Planning is critically important to an effective classroom walkthrough program. You can use eWalk and the ideas here to help lay the foundation for your program. The eWalk Template serves as the data collection tool. A well designed template will provide you with meaningful data that has the potential to transform your school.
This is Part 2 of my series on Building An eWalk Program in your School. If you missed my first post in the series please have a look: 6 Tips for getting started with eWalk
a) Assemble your team. Identify and involve administrators and teacher leaders. Your eWalk program can and will be very powerful. However, you must convince those in your building who have influence over other teachers that eWalk can transform your school. Involve your influential teacher leaders at the very beginning so that they will feel some ownership and power in the program.
Once you have the support of your teacher leaders, they will influence others regarding the benefits of eWalk. When you have the support of the leaders in your building, they will set the tone for others to follow regarding your eWalk program.
a) Explain in detail to teacher leaders that the eWalk process is not evaluative in nature. Be honest from the beginning regarding the goal(s) of the eWalk program. Describe in detail to your teacher leaders exactly how the process will be conducted. You want your teacher leaders to be able to explain to others exactly how the process will work. You want your teacher leaders to feel confident that the goal(s) of the eWalk program are to gather real-time data on classroom practice and be the catalyst for open and honest dialogue among professionals. Your teacher leaders should be comfortable reassuring their colleagues that the eWalk program will facilitate positive change highlighting the great and wonderful things teachers and students are doing in classrooms while also generating discussion regarding those areas that might benefit from a little improvement.
Collaboratively identify three to five things that have the greatest impact on student achievement. Collaboration is the foundation of your eWalk program.
b) Collaboratively identify the three to five things that have the greatest impact on student achievement. Collaboration is the foundation of your eWalk program. Teachers will be more likely to truly embrace and value the eWalk program when they feel they are a critical component of the process. Ask your teacher leaders and anyone else who wishes to participate to be active participants in the planning and implementation of your eWalk program. Teachers are the experts in the classroom and truly know what is working and what is not when it comes to student achievement. Teachers will also have the most accurate information regarding where the most realistic opportunities are to increase student achievement.
a) Build subject list of teacher members. Creating your subject list allows you to attach all of your teachers’ names to your templates.
Entering the first and last name of your teachers as well as their email address into the member list allows you to personalize teacher walk-throughs. Teachers want immediate feedback regarding visits to their classroom and having the ability to quickly email teachers a completed walk-through demonstrates to your teachers that what is important to them is also important to you.
Creating your member list and attaching it to your templates also allows you to disaggregate eWalk data all the way down to the teacher level. This will be extremely valuable as you gather data and wish to look at the classroom practices of specific teachers.
a) Consult the Template Wizard to assist you in building your template. The template wizard will assist you in building the components that will comprise your template.
However, before you begin building your template I suggest you create a rough draft of what you want your template to look like. The rough draft of your template will resemble an outline. Each Roman numeral will represent an element and each item under the Roman numeral will represent specific data points you wish to observe. For example:
I. Standard Posted and Aligned
a) Standard Posted
b) Language of Standard evident
c) Standard Referenced During Visit
II. Content Specific Vocabulary
a) Introduced by Teacher
b) Function of Vocabulary Explained
c) In Context of Standard
Once you have completed your rough draft you are ready to build your template. I have had more success working backwards when building my templates. I build my checklists, value lists, rubrics, and other components and then build my elements. That way I have all my components ready to build my elements and all my elements ready when I build my template.
a) Build Elements that focus on the three to five items that were selected by you and your teacher leaders to have the greatest impact on student achievement. I believe that you and your teachers will benefit most from an eWalk program that is sound and has a solid foundation. Learn the program and how to use the process. Collaboratively work with your teachers to gather real-time data on classroom practice and improve student achievement. Once you learn the program and how to use the process you can expand your program and your template(s).
a) Create Filters that will allow you to disaggregate data down to the second and third level. eWalk allows you to incorporate two filters into each template. These filters are created as a value list and attached to the filter. I use administrator and department as my filters. I filter walk-throughs by administrator for two reasons. One is to have the ability to view walk-through data specific to administrator and the second is to have the administrator who observed the class listed on the template. I filter by department so that I can view walk-through data by department and report out eWalk data that is specific to the department. You can incorporate filters as you like.
b) Share the template with your observers. Once you have the template completed you will share it with those who will be visiting classrooms. As site manager, you will have discretion regarding template access.
Part 3 of this series is now available and focuses on protocols and implementation. Part four will be posted soon.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions or questions.
If you have specific needs or if you would like more detailed information regarding the first year of using eWalk, please contact me at email@example.com.