Looking for What Should Be: Administrator Walk-Throughs in Gifted Ed
In the past couple of months, I’ve been asked several times to do a “walk-through” or observe for a short period of time in a teacher’s classroom. Now while I may a few years of school leadership under my belt (roughly 12 years), I’m no administrator, thank you very much. And I’m sometimes uncomfortable being a guest in a school and being asked to do walk-throughs as if I am an administrator. But that’s my job as someone who is providing support for both teachers and administrators. I’m very glad to walk though as an experienced practitioner.
Embracing this role as a specialist for Gifted and Talented Education, I have created a quick walk-through form for those administrators who are interested to see what quality instruction is going on in their school. This form is intended to be used in either a gt-only environment, in the general education classroom to see what supports are happening not only for gifted learners, but also for other students of high-ability, or truly, for any student who’s being asked to use Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). Additionally, administrators are asked to specifically look for not only strong instructional strategies and cognitive supports, but also strategies that are being used to deal with the affective needs of gifted learners as well as incorporating a variety of assessment strategies. Take a look at it below and note that more than one strategy can be marked for each section, depending upon what is observed in both the students and teacher behavior.
The form is intended to be used in a series of 5-10 minute walk-though observations that might take place over the course of a semester or year, ideally one observation a week. The form is not intended to be used for evaluative purposes, but used instead as a simple record of what is being observed over time in a classroom to create a clearer guide in conversations leading to more meaningful (and individualized) professional learning for that teacher.
Finally, the form is intended to be used with an administrator who is well-versed in the goals of each of the components listed, including what each looks like in action. If an administrator or leader isn’t well-versed in these strategies, then perhaps it’s time to learn! Because while this form works wonderfully for ensuring that your high-potential students are being appropriately served, it also works well to ensure all kids are receiving a variety of service and attention to their needs.
Truly, I created this from a practitioner point of view, so if you’re an administrator or have extensive walk-through training and have suggestions for improvement, I’m all ears!