Tools for Schools, August/September 2006, Vol. 10, No. 1
Snapshots of learning: Classroom walk-throughs offer a picture of learning in schools
By Joan Richardson
Nadia Carlson* steps into an elementary classroom and pauses at the back of the room. Her focus today is to observe exactly what students are doing. She scans each cluster of desks, making notes about the children who are engaged in the lesson and those who are not. She quickly dips down and quietly asks one student what she is learning. Just as smoothly as she has moved into the room, Carlson slips out the door five minutes later.
Walk-throughs provide an opportunity to: Reinforce attention
to a focus on instruction and learning in the school’s improvement plan. Gather data about instructional practice and
student learning to supplement other data about school and student performance. Stimulate collegial conversation about teaching and learning by asking questions about what evidence is and isn’t observed. Learn from other participants through observations, questions, experiences, and perspectives. Deepen understandings and practices by continuous feedback.
Walk-through individual feedback
Make enough copies of this page so each visitor has one copy for every classroom he or she will visit. All of the individual forms should be returned to the principal at the end of the walkthrough.
Walk-through group feedback plan
As the group of observers debriefs, one individual records the group’s observations. The principal keeps the individual feedback forms and the group feedback form. Only the group feedback form will be shared with all teachers whose rooms were observed.
Resources for walk-throughs
Sketching a rough map of each classroom may help visitors recall where they saw certain evidence and make it easier for the observed teachers to understand some of the feedback.