Step 4: Conduct the Walk-Through

Often, instructional leaders who conduct walk-throughs use one of the observation forms below to take notes. As a result of learning and practicing with this observation in other schools, they may have reviewed the questions on the form and modified them to fit their own school context (see Cleveland High School's five-minute classroom walk-through iteration below).
Example observation forms                  
(Click images to enlarge)
This form can be helpful for documenting    This form can be helpful for documenting
insights when visiting one classroom.           insights when visiting five classrooms.

Cleveland High School's five-minute walk-through iteration


Generally observations include:

1) Focus on standards:
Checking 'yes' means everyone in the class demonstrated a clear academic focus. Visiting leaders can easily ascertain the purpose and expectations of the lesson through what they see on the wall or hear from the teacher or students.

2) Overall level of student engagement: Is the movement, sound, or silence productive?

3) Wall walk: Is the classroom environment welcoming? Does it support academic success among diverse students?

4) Interviews with students: Instructional leaders select at least two students to speak to quickly and quietly, at their desks or in the hallway. Questions should be comfortable for a range of students to answer and provide information about the extent to which students are motivated and learning, for example:
  • What are you working on?
  • Why are you working on this assignment?
  • Is what you are working on interesting to you?
  • Is what you are working on in other classes interesting to you?
5) Communication and critical thinking: Observers note communication patterns throughout the visit. For example, does class participation seem to be fair and equitable to all students? Does the teacher ask challenging questions ad support thoughtful responses from a broad range of students?

Source: Ginsberg, M.B. (2004) “Classroom Walk-Throughs.” In L. Brown-Easton (ed.), Powerful   Designs for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council.