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Intentional Moves

Intentional Moves
How Skillful Team Leaders Impact Learning

A Joint Publication with Learning Forward

August 2022 | 504 pages | Corwin

For maximum impact, let intention drive your actions.

Leading a team means more than running meetings. It’s leading collaborative learning for continuous improvement. Like effective teachers in the classroom, skillful team leaders decide what they are aiming to achieve and make small, intentional moves to produce powerful learning outcomes for teachers and students. 

In this long-awaited follow-up to her best-selling book, The Skillful Team Leader, acclaimed educator Elisa MacDonald presents nearly 150 effective moves, organized by intention, for any educator who leads a team.

In this book, you'll find strategies to lead with purpose and direction, including how to:

  • foster an inclusive environment and strengthen team trust
  • interrupt bias and cultivate diverse perspectives
  • navigate resistance and manage conflict
  • facilitate data analysis
  • lead peer observation
  • assess your team’s collaboration

and so much more!

Written in a practitioner-friendly format with a light tone and relatable stories, this is a must-have book for all team leaders and those who support them in your school.

Part 1: Foundations
Chapter 1: Skillful and Intentional Leadership
Chapter 2: Don’t Settle for High-Functioning Teams
Chapter 3: The Real Work of Collaborative Inquiry
Part 2: Essential Understandings
Chapter 4: The Psychology of Groups
Chapter 5: Five Must-knows About Adult Learners
Chapter 6: The Upsides (and Downsides) of Being a Peer Leader
Part 3: Ten Primary Intentions with Moves
Primary Intention #1: Optimize Learning Conditions: Time, Space and Accommodations
Primary Intention #2: Establish Expectations and Responsibilities: Norms and Roles
Primary Intention #3: Nurture Group Culture: Community and Trust
Primary Intention #4: Design and Plan Learning: Work Plans, Agendas and Protocols
Primary Intention #5: Engage and Interact: Participation, Conflict-Resolution and Decision-Making.
Primary Intention #6: Set Purpose and Direction: Priorities, Inquiry Questions and Goals.
Primary Intention #7: Use Data to Advance Learning: Assessments and Data Talk
Primary Intention #8: Cultivate Diverse Perspectives in Problem Solving: Assumptions and Bias
Primary Intention #9: Implement New Learning: Peer Observations, Resistance and Change.
Primary Intention #10: Assess: Feedback, Reflection and Growth for Teams and Leaders.

"It’s refreshing to read a book that discusses high functioning teams within the context of moving the needle on student learning. No longer do we have the luxury of defining success based on whether teams follow norms, stay on task, and get work done. Rather, this book frames how we can be intentional about impacting student learning, teacher practice, and school culture and climate through skillful team collaboration. "

Diane Sweeney, Founder and Lead Consultant
Diane Sweeney Consulting

"The beauty of this book rests in its authenticity. MacDonald draws from research and extensive experience to identify 10 essential goals for skillful team leaders and specifies explicit moves and targeted strategies for realization of each. The result is an engaging, user-friendly, encyclopedia of wisdom and hands-on practices. All team leaders who desire to produce results that matter will treasure this book."

Jackie Walsh, Author and Independent Consultant
Walsh Consulting

"This comprehensive book is rich with strategies for district, school and teacher teams ready to make decisions and improvements that will positively affect students' success. Whether you are new to leading teams or a veteran, this is sure to be your go-to resource to take on the challenging work of leading collaborative learning. The stories and examples are universally relatable and the color coded sections make it a very accessible read. This book is sure to leave you feeling empowered and recharged with hope and possibility."

Dr. Debbie Zacarian, Consultant and Author
Zacarian and Associates
Key features
  • Actionable strategies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on teams
  • Examples and advice from real skillful team leaders
  • A simple six-phase cycle to guide teams’ collaborative inquiry
  • Essential understandings about group psychology, adult learning, and peer leadership
  • A reflection tool to assess a team’s collaboration
  • Templates, tools, and guiding prompts for skillful team leaders
  • Pro tips for leading protocols
  • Short, thought-provoking, relatable reads for a team leader book study

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781506392868

ISBN: 9781506392844

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.