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Tool: Observing with the overview and scripting techniques

When using the overview method, write down everything that transpires in the classroom. For scripting, write down everything that is said in the classroom. These observation techniques are useful for gathering information on most focus areas. It is difficult, however, to record everything. Use shorthand notations and do not worry about connecting events. Remember to write down only facts, not judgments.

  • Create a seating map of the classroom and number the students. Use the numbers to refer to which student is speaking.
  • T = teacher
  • Use quotation marks or capital letters to denote actual quotes. Paraphrase other comments and actions.

Example

Observation Notes:

SCRIPTING   Teacher: Tom V.   Lesson:  Geometry   Date: 3/4/04    Observer:  Amy L.  

Begin 10:35.  Children are sitting in desks with teacher at front of room

T:  WHO REMEMBERS WHAT WE DISCUSSED YESTERDAY IN MATH?

3:  WE WERE TALKING ABOUT SHAPES…GEO…mumbles an incoherent word.

14:  GEOMETRY!

T:  YES, WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT GEOMETRY.  (Taps lightly on 4’s desk to get his attention) AMY, CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING MORE ABOUT WHAT WE DISCUSSED YESTERDAY?

7:  (Looking in desk) Asks the teacher to repeat the question.  Teacher repeats.  WE TALKED ABOUT DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF SHAPES.

T:  WHAT DO YOU MEAN DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF SHAPES?

Analysis suggestions

Since as much of the action and/or conversation as possible is noted, the focus of analysis will depend upon the individual lesson, the chosen focus and what stands out as relevant or important.