In a post on July 12, I shared the Seattle Foam Fest race I was looking forward to running. I am happy to report that I made it! The 3.1-mile course was peppered with 15 obstacles. A different strategy was required to overcome each obstacle. Before the race, I previewed the photographs of the obstacles and gave thought to the strategies I might need to navigate them fluently, but it wasn't until I was right upon them that they interrupted my personal running life. I navigated most of them independently, but there were a few where I relied on the tips of a coach positioned at the obstacle to offer guidance and support.
Our students come upon hurdles that interfere with their accuracy, fluency, and comprehension on a daily basis. They need to access strategies that will enable them to quickly maneuver these hurdles. We can teach strategies that will help keep obstacles from interfering with their reading success, and many times, students will be able to access and try a strategy when an obstacle blocks their reading path.
During the race, I was reminded of the power of in-the-moment coaching. It reconfirmed for me the importance of building independence in my students so I can sit with them one-on-one, providing just-in-time guidance over the hurdles that get in their way.
Our coaching sessions are even more focused and powerful when we make consistent use of a conferring notebook. As a new school year approaches, let's renew our commitment to mastering this powerful tool, which enables us to differentiate our teaching, monitor progress, and equip our students to overcome their obstacles and get back in the race.