While it’s gratifying and inspiring to observe warm, nurturing, and instructionally dynamic classrooms, unfortunately that’s not always the case. I received an email the other day from an observer who conducts observations for a research project in middle and high schools. He was concerned about interactions he had observed, and wanted to make sure he was doing CLASS coding correctly. Since we have a blog on the website about classrooms scoring all 7s, I thought it would be important to bring up the other end of the continuum as well.
This morning, we received an email from an observer who had a great question about whether or not it’s OK to code interactions on the playground. Page 11 of the Pre-K Manual states, "Observers, may follow the students and teacher outside to code an activity (e.g., for a walk or a science discovery lesson). Observers should terminate observation and not assign codes during recess or outdoor play.” Her question was as follows:
You recertify once a year to make sure you are staying true to the tool—that’s essential. But what happens between annual recertifications, during the course of each year? The data you collect is a crucial component of a comprehensive professional development plan and research. So, how can you really be sure you are conducting fair and accurate observations at all times? We have the answer for that: CLASS Calibration!
When two colleagues whom I greatly respect for the depth and breadth of their CLASS knowledge contacted me within 24 hours of each other to ask about how the CLASS defined the indicator of transitions under Productivity, I thought it was probably a good topic for a blog post.
I am excited to announce some new resources to help Observers prepare for recertification. Observers have told us that it would be helpful to have more videos to practice coding before beginning recertification (especially if they have not been consistently coding in recent weeks!). In response to this, we have made two updates to recertification preparation that create more opportunities for practice.
I had to get CLASS certified for my job, but I’m not really doing anything with it. Is there anything else I can do with my certification?
What a great question. It’s one I’ve heard a few times in the field—an observer was asked to get certified to code once, and then she doesn’t get another opportunity to use her CLASS skills. The good news is that there are paying opportunities for reliable observers.
My life was forever changed on May 20, 2015. That was the date of the last episode of The David Letterman Show. I was not just any David Letterman fan. I had been watching him since I was a little girl. He started out on game shows and even had a morning show on NBC when I was just a kid. I’m not exactly sure why I like him, aside from his sense of humor. Maybe it is because we both have a gap between our front teeth, or maybe because we share a love for meditation, or perhaps it’s because we both enjoy a good stogie once in a while. So in homage to David Letterman here are the Top Ten Teachstone Blogs that as a trainer, I find helpful to share with my participants.
“WOW! What a great job!” says teacher Mary to Abby, who is building with blocks. Abby just succeeded in balancing a big, long block on top of the walls she built with smaller blocks. Abby has been working hard on this structure for at least 20 minutes, a long time in the life of a 4-year-old.
During one of Teachstone’s regional trainings, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had a father-daughter team in my training; the mother was also in attendence but in a different session. I know they say that the family that prays together stays together, but perhaps it’s also true that families who code together stay together!
Meet Samantha St. Clair, probably the youngest certified CLASS observer I know.
For your busy Observation trainees, maintaining CLASS certification may not be at the top of their to-do lists after they've attended observation training and passed their first reliability test. They're likely looking forward to the important work they'll be doing throughout the year, using their skills as a CLASS observer to make an impact on the quality of education in their area.
This is understandable, given that they won’t be required to recertify for an entire year, and they have a lot to do before that year is up! However, as we all know, a year goes by quicker than you think, and before you know it you’ll be receiving an e-mail reminder from Teachstone: it’s time for your annual CLASS recertification!