The planning conversation is when the teacher and principal (or instructional coach or teaching peer) collaborate and focus on the student-learning priorities for classroom-based observation. These priorities in early learning grades may be established through a combination of individual learning needs, core curriculum/standards/outcomes, and school improvement goals.
In this planning conversation, Andy Frankel, the teacher, and Melita Alston, the principal of Pattengill Elementary School, focus in on specific Math Workshop Priorities for Student Learning (see Andy’s Classroom videos). A specific feature of this planning conversation is Melita and Andy discussing how he plans for different math learning centers that will be facilitated by three different educators, Mr. Anderson (the student teacher/intern), Ms. Hiskins, (the Speech Pathologist), and himself, to address the consistent learning priorities while being differentiated for individual needs in each different groups.
Administrators or coaches should note how Melita’s approach to asking open-ended questions and listening carefully helps her to confirm/extend Andy’s thinking based on specific aspects of lesson planning. Melita asks Andy, “Is there anything in particular you want me to pay close attention to give you feedback about when we have our post observation meeting?” near the end of the conversation. This prompts Andy to request for the principal to look for his Professional Learning Goal: Differentiated Support for High Achieving Students “in action” during the lesson observation…a definite link to Andy’s Professionalism as an educator (Framework for Teaching 4d, 4e, and 4f)!