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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 8/7/23 - Go Beyond Visiting Classrooms

This week’s tip: Go Beyond Visiting Classrooms


The SAM process is all about intentionality. Leaders often say they want to be in classrooms more. This makes sense, as working effectively with teachers requires understanding and experiencing teacher practice.


Determining your purpose for being in a classroom starts in the SAM Daily Meeting. When you select a descriptor you are stating your intentionality.


The descriptor, Walkthrough, is used when your intention is to spend a short time in a classroom watching a lesson.


The descriptor, Work With Students, is used when it is your intention to work with a student or group while you watch a lesson.


The descriptor, Student Supervision, is used when it is your intention to assist a teacher with student learning behavior while you watch a lesson.


The descriptor, Observation, is used when it is your intention to spend a longer time in a classroom watching a lesson.


All four descriptors can be used or formative or summative evaluation.


All four kinds of seeing instruction should be used to determine next steps to support improved teaching and learning. The leader’s presence in a classroom can have a positive effect on teaching practice and student engagement if the leader has thoughtful follow-up conversations with teachers and students designed to increase capacity, skill and trust. The impact is increased if the leader then aligns professional development, PLC and coaching support with what is learned during classrooms visits.


During the SAM Daily Meeting the team connects one completed event to another to move teaching practice forward. The leader is the train’s engine. The descriptors are the train cars. The SAM Daily Meeting is the link between cars that allows the train to move forward.


Registration opens for the 17thAnnual National SAM Conference, September 4, Labor Day.


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