Consulting Services

Since 1997, Leah has worked nationwide with schools, districts, educational organizations, and universities to help teachers, literacy coaches, and principals grow their understanding of how to teach reading and writing to elementary students.

She utilizes many methods of staff development when working with educational institutions, including demonstration, coaching, study groups, and workshops. A full menu of staff development content and methods are explored below:

  • Launching the Writing Workshop
  • Launching the Reading Workshop
  • Mini-Lessons in Writing or Reading
  • Conferences in Writing or Reading
  • Share Sessions in Writing or Reading
  • Small Group Work in Writing or Reading
  • Comprehension Strategies
  • Qualities of Writing (and utilizing these qualities to assess, plan, and teach)
  • Using Literature in the Writing Workshop (Craft)
  • The Reading/​Writing Connection
  • Leveling Texts in Reading
  • Balanced Literacy Components (shared reading, interactive writing, read aloud, and write aloud)
  • Planning Units of Study
  • Planning a Year-Long Curriculum Calendar
  • Creating Consistent Curriculum across Different Grade Levels

FEATURED METHODS OF STAFF DEVELOPMENT

Each method highlighted below is a one-day consultation.

Walkthroughs (paired with debriefing meetings):

The consultant observes teachers and students during reading and writing instruction. The consultant observes in every classroom she works with and does a full debrief with these teachers afterwards.

Should this be a part of my staff development plan?

A walkthrough is a crucial part of every staff development plan. It allows the consultant to assess teachers in their current environment and tailor a development plan that leverages their teaching strengths while addressing their needs.

Classroom Demonstration:

A typical classroom demonstration has three components. First, the consultant has a briefing meeting with the teachers prior to the class, explaining what she will be doing and how the teachers can participate. Next, the consultant takes over and conducts the teaching in the classroom. Finally, the demonstration ends with a debriefing meeting where teachers can reflect upon the demonstration, ask questions, and plan future reading and writing work.

There are two requirements to having a successful classroom demonstration. 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 a part of my staff development plan?

A classroom demonstration has proven to be the best method of staff development when teachers are new to the content being presented. It also is a great way for the teachers to build a relationship with the consultant.

Coaching:

The consultant works one-on-one with teachers to coach them on their reading and writing lessons. On a coaching day, the consultant typically meets with the teachers first to plan the instruction. Next, the classroom teacher teaches the lesson while the consultant observes, assesses, and coaches 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 a 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. A third-party, such as a consultant, is useful in providing objective feedback.

Day-Long Workshops/Institutes/​Keynotes:

During this day-long workshop, the consultant presents information to the teacher 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 they understand how to bring this work back and implement into their classrooms.

Should this be a part of my staff development plan?

Day-long workshops make sense for any staff development plan, if the content chosen for this workshop meets the needs of the teachers attending.

Planning Meetings:

During a planning meeting, the consultant can work with teachers in two different ways; either by helping to plan a particular unit of study in either reading or writing, OR to help create a year-long plan for the teaching of reading and writing.

Should this be a part of my staff development plan?

Planning meetings are particularly helpful for teachers who are doing the work in their classrooms, but have not yet documented a plan for how their year or their studies will go.

Group Lesson Study:

In a Group Lesson Study, the consultant works with a group of teachers to assist them in refining the craft of their teaching. In this format, teachers are encouraged to work together and openly discuss feedback for teaching a lesson. Typically, one of the teachers in this group with conduct a reading or writing lesson to her students while the rest of the group observes. After the lesson, the consultant facilitates a group debriefing where the teachers discuss their observations – what were the students learning? What were some of their needs? As a group, the teachers discuss how the lesson could be improved upon to address the students’ needs. Next, a different teacher will take the modified lesson plan to her own students while the group observes. The consultant and the group meets one more time to debrief the entire process.

Should this be a 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.

Self-Leadership:

In a Self-Leadership staff development training, the consultant helps teachers to study an aspect of their own teaching. Generally, the teacher will determine the topic that is studied (which may include required reading, on-going conversations, or classroom-based research).

Should this be a 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 own teaching.

Online Support:

With Online Support, the consultant is able to support the school in a variety of ways. Examples include continuing a conversation or relationship with a teacher by answers questions via email; giving feedback for a teachers’ unit plans or year-long plans; as well as participating in conference calls.

Should this be a part of my staff development plan?

This method is best used as a supplement to one of the methods above. Once the consultant and the school have had a chance to work with each other and establish a relationship, online support is an easy way to continue the coaching while providing additional guidance.

Which Staff Development will Work Best for Me?

Find Out if Leah's Methods are a Good Fit for You