In November I had the pleasure to watch a presentation by Polk County Super stars, Kay Teehan, Marsha Hall, and Virginia Richard, at the National Middle School Conference. Their district has over 100 + schools and must make use of each available program and tool in order to continue providing opportunities for their students and teachers. One program that they take part in is the Peer Coaching by Microsoft.
Peer coaching is nothing new. We learn more from each other than we will any formal class and so do our students. Probably because we are in a comfort zone and we feel free to explore and take a chance since most peers are not grading or judging you.
What I like about the Peer Coaching Program is that the district/school starts by training teacher leaders who will be serving as a coach. These coaches (actual classrooom teachers) are then able to assist their peers in ways to enhance their instruction while integrating technology to meet standards and to engage students in the learning. Because the coaches are real classrooms and not a "consultant" or "district office staff", they understand the stresses that a normal teacher is under. Being at the same school, they know the students background, the school available resources, and expectations.
The coaches are not just using Microsoft products, they are using any tools available to the classroom. I was checking out a Portfolio Sample and saw uses of RubiStar, WebQuests, other teacher resources and student resources. There are Coaching Tools also available, including logs and other documents neccessary to document the program. The Instructional Strategies found under the Coaching Tools>>Planning Tools to be carefully selected articles and research on each topic. Since I enjoy Project Based Learning and Multimedia, I found the link to San Mateo's project a great read.
After one year of being "coached", the teachers then become a Peer Coach to someone else. You start to see a spiral of techniques and growth from all the teachers involved.
I could go on. But instead, I'd rather encourage you to check out the tools and resources provided by the Peer Coaching Program and see if they are right for you. I would even encourage you to contact other schools that are using the program and see if you can visit or observe a peer coaching session.