Monday, January 11, 2016

Keystone Elementary Learning Walk

Teachers learning from one another is one of the most powerful ways to grow as an educator.  Keystone Elementary recently took advantage of an opportunity to get into each other's classrooms to view teaching strategies and classroom management techniques.  We have heard over and over that teachers want to get into other rooms to connect but can't find the time to make it happen. With the prompt of a video from The Teaching Channel called The Learning Walk, we organized the day so teachers were able to visit several classrooms and then have the opportunity to debrief with peers after the observation.  We were fortunate to have a combined planning period that general classroom teachers were able to use, so they did not require substitutes or lesson plans.  Specials teachers and special education teachers needed to be out of their classrooms and prepare substitute plans for 30-40 minutes in order to participate in the learning walks.

Our schedule looked like this:

We scheduled four to five classroom observations for each group of teachers.  We were able to schedule five to six teachers in each group to help the discussions during the debrief be more rich.  The order of observations were carefully timed so the teachers were able to see key pieces of instruction when visiting classrooms.  We stayed in classrooms for three to five minutes and then stepped into the hallway to debrief after the observation about take-aways from the visit.

Teachers were also able to jot down positive feedback for the teachers to be compiled and given to them at a later time.  Another document teachers had to reference for ideas of what to look for is included below.

Additional resources for teachers to look for during observations were included in this great resources from Ms. Houser's Instructional Coaching website.  She has a great number of resources for educators, so if you haven't stalked her website, I highly recommend it!

The final document included in the teacher observation packet was a teacher feedback form.  These were completed by the observing teacher and compiled later to give to each teacher before we left for Christmas break.  The purpose of this feedback was to give teachers an idea of some of the great things they are doing in their classrooms and to reflect on how to make that even better after break.

I would say that our first go with Learning Walks was a success!  We have had great feedback from the teachers who were able to participate, and we are already looking for ways to improve for our next Learning Walk!  Let me know if you have ideas for us, or if you'd like me to send any of our resources your way.

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