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Mentoring Calendar for March

Each issue of The Mentoring Memo features a mentoring calendar for the current time of the year. The March calendar is now available. These calendars, excerpted and updated from The 21st Century Mentor’s Handbook, offer suggestions for mentoring actions to support novice teachers and teachers new to the district. When you take a look at them, you will quickly see how useful they are. Be sure to forward them to your mentoring colleagues. Post them or a link to them on your district/school website.

Categories of assistance and support include:

• Personal • Students
• Professionalism • Working with Colleagues
• Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment • School and School System Policies and Procedures
• Organizational Systems • Parents and Community

And, since the developer has a special education background, there is also a section titled Especially for Special Educators.

Download the March Calendar 


Tool of the Month

This month’s Mentoring Memo features a 13-minute clip titled “Advice for New Teachers.” In this masterful look at The ASK Framework for the Study of Teaching and Learning*, Brenda Kaylor, Just ASK Senior Consultant, interviews Shari VanderVelde, Orchard Avenue School, Grand Junction, Colorado. Shari provides thoughtful and provocative responses to Brenda’s reflective questions. Brief classroom scenes add visual reinforcement for Shari’s comments. The information is valuable not only for new teachers, but veteran teachers as well. (I just listened to the audio portion for possibly the 200th time and picked up yet another tip!)

Among the many questions Brenda asks, you will hear the following:

  • How do you coach beginning teachers in terms of the world of planning?
  • What is the secret to success with formative assessment?
  • What about the classroom environment, the structure of what is on the walls, how you arrange tables, chairs, desks, and bean bags. That is, how do you set up the room as a learning place?
  • In a learner-centered classroom, what is the role of the student?

Three of Shari’s great tips are:

  • Everything I’m doing in my classroom all day long leads to formative assessment. If I’m asking kids a question during a focus lesson and I’m listening for their answers, that’s a formative assessment because it provides me with information about what they know or what they don’t know.
  • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed in the quality of talk. But that just means that I need to backup and do a better job of teaching how to engage in good talk.
  • The environment is crucial. I’m spending all day there so I would like it to be comfortable and welcoming and the kids are spending all day in there with me so I’d like it to be comforting and welcoming for them as well.

When you use either the video clip or the adapted transcript as a professional learning tool, processing options include having participants (or your mentee if you are working with one individual)

  • work in pairs and discuss the questions and write their own ideas about possible answers to each of the interview questions before they view or read the questions. (If working with just one person, provide a list of the questions in advance so that he can consider possible responses to each question and be prepared to discuss them with you.
  • use a three-column chart to record the tips Shari provides as either validations of their current practice, a strategies they are working on putting in place, or good ideas that might have strong possibilities for their own instructional program. Have them share their responses and then select one of the “good ideas” to try within the next week,
  • complete “aha” and “?” cards to submit as “tickets to leave.” You can then use the “?’ cards to start your next session or discussion.




Quotes of the Month

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that and then I realized… I am somebody.” – Lily Tomlin

“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”- Malala Yousafzai

“If you want to be a world changer for people everywhere, be a day maker for the people right next to you.”- Kid President



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