Observational video in an elementary setting

Observational video in an elementary setting

Observational video in an elementary setting

In General, what I look for when observing a classroom (adapted from Mindsteps):
Who’s doing the thinking?
When I observe a classroom, I pay close attention to who is doing the bulk of the
thinking. I want to see teachers asking questions that require more than a rote response.
I want to see teachers posing “what if” questions, asking follow-up questions that
demand elaboration, and pushing students to dig deeper and go beyond the surface
answer. I want to see teachers proposing interesting problems where the answer is not
always so obvious and neat, and then scaffolding students to figure out the solution on
their own. If the teacher is asking simplistic and leading questions, elaborating on

students’ answers rather than pushing the students to go deeper, or solving problems
while students watch, then the teacher is doing the thinking and not the students.
What is the level of instruction?
There are typically four stages of rigorous learning: acquisition, application, assimilation,
and adaptation. When I visit classrooms, I try to figure out at what stage of the rigorous
learning process is the instruction. Are students learning concepts or skills for the first
time (acquisition)? Are they learning how to apply thinking skills to what they have
learned (application)? Are they learning how to integrate individual thinking skills into a
thinking process (assimilation)? Or, are they learning how to adapt what they know
already to new, novel, or real-world situations (adaptation)? Paying attention to what
stage of the rigorous learning process helps me to understand the purpose of instruction
and give information on how well the instructional activities match the intended
purpose.
What is the objective?
I try to get a sense of the objective from the instruction itself. I am looking to see if the
instructional strategies – from the warm-up, to the direct instruction, to the assignments
and assessments – actually matches and moves students towards the objective.
How are the students engaged in the instruction?
When I can, I try to engage at least two or three students. I want to see if they
understand the purpose of the instruction or assignment and can explain to me what
they are doing and what they are supposed to learn from it. If students consistently give
me the same answer, I can tell that the teacher has done a good job of setting the

Observational video in an elementary setting

 

Is the lesson aligned to the California History-Social Science Standards and Framework?Observational video in an elementary setting

 

Observational video in an elementary setting
purpose for learning. If students shrug or explain the work as “this is what she told me
to do” then I know that the students do not necessarily understand the purpose of the
learning.
What is the quality of the teacher-student relationship?
I pay close attention to how the teacher manages class behavior and engages with
students. Does there seem to be a positive student-teacher relationship or is there
tension, passive-aggressive animosity, or even open contempt? Do students seem to feel
socially, emotionally, and psychologically safe, able to take risks, and willing to engage in
instruction? Does the teacher seem to like his/her students? Relationships largely
determine classroom climate which in turn impacts student behavior and learning. Thus,
it is important to me to see the teacher do things that convey high expectations for
students, care and concern for their growth, and a real passion for their students’
learning.
What is the ONE thing that might immediately improve the instruction and the
learning?

 

Social Studies/VAPA specific:
Is the instruction inquiry based?
Is the lesson aligned to the California History-Social Science Standards and
Framework?
Is the instruction inclusive, equitable, and reflective of the student population?
Are students using primary and secondary sources? How? Are there opportunities for
corroboration?
Is fiction/nonfiction reading included in the lesson? Are there ELA/ELD integrations?
Are multiple perspectives presented?
Is there evidence of geography, economics, history, and civics integration?
Is there VAPA integration? What? How was it utilized?
Is student voice and choice evident?
Are there opportunities for collaboration with others?
Are there opportunities to extend the learning beyond the classroom?