Instructional Rounds Part II, Thoughts on Kindergarten Cafe

Last Friday our team of 3 administrators and 1 Head of Grade set out at 1:00 to observe the learning that was going on in Lower School. While part of the intent of Instructional Rounds is to gather data about pedagogical practices occurring, I came away with more questions than answers that Friday afternoon. Some questions arose about my role in the process.

  • With so much going on in a classroom, I wonder where I should focus my attention.
  • I wonder where I should zoom in to most help this teacher.
  • I wonder how I can improve my observational and note-taking skills.

Other questions arose about instructional time in general.

  • How many kindergarten students can successfully learn under the direction of one teacher?
  • How might we measure learning and engagement of students more precisely?
  • How might we hold every child to the same expectation?
  • How many “silent thumbs” should a teacher see before she calls one one student to share?
  • How often do we reveal the learning objective or learning outcome with our students?
  • Should the teacher be the only one aware of the desired outcome of the lesson?
  • If students are not following classroom management routines, should a teacher stop to reinforce the routine, (like 1,2,3… eyes on me) or continue with the planned lesson?
  • How much time does the brain need to transition between and experiences such as an author study and a math lesson?
  • How do we harness the energy of the few students that dominate the discussion to allow time and opportunities for others to think and share their thoughts?
  • How does the way the teacher responds to a student comment effect the next contribution made by a student?
  • Before reflecting on the Instructional Rounds data, what would the Kindergarten Team have identified as a Kindergarten Cafe problem of practice? After reflecting on the data?

After reflecting on this list, I realize that Instructional Rounds are accomplishing their purpose. The answers to these questions are important, but it is more important that we will engage in collaboration and brainstorming around these ideas in a debrief with the Kindergarten team. I look forward to that discussion and observing the way Kindergarten Cafe grows as a result.


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