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Instruction: Building-Wide Walkthroughs

Instruction: Building-Wide Walkthroughs
Posted on 01/30/2018

In both December and January, we hosted building-wide walkthroughs to examine instruction. On December 12th, 2017, we were joined by School Committee Members Emily Dexter and Fred Fantini. During our time together, we visited all core classrooms and three specialist classrooms, for a total of 15 classes. We focused our observation on how teachers are using mastery objectives and how students are in engaged in the class. Our overall framing question was:
To what extent and quality do we see teaching and learning that:

  • values impact over intentions,
  • is objective driven,
  • reflects the learners, and
  • is authentically relevant?

Also, in January, we were joined by members of the Teaching and Learning Team: Dr. Carolyn Turk, Deputy Superintendent; Dr. Anda Adams, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction; Jean Spera, Interim Assistant Superintendent, Office of Student Services; Jay Jordan and Stephanie Downeytoledo, Superintendent Interns. During our time together we observed a total of 14 classrooms—all Core classrooms and two Special Education pull-out sessions.

Positive highlights included:

  • Strong teacher-student relationships and classroom environments where learning could thrive and mistakes could be made.
  • Evidence of growth mindset language from both teachers and students; in many cases it was clear that process was valued over simply identifying the correct answer.
  • All classrooms employed mastery objectives to drive the learning and many were focused on aiding students to build their reasoning skills.

Our discussion and reflection raised the following questions:

  • How are we unpacking our objectives for students?
    • When teachers are planning, how are our course and unit objectives connected to our daily objectives?
    • Are the products—“in order to”—compelling, engaging, and rigorous?
  • How are we supporting students in becoming independent learners?
    • How much time are teachers directing the learning and/or conversation?
    • How are we skillfully providing and removing scaffolds and supports?