Showing posts from February, 2010

People, Not Purchase Orders

Administrators can and should be problem solvers. Unfortunately, the problems of schools are complex and not easily solved. In my experience with schools in improvement, this reality brings out one of three reactions: A) Paralysis – the problems of schools are so big, they cannot be solved. This generally involves some type of blame – It’s the assessment, it’s the parents, it’s the administrators, it’ the students – they are not motivated.B) Purchase – what can we buy to “fix” a problem.65% of student achievement rests with the teacher – wish I could cite exactly where I got that from, alas it is a research conclusion that I picked up somewhere… The point is that despite all challenges to the contrary - It’s the rare school that understands the magic elixir is people!Savvy people, collaborating to find the root cause of a concern. People, thoughtfully researching, not shopping in a catalog, hiring speakers, or checking items off a list. People, creating a common language of effective …

Vision for Walkthroughs

I have been on a walkthrough kick these last few weeks. I have come to see effective walkthroughs as the connective tissue between school improvement, response to instruction and intervention, and any number of other staff development initiatives.The software system we are using, Teachscape, provides a standard tool e.g. lesson objective, grouping, high yield strategies, student engagement, depth of knowledge etc… as well as options to customize the standard tool and create an entirely new surveys.This flexibility will allow us to monitor core instruction, intervention programs and other initiatives.Core Instruction Can be Monitored Through:A standard tool e.g. lesson objective, grouping, high yield strategies, student engagement, depth of knowledge etc… Content Specific Checklists e.g. Reading or MathSpecific initiative areas e.g. PowerTeaching, Co-TeachingIntervention ProgramsFidelity checklists for research-based intervention programs e.g. Corrective Reading, Read 180 etc.. This, c…

Reading Walkthrough Checklists

One of our educational consultants came across grade-level elementary reading checklists from the Florida Center for Reading Research, a nationally recognized leader in reading research. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the checklists.

Mobile App for Walkthroughs

I am totally enamored with Teachscape’s new mobile app for conducting instructional walkthroughs. The standard walkthrough tool allows you to collect data on a variety of curriculum and instruction items based on educational research. You can also create/customize your own walkthrough survey. The best part is the data can be collected with a simple touch using an iPhone/iTouch!Walkthroughs can be immediately uploaded with an internet signal or held in limbo until you have one. Perfect for schools without complete wireless coverage. Reports including charts and graphs can be created from the companion website. One touch data collection with a full compliment of data tools… smart tools for a busy administrator!Say good-bye to paper copies! No more clipboards! No more laptops to lug around!

Instructional Walkthroughs

As an IU region we are working on developing a consistent and thoughtful instructional walkthrough process. An area of particular interest is student engagement. Based on Phil Schlechty’s work and Teachscape, we have agreed on these descriptors.Highly engaged – most students are authentically engaged Well managed – students are willingly compliant, ritually engaged (meaning they do it for the teacher/grade, but not for the learning) Dysfunctional – Many students actively reject the assigned task or substitute another activity. We observe whether students are working and degree of enthusiasm. We also ask students what they are learning? Why they are learning it? Or where would they use this learning in the future?To date, most classrooms are well managed. Students have been able to identify what they are learning, but rarely can they respond to why. Most indicate they are doing it for the test. In the hands of teachers, this data combined with thoughtful consideration, can connect kids (a…