We were fortunate to host walkthrough guru John Antonetti yesterday at BHS as we attempt to expand the impact of the Classroom Walkthrough protocol that we began as a district last year. The more time I spend listening to the meaningful conversations teachers have after visiting their colleagues classrooms, the more I am convinced that we should be focusing more on walkthroughs.
Instead of worrying so much about state tests that measure low-level thinking, we should be providing time for teachers to engage in these walks so that we can develop this invaluable source of internal data. Our focus at BHS continues to be on three areas:
- Is the objective of the lesson clear to the students?
- What is the level of critical thinking? (Low, Middle, or High on Bloom’s Taxonomy)
- What is the level of student engagement? (Engaged, Compliant, or off-task)
The video below was a discussion that took place today between John and our Superintendent, Eric Conti about the the first focal point during our debriefing.
The second and third areas are the ones that I am most interested in. Our classroom walkthrough data from over 100 classroom visits last year showed a lower percentage of middle and higher level Bloom’s than we would have liked. In addition, we found that we had a tremendous amount of compliance (which is not a bad thing) with low levels of engagement.
As some of the conversation quickly turned to the validity of the data, I asked John whether that is the most important aspect of this undertaking. Even if we were off by 10-20% in our findings, I still think that the numbers are not something we would have been satisfied with. In addition, I think the whole idea that we are having deep conversations about the qualities of an engaged classroom and evidence of critical thinking that rise above the lowest level of Bloom’s are significant and out of the ordinary. The video below discusses this issue. In fact, John passed along the fact that in over 10,000 classrooms walks that he has made more than 80% fall into the low level.
For me the goal of these walkthroughs should be for us to create a source of internal data that is generated by our staff. We should be the experts on our school and have a better handle on the type of learning that is taking place within our walls. In my estimation, that is not typical in our schools today. We need to change that.
Honestly, I can’t see a downside here! Is it just because I drank the Kool Aid?
If you would like more on this protocol, here is a link to a video on the Solution Tree You Tube Channel where John and Jim Garver discuss what makes their walkthrough protocol different from most others.