Walk Throughs

Quick Observation Process

Identify priorities
            The quick-look forms are for a quick overview of the classroom. The forms can be used as is or can be edited so the categories better suit your situation. It is best to focus on one category at a time. These observations should be a 5-10 minute snapshot to provide an overview, and perhaps an idea of what needs further examination. Develop rubrics, scales, checklists, etc to fit your or the school’s priorities.

Focus on students and learning
            While there are environmental and teacher factors that affect learning and should be examined, ultimately we want to focus on the students and what they are learning.

Anyone should be able to collect data

You do not have to be a specialist to collect data, You need to be familiar with the terms and how to record data. So this process can be used by student teachers to visit other classrooms and collect data and then invite them back to reciprocate. The non-judgmental part of the process is essential if colleagues are collecting data on their peers. Just collect the data and let the person who has been observed reflect on that data.
Shorter, more frequent observations are the key to these quick-look observations. These multiple observations will help teacher build a better picture of what really happens in their classes. 10 minutes max – multiple observations

Process

A quick observation is just that - 5-10 minutes in the classroom to get a snapshot of what is going on. Individuals or small teams can agree to do observations with each other’s classes. The team approach reduces the intimidation factor since everyone on the team will have their class observed.
It’s critically important to remember that this is a ‘moment in time’ and not a complete analysis. You are looking for specific things that may or not be there at any given time, but the process draws awareness to some important factors in teaching and learning. These are reflected in the checklists (or foci) used to gather the data. You can use the sample checklists of modify them to better suit your needs and goals.
This can be a combination of general observation and talking to students to see if they understand what is going on and a combination of checklists and comments.

Tools - modifiable rubrics / checklists / scales / comments

Area and people awareness

  • Does the classroom suit the lesson / activity that is being observed?
  • Is the classroom safe - clear exits, easy navigation, expectations posted?
  • Temperature, noise leve,l and air quality are ok.
  • Do the students know where they should be?
  • Are groups aware of their task and their roles within the group?
  • Are timelines clear (or necessary)?
  • Is there a positive attitude?
  • Focus on what students are doing.
  • Do students know what’s going on?
  • Is the purpose clear?
  • Are instructions clear?
  • Has the teacher differentiated instructions and activities (knows the students)?
  • Are groups aware of their task and their roles within the group?
  • Are timelines clear (or necessary)?
  • Are needed materials easily available?
  • Is it skill practice or HOTS (both are ok at times)
  • What are the indicators of success, or do they know how they will be “assessed’?
  • Students can self-assess
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    Teacher

  • Is aware of time.
  • Communicates clearly.
  • Is aware of their location in room.
  • Directs comments and instructions to those who need it.
  • Models appropriate classroom behaviours.
  • Uses specific knowledge questions.
  • Uses open-ended questions.
  • Develops professional, caring relationships with students.
  • Deals with issues directly, not from a distance.
  • Assesses, supports and encourages while the activity is happening.
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