Twice a year, each teacher is observed by an administrator and evaluated with a rubric based on the following areas: Planning and Preparation, The Classroom Environment, and Instruction. On September 29, 2015, new teachers and many veteran teachers at Woodlake Elementary School attended an informal session where three teachers and I shared tips for the observation process.
For my presentation, I spoke about the instructional techniques that I use to help guide the students’ discussions with their peers. From sentence starters to visuals in my room, there are many resources that I use to help steer the students’ conversations about music. Next, I revealed the methods I use to check for student understanding. My favorite method is self-evaluations where I ask students to rate their participation and performance. In addition, the students are asked to pinpoint things that they did well in class along with identifying things that they would change or need more help with in the future.
Next, Ms. Sambola and Ms. Coffey, second grade teachers, talked about the strategies they use for grouping students and for differentiating instruction. Both stressed that students need to be able to make “choices” in order to make sure all students are engaged and confident in their learning.
Ms. Schoen, a gifted teacher, disclosed the small group techniques that she uses while working with her second and third grade students. She also had a “Reading Ticket” with items the students had to complete while giving choices over the other items that are completed.
As the meeting concluded, I thought of how much each teacher shared and what I learned. As Dionne Warwick sings in “That’s What Friends Are For”, the teachers at Woodlake Elementary school are certainly friends that I can count on for inspiration.