Consulting

Currently Leah is consulting across the United States. If you are interested in working with her you can contact her at leahmermelstein@​earthlink.net.

MENU OF STAFF DEVELOPMENT CONTENT

• Launching the Reading Workshop
• Launching the Writing Workshop
• Mini-lessons in reading or writing
• Conferences in reading or writing
• Share Sessions in reading or writing
• Small Group Work in reading or writing
• Comprehension strategies
• Qualities of writing and using these qualities of writing to assess, plan and teach
• Using literature in the Writing Workshop (Craft)
• The Reading/​Writing Connection
• Balanced Literacy Components (Shared reading, Interactive writing, Read Aloud, Write Aloud)
• Planning units of study
• Planning a yearlong curriculum calendar.
• Creating consistent curriculum across different grade levels
• Leveling texts in reading

Menu of Staff Development Methods

Walkthroughs paired with meetings.

The consultant observes teachers and students in the midst of reading and writing instruction. The consultant observes in every classroom that she’s working with, as well as debriefs with these teachers afterwards.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

This type of day is an important part of any staff development plan as it allows the consultant to assess teachers and tailor the staff development to their strengths and needs.

Demonstration:
In a classroom demonstration the consultant conducts the teaching in the classroom. Typically the demonstration begins with a briefing meeting and ends with a debriefing meeting. During the briefing meeting the consultant explains what she’ll be doing and how the teachers can participate. During the debriefing meeting, the teachers reflect upon the demonstration by asking questions and planning for future reading and writing work
There are a few things that need to happen in order for demonstration to be successful. First, the teachers whose classroom the consultant is demonstrating in MUST be trying the work in her classroom. Second, that teacher must be willing to email the consultant a week before the demonstration to fill her in on the reading and/​or writing curriculum that is taking place in her classroom.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

Demonstration tends to be the best method of staff development when teachers are new to the content being presented. It also is a way for the teachers to build a relationship with the consultant.

Coaching:

The consultant works one on one with teachers coaching them on their reading and writing lessons. Typically on a coaching day, the consultant meets with the teachers first so that they can plan the instruction. Then the classroom teacher teaches the lesson, and the consultant observes, assesses, and coaches into the instruction that is occurring. Finally, the teacher and the consultant meet to reflect and plan future reading and/​or writing work.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

Coaching is particularly helpful for teachers once they have started doing the work in their classrooms, but could use some additional support.

Day Long Workshops/​ Institutes/​Keynotes:

During a daylong workshop the consultant presents information on a pre-specified topic. Classroom videos and transcripts are used to enhance these presentations. The consultant also leaves time for teachers to interact with the material so that they understand how to bring this work back to their classroom.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

Daylong workshops make sense for any staff development plan as long as the content chosen for this workshop meets the needs of the teachers attending.

Planning Meetings

The consultant either helps teachers plan a particular unit of study in either reading or writing OR helps teachers create a yearlong plan for the teaching of reading and writing.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

These types of planning meetings are particularly helpful for teachers who are doing the work in their classrooms but have not documented a plan for how their year or their studies will go.

Lesson Study

The consultant works with a group of teachers assisting them in refining the craft of their teaching. Lesson study tends to go in a similar manner. First, one of the teachers in the group teaches reading or writing to her students while the rest of the group watches. Then the group meets and the consultant facilitates a group debriefing. The conversations focuses on what the students were learning and/​or what some of their needs were. After this is determined the group decides how the lesson could be revised to address some of the students’ needs. Then, a different teacher teaches the same lesson to her own students integrating the discussed revisions. Finally the group meets once again to debrief the entire process.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

This method tends to work best when the teachers are highly interested in the work and are comfortable studying the craft of one another’s lessons.

Leadership:

The consultant helps teachers study an aspect of their teaching. Usually the teachers determine the topic that is studied. Typically this study includes required reading, on-going conversation as well as classroom based research.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

This method works best with teachers who are highly committed to the work and are looking for ways to develop their teaching.

Online Help:

The consultant, in this form of staff development, can support the school in a variety of ways. She might respond on a regular basis to short and long email questions that teachers might have. The consultant could also give feedback to teachers’ unit plans and yearlong plans as well as participate in conference calls.

SHOULD THIS BE PART OF MY STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

This method is particularly helpful when the consultant already has an on-going relationship with a school and this school would like some additional support.

Selected Works

DVD

Quality Writing Instruction
This brand new DVD will assist teachers with high quality writing instruction.

Non-fiction

Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop
This brand new book will show you how to make your share sessions more instructional.

Nonfiction

Reading/Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom: Find the Clarity and Then Blur the Lines
This book demonstrates how through careful, explicit assessing, planning, and teaching every student can understand and use the reading/writing connection to become stronger readers and writers at the same time.

Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum: Launching the Writing Workshop
This book shows teachers how to launch a joyful and rigorous Writing Workshop in their classrooms.

QUICK LINKS

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