Settling Into the School Routine: Holding on to Your Dreams

By Sue Land, M.Ed.

November/December 2010 Link Lines

You’ve settled into your daily teaching routines with your students and you’re moving through the curriculum, but you notice that a few students are struggling academically and behaviorally. Don’t panic! The November/December Link Lines newsletter is full of helpful teaching strategies and resources.

In Jim Knight’s book, Instructional Coaching (Knight, 2007), the “’Big Four’ (behavior, content, direct instruction, and formative assessment) provide the framework for making sense of the opportunities and challenges that… you face” (p. 141).  Two components of this framework addressed by the articles in this issue of Link Lines are behavior, or instructional practices that help teachers “teach expectations, effectively correct behavior, increase the effectiveness of praise statements, and increase students’ opportunities to respond” (Sprick, Knight, Reinke, & Mckale, 2006, p. 7), and direct instruction, or instructional practices that teachers use to help students learn effectively.

Supportive Relationships: The Key to Student Success stresses the importance of providing caring, ongoing adult relationships for students and presents a strategy that teachers can use that takes just two minutes a day but that can make a big difference. Elaine Gould’s article, Strategies for Teaching Social Skills in the School Environment, examines strategies that encourage the development of social skills through teaching classroom procedures and routines and using an instructional format for social skills instruction. 

And there’s more! “Into the Book” and More: Strategic Reading Instruction for Teachers and Students and Discovering a Wealth of Resources to Build a Solid Math Foundation provide helpful resources and websites in reading and math for both teachers and students. The time you take to surf the web for effective strategies, including the Virginia Department of Education’s website, will be well worth your while!  

As teachers, you are regularly bombarded with “the latest and greatest” in technology tools for your students, such as iPods/iTouches and iPads. How do you choose the tools that are the best fit for your students?  In iSuccess: Planning to Integrate Personal and Instructional Technology, Geissler and Lucus share steps to follow when planning to integrate technology. For more in-depth information on the same topic, access the Considerations Packet Planning for Technology Integration to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners at

On a broader scale, supportive learning community continues to be critical for students and teachers alike. Do One Thing Today to Help Build a Positive School Culture focuses on a number of personal practices that help school leaders nurture a positive school culture. In addition to reading this article, visit Kouzes and Posner’s website at to further explore their strategies, “modeling the way” and “encouraging the heart.”

Finally, we continue to highlight new books in the T/TAC W&M library that will support you in your learning in Check It Out!

To learn additional strategies, also attend upcoming T/TAC-hosted events. Clink on the links for Building on the Foundation: Instructional and Behavioral Strategies and Progress Monitoring for Students with Disabilities as well as the 4th Annual I’m Determined Youth Summit.  Other workshops will be offered in reading and math; for details, watch the T/TAC W&M website,

Hold on to your dreams for a successful year. Let T/TAC W&M help you along the way!


Knight, J. (2007). Instructional coaching: A partnership approach to improving instruction. Thousands Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sprick, R., Knight, J., Reinke, W., & McKale, T. (2006). Coaching classroom management: A toolkit for administrators and coaches. Eugene, OR: Pacific Northwest Publishing.