February Walkthroughs

Yesterday I was speaking to a colleague about the focus of walkthroughs in February. My colleague was told that I had changed some of my thoughts over the last 12 months and was seeking some clarification.  I felt by the end of our conversation that I was affirming what we both understood was important for teachers to do at the start of any school year – establish relationships with students. It’s difficult to effectively teach anyone you don’t know.

At the start of each school year the leadership team work through our shared expectations with all staff members about teacher relationships with students, the unpacking of school values, the embedding of social competencies in the curriculum and the development of a group set of base expectations or rules or behaviours and consequences with students.

We model on the first pupil free day and staff meeting unpacking a school value using a thinking tool [Y Chart], role play making a social competency explicit at the start of a lesson and play a game designed to get to know your students. We then make it explicit with all teachers that we expect this to occur in all groups during the month of February and periodically throughout the year.

I then use this work on building relationships as the focus for the first few walkthroughs at the start of the school year. I inform teachers before the walk of the focus. I walk the walls of rooms I visit and take photos of the various charts that depict the work of teachers and students. I then share these photos at a staff meeting and work on some leading questions that promote further teacher dialogue about the work of building relationships.

Tip 1: Don’t forget the school office staff in this as they have a role in reinforcing the school values – eg respect or courtesy – signs in the school office reminding all members of the community to use appropraite langauage [please / thank you etc…]

Tip 2: If your looking for different thinking tools the Mordiallic Cluster of public schools in Victoria have set up a terrific site as a reference for teachers on visual thinking tools. The site’s listed as a resource

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3 Responses to February Walkthroughs

  1. Don says:

    Just thought I’d leave a comment to let you know how much I’m enjoying your learning log and to finding out more about what your doing in your own school on the other side of the world. Thousands of miles in geographical distance – near neighbours in practice

  2. Sarah says:

    Thought I’d better leave a commentso you know I’ve visited. I’m starting to think about walkthroughs having two distinct purposes. I think there is the sort we have been working on ie short 5 minute snapshots in classrooms with a pirpose of collecting information on how whole school goals and teaching strategies etc are going. I also think there might be a role for focussing more on a unit or group of staff who might have selcted an area to work on together. The purpose there would still be for extending the conversation around focal point while enabling all from the small group to accompany you on walkthrough but it strikes me a small group trying to build shared understandings would benefit from sharing their observations more specifically in the smaller group setting. I’m realising still how very important the pre and post cpnversation is to elicit change that is deeper.

Interested in your thoughts