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Ideas For A Good Observation

While the evaluation process might seem very confusing, there is no doubt what administrators want to see when they enter your classroom.  Regardless of whether they are there for a walk-through or a full observation, evaluators in general want to see four things:

  • They want to see all students in their places with bright shiny faces.  In other words,they want to see discipline;
  • They want to see all students participating at a successful level in whatever activity you have planned;
  • They want to see that you are prepared to teach.  They want to see that you know what you are going to do, why you are doing it, how you are going to get it done, and how you are going to make sure the students learn what you are teaching them;
  • And last, they want to see you teach.  Below are some ideas for what you can do to ensure that you are successful on any day.


Before The Lesson Begins:

Have everything ready to go when the evaluator walks in the door.  It is important to get the students on task immediately.  Use sponge activities which relate to prior learning, the subject matter, or the lesson of the day.  Do not allow the students to sit without something to do.  Remember “time on task”.  If you can’t think of something for them to do, then ask them to write down 4 things they learned during their last class.  Clear administrative directions are important.  The evaluator will be looking for wasted time.

At The Beginning Of The Lesson:

Tell them what you are going to tell them.  Be sure to grab their attention using a focus or some other means.  Tell them what you are going to do, how it is going to be done, and why the lesson is important.  The evaluator wants to see you plan what you are going to do and then do it.

Presenting The Content:

This is where you impart knowledge, or tell them.  If you are going to lecture, do it now, but keep it short.  The information presented should be clear and organized. Have an outline of objectives for yourself and the students.  Put them on the chalkboard or overhead.  Teach a concept and then provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge with hands-on work, either individually or in small groups.

Creating The Learning Environment:

Have them all in their places with bright, shiny faces.  Avoid sarcasm, negative criticism, or comments which would demean or embarrass.  Even normal kidding could be taken the wrong way.

Question, Question, Question:

Let them tell you what they have learned.  Remember “Impact on Students”.  Ask questions to ensure that the students are comprehending.  Never ask a question that is above the student’s level.  Vary the activities to keep students involved and interested.  Again, use the format of instruction followed by student activities.  Make use of sponge activities.  Make sure that all students are included in some way.

Monitoring Student Behavior:

Walk. Walk. Walk. Watch for daydreaming.  Re-direct persistent off-task behavior.  Stop inappropriate behavior.  Reinforce desired behavior with praise for individuals and/or the class.

Ending The Class:

Tell them what you told them. Close.  Summarize.  Finish.  Review.  Use the board for review.  Teach until the end of class.  Use a sponge activity to end the class.  If you can’t think of a sponge activity, then ask them to write down as many things as they can regarding what they have learned during this lesson.

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inClass News

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inClass News is the weekly newsletter of United Educators Association. If you have ideas or requests for content that you would like to see, please email
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