Once you know what you’ll be observing, it’s important to:
  1. Identify knowledgeable people to observe. Staff, community peers and volunteers can all serve as expert observers with the proper training. 

  2. Provide training and tools. To ensure consistent documentation, we provide written materials which include how to create a Running Record. This serves as the foundation for any observation packet.

  3. Practice, practice, practice. We start by having new observers review video clips. We ask them to take notes and then compare them to an expert’s running record. Next, we ask them to review completed observation packets.

  4. Get started. Nothing compares to actually observing in a classroom, so the final step is “just do it.” To lower the stakes, we pair new observers with veterans for their first live observation.

These videos outline how to engage and train community members to record, summarize, and score observations.

Tools & Resources

These resources will help you recruit individuals to observe teaching and learning as well as help guide them through the observation process.

Letter Inviting Others to Observe 
This template allows you to customize a letter to individuals who you want to engage to observe your school or community teaching and learning.
How to Document What You Observe
This tool outlines how to take a running record and what behaviors to note. It also contains poor and improved observation examples.

How to Complete an Observation Summary
This tool describes how to document key elements when writing your summary of an observation.

How to Score an Observation and Write-Up Feedback
This tool explains how to quantify, or score, an observation. It also outlines how to document strengths and areas for investment for teaching and learning. 

“At first people want to give every observation a pretty high score, but we need to step back and think about about the real quality of the work. Is this the kind of experience you would want your children to have? You would want your children to have proficient or advanced experiences, not basic.”

Katy Denson
Katy Denson, Ph.D
Evaluation Constultant