Well, two (technically now three) weeks in, and I’m already behind. But, rather than focusing on that, here’s to catching up! I’m pretty linear, so I’ve got to do week 2 before week 3…anything else just won’t feel right to me. 🙂 So here goes…
Hands down, Google Drive is my absolute favorite for sharing and collaborating with teachers in my new role as a coach.* Whether it be trying to get resources out to multiple teachers in multiple buildings or working with teachers on common unit planning, Drive makes it possible. A topic assessment needs to be revised? I make the revisions and share it with my teacher leaders. A grade level is struggling with a particular concept? I look for resources I’ve developed or that are free online, stick them in a designated Drive folder, and they’re immediately available for use! An administrator meeting is coming up? I create an agenda and share it with the literacy coach so that we can both add our own items as needed. And that’s only the beginning.
Because my district has Google Apps for Education (GAFE), I also utilize Google Classroom in conjunction with Drive. Each grade level has its own “class”, as does my group of teacher leaders. For many teachers, this is an easier way for them to find resources, and for me, I love that I can create a document and share it out so that everybody gets their own copy. I’ve found this particularly helpful for sharing meeting agendas with my teacher leaders – they can see ahead of time what we’ll be working on, and can add their own notes about the topics beforehand as well as during the meeting.
Finally, my favorite part of my favorite is how it’s allowed me to create more authentic professional development with teachers. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of work around unpacking the standards and planning units accordingly. For each grade level team that I work with, I create a new folder and share it with just those teachers. Inside the folder, I put copies of templates that I’ve created, whether for unpacking the standard/s, thinking about differentiation, developing an outline for rotation activities, or whatever else is relevant to the team. Here are a few examples:
When we meet together only the headings are there…everybody opens up the document on their laptop and we start discussing and filling it in as we go. Because they are Google Docs/Sheets, whatever one person writes, everybody sees! It’s an amazing tool for keeping our conversation focused while also letting everybody contribute. Plus, whatever we add stays there in the shared folder for teachers to reference as often as they need once our PD is over (and has the added bonus of creating a record for me of the work that I’ve done with different grade level teams). Being able to facilitate these conversations through this collaborative editing work is by far my favorite coaching tool. Yay technology!
* Honestly, it would have also been my favorite as a teacher if it hadn’t taken so long for Google Docs to get up to speed with equations. But, since it wasn’t at a time when I was in need of formatting seventh grade math activities, Dropbox became my go-to. With the switch to coaching, I chose to go fully Google so that I can access everything I need regardless of where I am and what tech I have available.