Expert Response


Elementary School: Planning A Brochure

Imagine a coaching conversation

clip One approach for conducting a post-observation coaching conversation, adapted from the Santa Cruz New Teacher Center, starts with the coach asking the teacher who has been observed some version of the question, “What do you think was successful in that lesson?” After giving the teacher time and encouragement to think along those lines, the coach then turns to “What challenges or concerns do you have?”

Here is one possible conversation, when the coach calls the teacher’s attention to her use of questions.

Coach: You talked about the students being excited to look at the brochures. When you were asking them to look at information on the brochures and identify elements the brochure contained, a student mentioned the map. Then you explained why a map would be useful. Can you think of another way to follow the student’s comment?
Teacher: I guess I could have asked the students why a map would be included.
Coach: Mmm. What impact would that have had?
Teacher: Well, mmm, a student would have been talking instead of me. Maybe I should have let them talk it over with their groups. Then even more students would have been thinking about it.
Coach: Have you tried things like that in the past?... 

clipCompare your observations to what other coaches noticed in this segment.

What went well?

The “real” materials – tourist attraction brochures- helped make ideas concrete.

The brochures generated a lot of energy among the students.

The teacher gets the students’ attention fairly quickly to start whole group discussion.

She related the activity to students’ lives by asking if people had visited “Monkey Jungle,” which is the source of one of the brochures.

Inviting the students to examine the brochures was a good way to build on the students’ energy.

Many students are working with their peers and seem to be comfortable. The general atmosphere in the class is positive.

What were some concerns?

There were not enough of any one brochure for all students to examine. Including the use of a document projector (Elmo), as indicated in the lesson plan, would have helped, but that didn’t happen in the recorded segment.

Without the document projector or enough brochures, explicit instructions about sharing or moving to see the Monkey Jungle brochure would have been appropriate.

Asking the students to examine the brochure was a good step, but in the follow-up, the teacher didn’t build on student responses and did most of the talking herself. For instance, after the students pointed out the map, rather than pushing students to think about why a map would be useful, the teacher told them.

Likewise, noticing that pictures were included could have brought in an evaluative discussion about what makes a good picture to include when promoting an attraction.

In general, giving students time to talk with their peers and generate a list of what is useful to include on such a document is more engaging and uses higher level thinking skills than the teacher-centered whole group discussion.

Since the teacher talks about work that has already started on this assignment, it’s puzzling that the expectations/a performance rubric have not already been established and explained.