ten ways you can get smarter over the summer!

1. Stock Up on Classroom Books

Get a group and a van and head out to the next Scholastic Customer Appreciation Warehouse sales and score books at prices up to 80% off.  Or head over to one of the coolest bookstores in Chicago called Open Books.  It has books but it offers so much more!

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Video Playlist: Reviewing 5 Essential Strategies

As a mentor and later a mentor resident coach, I often saw my residents and (yes) my mentors forget the basics of management and instruction as the school year progressed. Burnout has a lot to do with this lapse and since we are so close to a well-deserved break, I am betting that many of these essential strategies have slipped your mind and your practice.

Let’s get your classroom and your mojo back by taking a little time to review…



It’s never too late to reteach and reinforce 100%. This short clip shows a simple structure for giving your students directions by delivering them from one consistent spot in your classroom.

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Translating NGSS into Classroom Instruction: 5E Planning Tool and Teaching Tips

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) may seem overwhelming at first glance. However, just like with Common Core, we need to realize that the transition to NGSS will take time: Start slow. Just start!

Even though we don’t yet have ready access to NGSS-aligned curriculum materials and assessment items, you can enhance student learning now by…

  1. regularly incorporating the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices into instruction (see my September Blog)
  2. using a student-centered, constructivist approach to planning instruction (e.g., the 5E Learning Cycle)

This blog focuses on the 5E model as a framework for planning the type of instruction promoted by NGSS. It includes an overview of the instructional approach, a planning tool to help you get started, tips for what teachers and students should be doing during each phase of the cycle, and examples of what each phase might look like in the classroom.

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Bird is the WORD? Word Walls: Operational vs. Interactive

Bird is the word

Disclaimer: This is NOT a blog post intended to freak you out because you don’t have your word walls up nor does it have anything to do with the fact that a certain test that will remain nameless is upon us.  This blog is intended for the sole purpose of ensuring that your classroom is set up DAILY for students to succeed in mathematics by building their vocabulary through discussion and use of visual models.  The timing of this post is purely coincidental.  Finally, the bird is the word.

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Classroom D.I.Y. #5: The 4 R’s for a Successful Re-Entry from Winter Break

welcomebackWinter break is over.

For most of you, because you got some time to unplug, relax and enjoy yourself, you are feeling something called rejuvenation.  It might seem a little foreign but trust me, it’s real – take advantage of it! This is always a good resource as you return to one of the hardest professional gigs out there.

Chances are you are also feeling something we coaches call “the pit.”  The pit is that mishmash of emotions that sits in a ball at the bottom of your stomach and makes you feel excited and a little queasy at the same time.

In order to help you regulate the pit and capitalize on your rejuvenation, here is some well-tested and highly effective advice from Shondele Gillens, one of our senior coaches: Read more

Instructional Coaches’ Office Hours Start NOW!


For our Office Hours on TchAUSL this week, the Coaching Team will be checking out your questions in Q&A.

If you have any questions about instruction, management or planning, drop by Q&A starting NOW. Be sure to add #AUSLcoach in the Question Background field. Here’s a screenshot of what this looks like:


Our coaches will be reading and answering your questions over the next several days.

Dive in!

This Week on TchAUSL: September 18, 2013


Our TchAUSL team has been busy this week preparing new simple and quick tools for your teacher toolbox that will save you some time. This week, we have a little something for everyone to help take back some of your busy week.

Have a burning question for our Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction team? Head to Q&A this week as the CA&I team will be answering your questions starting tomorrow. Make sure you tag your questions with #AUSLcai so the team can find them. They’re waiting for YOU!

We also have two brand new bloggers this week–CA&I’s Ryan Eggert takes to Tch Talk to share some powerful numeracy resources. We’re also excited to introduce TCA’s Jessica Siegel to the blog. She tells us all about where you can find Core-aligned non-fiction resources written at varying levels of complexity for diverse learners. It’s a cool resource–check out Jessica’s post!

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This Week on TchAUSL: September 11, 2013

We are thrilled to share our first TchAUSL Office Hours in our Q&A section. Each Thursday, one of our coaches, managing directors or members of the Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction team will take to Q&A to answer your questions. Here’s how it works.

  • Starting NOW, go to our Q&A section with your burning question for one of our coaches, a member of AUSL’s Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction team or a managing director.
  • Type your question in the box.
  • In the Question Background section, enter: #AUSLcoach to have your question answered by one of our coaches, #AUSLcai to direct your question to our CAI team, or #AUSLmd so one of AUSL’s managing directors can field your question.

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