Practice Activity: Conducting Classroom Walk-throughs
Plan a protocol for a walk-through
A classroom walk-through is one way of collecting school-wide data about the school in relation to school improvement goals, and it needs to be clearly focused on what you are looking for that is related to a school or district goal. Among the decisions that need to be made in preparation for the walk-through include the following:
  • What is the focus of the walk-through?
  • Who will participate as part of the team?
  • How will you defined the role of the team?
  • Will you differentiate roles in any way?
  • How will you prepare the team?
  • How will you structure the classroom visit and discussion after the visit?
  • What feedback form will you develop for the team to use?
  • How will you share results with the school?
  • Will you share results with individual teachers? If so, how?
  • How will you use the results?

Protocols for conducting classroom walk-throughs are useful for focusing what participants look for in the classroom and how they discuss their observations at the debriefing. “Seeing through New Eyes,” a NSDC Tools for Schools (Oct/Nov 2001) article by Joan Richardson, shares a protocol developed by Perry and Associates that organizes the walk-through into four components: preparation meeting, walk-through, debriefing outside the classroom, and final debriefing. They also developed a useful feedback form that identified the focus question and gave space for team members to cite evidence they observed “that supports the focus, that was missing, and that was working against the focus.”

Gary Heath, Branch Chief in the Division of Instruction and Professional Development at MSDE, has drafted a protocol for classroom walk-throughs in Maryland classrooms that focuses on looking at student work in the following areas: alignment with content standards, appropriate instructional materials, levels of performance, consistency of student performances within grades, development of student performance across grades, and a category for other questions.

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