Posted: Fri, Apr 12, 2013 7:31 AM
Our district just started using this and I have been part of the "turn key process". Frankly, I agree with you. PE, Art etc are all different from the "regular classroom". However, even with all the training I've gotten, whenever I have asked PE lessons to be shown so I can see what a 1,2,3 or 4 looks like, the standard answer is "Good teaching looks the same in all classrooms." NO IT DOESN'T. It's also unfortunate that, according to the "professionals", "You will not be a 4. Most of you will 'live' in 3, fall to a 2 here and there and 'dabble' in 4". That stinks. For so many reasons that are not part of this conversation.
With that said, here's my advice: Domain 1 & 4 do not pertain to your classroom observation. Do what you can, when you can to boost those #'s. You need to worry about Domains 2 & 3 - Environment and Instruction. Much of 2 applies to your class structure: use/distribution of equipment, procedures (attendance, maybe moving from inside to outside a building, walking a class to/from a classroom, warm-ups - My class (high school aquatics)- does the same routine every day while I take attendance - no questions asked. By 2nd week of school they are pros. Safety should be the #1 priority, unfortunately, I've actually seen a case where the observer questioned a teacher about the way he set something up. She felt it wasn't "correct" until he explained that if he did it her way, half his class would have gotten hit with a whiffle ball bat and had to go to the nurse. So those who don't "know" PE need to be taught PE - Don't be shy about explaining why things are the way they are - especially when it comes to safety (no kids in closets, no equipment w/out supervision etc)
Domain 3 is a little more difficult Most good teachers will be fine when giving directions and procedures. HERE ARE A FEW REALLY KEY POINTS: 1. ALWAYS connect current learning to previous learning - even if it is a very different skill. Force is force - whether hitting a tennis ball or baseball. 2. Use a few different ways to say the same thing. Sometimes - when I teach little ones (we have a special elem aquatics program as well), I might use a big word they may not know, but I follow it with at least one other word they would know. EX: Buoyanyt - most 1st or 2nd graders wouldn't understand the word, but they know the word float, they know the phrase "won't sink". Using age-appropriate and content specific language is a MUST - don't be afraid to use the big word - goes to "high expectations" - and you can validate that. 3. Questioning is probably the most difficult piece. We know that using cues for skills is important (ex: punting a football I used to use 1,2, drop, kick - meant 2 steps, drop the ball on the laces and kick). You should use these if you can. HOWEVER, in Danielson, they are looking for "deeper, richer" questions (even if it doesn't mean the kid will learn the skill). So, you may want to try a bunch of, "If I do this, what will happen" - The old If/Then questions. If they get the answer to that, then you ask what the opposite would be (ex: If I hit the ball hard on the sweet spot, then... It will go far and fast. Opposite: Hit it easy - maybe slow roller) Also, and this will depend on your observer - sometimes "exploration" is questioning. "I want you to try doing this (whatever it might be) any way you can think of. You must stay in your space, you may ...." Let them try then stop them after they practice and asked what happened - What can we learn from this? What would probablybe the best way to do this? 4. PLEASE make sure every kid is participating - If he's medically excused but must come to your class, use him as an "equiment manager", scorekeeper, referee. Make sure she is in on any dialogue taking place with the class. 5. You may want to use a few different groupings throughtout the lesson. I try mixing my kids in several different ways. I used to do a dribbling lesson. The first group was by squad (5 groups) then I wanted 3 groups, so I randomly selected 3 kids and asked them their favorite candy. Without telling the other kids, I would say anyone who wants to be on the Twizzler team go here, Snickers, Gummy Bears. If they weren't even, i would ask them to please consider a different candy - most were great - Then I put the "captains" with the groups. I would seperate by color of shirts or birthdays (month or day). Don't do something really weird your kids haven't done before with the groupings. Practice different stuff. 6.Make sure your equipment is ready and you have sufficient supplies (if available) for the lesson. DON'T plan a lesson that needs 28 basketballs if you only have six. 7. Assessment is big. You will need to explain in your pre-observation conference how you plan to assess the progress of your kids. OBSERVATION IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE. Explain what you mean - I will watch my kids practice and give feedback individually and to the group. When appropriate let the kids work in pairs doing "constructive criticism". It shows they know the material, and it gives the observer something concrete. I usually say: Tell your partner one thing they did well and one thing they need to do better" then they share with class. They are great at it and with it. This also goes towards student self-assessment. Sometimes you can get that by asking a kid - This is what the result was - what I saw happen. Why did that happen? (whether it was good or bad). How can we change it (if we want to) - You are assessing student. Student assessing self. STudent shares with class and it's a home run.
One more thing. As you write your lesson plan use the Danielson "cheat sheet (paper with 4 domains in 4 boxes and main components listed for each) Go between the lesson plan and the cheat sheet and "check off" the components you think you hit. You will never know until lesson day. Also be prepared to be flexible and change lesson if necessary - If you can justify it to the observer, that is the sign of good teaching - Knowing you needed to adjust so the learners could learn.
Phew.... Hope that helped. Not sure if it's really what you are looking for. Good luck on your
Let me know how it goes!