Monday, September 19, 2011

No Office Day - 2011

I was able to spend the majority of the day outside my office in an attempt to take part in an international effort known as "No Office Day."  This concept began last year, when a fellow international school principal, David Truss, blogged about a day that he spent immersed in classrooms and out of his office.  His blog post, "No Office Day" inspired many administrators around the world to get out of their offices and into classrooms.  Earlier this year, David started a wiki for administrators to share their "No Office Day" experiences as many principals spent a day working in classrooms with teachers and students.  Like many of the principals who have taken part in this effort, I had a great day visiting classrooms and talking with students and teachers about the learning that is taking place at ACS.

For the past 6 months or so, I have been trying to develop an online tool that will help me with my classroom visits.  I have been experimenting with different systems and tools, but have finally settled on using my laptop and Google forms to record my classroom observations.  I decided to use my No Office Day as an opportunity to give this platform a test run as I visited a variety of classes throughout the day.  Our school has relied heavily on the work of Charlotte Danielson to develop our schools Framework for Growth, and I have created a template using Google Forms based on her domains of good teaching. 

As you can see from the form template, I can identify the components that I observe while visiting classes and leave descriptive comments for teachers to read after each visit.  Google forms then collects the information from each visit and stores the information in a spreadsheet that the teacher and I share so that we can have a on-going record of observations made throughout the year.

Although the forms worked very well, the real benefit of today was the added time I had to converse with teachers about their lessons and reflect on the great experiences that our students have on a daily basis.   I have always known that these follow up discussions are extremely important, and am really excited about finding more time to reconnect with teachers after observing classes throughout the year.

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