September 12, 2006























Text Box:   Resources for Reflecting

By Donna Reid

Save the Date

New Coach follow-up session

Saturday, October 28, 2006

8:00am-12:00noon—UH Hilton

Continental breakfast and parking provided


Coaching Facilitates Greatness is a weekly support newsletter from The Houston A+ Challenge for new CFG coaches. Questions and comments are welcome at 

Text Box: Reflections on Reflecting





One of the most powerful events of my own CFG training was on Day 2 when the facilitators read aloud excerpts from our Day 1 Reflections.  I was amazed that they took our learning so seriously and actually responded to what we had written.  Since then, I’ve incorporated individual and group reflections into all aspects of my practice.  So, what exactly is "reflecting" and why do I believe it's valuable?


I've learned that "reflect" is a word that I throw around a lot without being able to define it succinctly. When I went to the dictionary, I found these definitions:

reflect--to think or consider seriously

reflection--concentration of the mind; careful consideration

reflective--meditative, pensive

The entry for pensive included this usage note: reflective expresses a more analytical deliberation about past experience or about something that has just happened, often as a process of second thought or reappraisal of a particular occurrence.

Unpacking the meaning of these words has helped me think more clearly about why reflecting is valuable and how I can do it more effectively.


Reflections are not simply notes to the facilitator.  They should say more than “the food was great, but the room was too cold” or “nice meeting.”  Careful reflections can help us think more powerfully with the purpose of understanding and changing our practice.


To read some of my own reflections as a CFG Coach, visit my blog at


Donna can be reached at


















Facilitation Tip #3

When you launch a new group or your group gets a new start, begin a notebook to keep documentation from your CFG meetings.  Include agendas, articles read, notes from protocols, participant reflections, and your own reflections about how the meeting went.  Written reflections and notes from reflective discussions can provide important clues in planning future meetings.

















Looking Together at Student Work by Tina Blythe, David Allen, and Barbara Schieffelin Powell (1999) is a wonderful resource for CFG Coaches.  Here are some suggestions from that book for prompting reflections from a group:

   What did we learn?

   What worked well?

   Did the conversation move us closer to our goals?  How?

   How did the discussion relate to other school issues?

   Did we do what we said we would—in terms of our purposes and our questions?

   Did we actually focus on students’ work or on other issues?

   Did we follow the process as we planned?  If not, why?

   How could the process be improved?

   How can we build on this to make examining student work a more frequent and important part of our own work?

Even at age 3, Donna's twin daughters have several traits of effective CFG coaches:

·   They are not afraid to look to the future and step into the unknown.

· They use resources from the Houston A+ Challenge to ease their journey.

· They depend on each other and never feel alone.

(Donna Reid's daughters with their "A+" backpacks in Acadia National Park, Maine.)


Important Web Link for New Coaches

“The Teacher Leaders Network connects and supports educators who agree that the nation's teachers are a ‘splendid resource for leadership and reform.’ Our website serves as our ‘big tent’ – a virtual gathering place for everyone who wants to join us in advancing teacher leadership in the classroom, the school, and the larger community.”


Donna Reid presents an interactive session on using web “Blogs” to support reflective practice at the Winter meeting of NSRF in Boston.