An Instructional Walk

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    • 00:00

      An Instructional Walk

    • 00:04

      LYN SHARRATT [Author, Putting FACES on the Data]:The principal of Armadale Public School,and good friend, Jill Maar and I oftendo instructional walks and talks in her school.So today we're going in a Grade 2 classroom,walking the walls together.So Jill, tell me how you got the writing

    • 00:25

      LYN SHARRATT [continued]: pieces that are here on the wall.

    • 00:27

      JILL MAAR [Principal, Armadale Elementary]:Well, the teacher often asks students,as a reflection on their learning,to be able to articulate what has beenimportant in their learning for a particular period of time,to think about what they did particularly well, what theyneed to improve upon, and what aresome of the next steps for their learning.So what you'll see here in a month by month basisis students being able to share what'sbeen essential for their learning, what's engaged them

    • 00:49

      JILL MAAR [continued]: in the thinking process, and what other connectionsthey've been able to make to the world outside of the classroom.

    • 00:56

      LYN SHARRATT: So they must have hadto do quite a bit of reflecting and thinking on their work,in order to decide which piece to put on the wall.

    • 01:02

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.Students have lots of choice and voice in our classrooms.They have the choice around what kind of piecesto include within their learning portfolio,because this is really a portfolio piece that they wouldbe prepared to share with any visitor into the classroom,as well as they would be able to justify the choices,based upon evidence of their best work,and meeting the curriculum expectations

    • 01:26

      JILL MAAR [continued]: for their learning.

    • 01:27

      LYN SHARRATT: Excellent.So over here, this really shows howwe include mathematics and mathematical literacyin our definition of the literate graduate.So we've got a bulletin board thatshows the students' thinking and learning in mathematics.

    • 01:46

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.And what's really important in public educationis to make the learning and the thinking public.So the teachers in our school spend a great deal of timesimplifying the curriculum expectations into languagethat makes sense for the children,spending time identifying key language such as collect,organize, and tally, and then co-developingwith students what they are going

    • 02:07

      JILL MAAR [continued]: to need to be able to do in order to meet that learningexpectation, so they're able to perform and to showthe strength of their understandingand their knowledge, as well as the application.

    • 02:16

      LYN SHARRATT: Success criteria are developed outof the learning goal, to show how they can be successful.

    • 02:20

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.And they're consecutive, so they won'tput all of the learning goals up at one,and the success criteria up at one time.They'll build with the first, and then they'lladd the next as the learning and the teachingbecomes more specific.

    • 02:34

      LYN SHARRATT: And they've been able to showtheir thinking, make their thinking visible by usingtheir pictograph, and their graphsof their problem solving.

    • 02:44

      JILL MAAR: Well, these anchor chartsare also strong examples for the childrento be able to follow that have been co-constructedthrough the many lessons.There's also strong examples from the studentsthemselves, that are able to show for other studentswhere they can go to receive additional support or help,as children are trying to come upwith excellent examples of thinking and learning.

    • 03:04

      LYN SHARRATT: And I like the vocabulary, the word wall here,the vocabulary the teacher's developing,this particular focus.

    • 03:12

      JILL MAAR: And it's really clear that the languageis a central part, in terms of being literate in mathematics.Certainly for our community as English language learners,having that highly academic languageand being able to utilize it in an ongoing basisis really important.

    • 03:29

      LYN SHARRATT: Jill, this is another exampleof that intentional teaching, and howwe look at literacy skills in the contentarea, social studies this time,

    • 03:39

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.And it's important that students areable to the transference between the literacy skills they workon within their literacy block, or the mathematics block,and into other subject areas such as science,and social studies, visual arts, music, and gym, even.

    • 03:54

      LYN SHARRATT: So in our walk, we're nowbecoming more specific, Jill.Here's an example.

    • 03:58

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.And in this particular situation,the teacher asked the students the questionsabout why it was important to understand and respecteach other's cultural celebrations, heritage,and traditions, and ask them to justify their thinking in termsof a response to that question.They've been working on questioning within the literacyblock, but it also helps to make connections

    • 04:19

      JILL MAAR [continued]: to the success criteria, which you saw in an earlier chart.So how can you see those points of interconnection?Engaging students in real writing,and asking them to think about the questions that they have,so that they're able to survey, informally,and on an ongoing basis, the thinking of our students.

    • 04:36

      LYN SHARRATT: And to learn from each other.

    • 04:38

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.

    • 04:38

      LYN SHARRATT: And here is another exampleof focusing on questions, to deepen understanding.

    • 04:44

      JILL MAAR: And this was done as a collaboration wherethe students, in brainstorming sessions with the teacher,read two wonderful texts that were revisitedon multiple occasions, to think about whatwould be the questions that we would ask to help to buildthose connections around text to text, text to self,text to world.And so in this case, they're using that reflection,

    • 05:05

      JILL MAAR [continued]: justifying and explaining what their thinking is, as they'reconsidering these two perspectivesfrom these particular picture books.So the teacher has highlighted keywords again,has given examples to justify and verifythe students' thinking, and shown the different typesof questions stems that they can use.

    • 05:24

      LYN SHARRATT: And as we do our walk,we're also always cognizant of some of the routinesthat the teachers develop, in orderto go more deeply into understanding.So here's a good reminder for the students of the daily fivethat they engage in each day.

    • 05:43

      JILL MAAR: Absolutely.And you can see that the groups herehave been grouped according to their need for guided readinginstruction, which happens every day for our studentsthat are most vulnerable.So that's why it is a daily practice.And students have choice in termsof working their way through, becausewithout that independent routine it's difficult for the teacher

    • 06:03

      JILL MAAR [continued]: to attend to the needs of the small group that'sin front here at the guided reading instruction table.

    • 06:08

      LYN SHARRATT: Exactly.And when I do walks in our classrooms,I ask the students five questions.And here they are, four of the questionsare right here for us to take a look at.[What are you learning?How are you doing? how do you know?How can you improve?]And we know that when the students can answerthese questions, we don't have to interrupt the teacher.We know exactly what the teacher has taught.

    • 06:30

      LYN SHARRATT [continued]: The only other question I would add to it is, it where you gofor help if you're stuck?And it's amazing how the studentscan be very articulate, in terms of what they're learning.

    • 06:42

      JILL MAAR: Well, one of the things that visitors are oftenamazed by is how articulate our students are,in being able to answer these four questions that we'vehighlighted in each of the classrooms.I would expect the teachers to beable to answer each of those questions.

    • 06:54

      LYN SHARRATT: Absolutely.

    • 06:55

      JILL MAAR: The challenge and the accountability for meis, can the students?Can each and every student answer those four questions?Are we meeting their needs, are we engaging them and excitingthem about learning here, at our school?

    • 07:07

      LYN SHARRATT: And as instructional leader,you can answer those questions, too.

An Instructional Walk

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Abstract

Using an instructional walk, educators discuss the importance of each student's learning journey being set up for success. Reinforcing academic vocabulary, connections to self, text and world, self-evaluation, choice and voice in learning, making work visual and public, using questions to deepen understanding and establishing routines are many of the tools shown in this successful classroom.

An Instructional Walk

Using an instructional walk, educators discuss the importance of each student's learning journey being set up for success. Reinforcing academic vocabulary, connections to self, text and world, self-evaluation, choice and voice in learning, making work visual and public, using questions to deepen understanding and establishing routines are many of the tools shown in this successful classroom.

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