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, Valeska Bass, the teacher, and Melita Alston, the principal of Bryant Elementary School, focus in on specific Writing Workshop Priorities for Student Learning (see Valeska’s Classroom In Action videos). A specific feature of the planning conversation is to hear Valeska and Melita discuss how the students are independent and inter-dependent during Learning Centers which then allow Valeska the teaching/formative assessment opportunity to meet individually with students to give writing feedback and set new learning goals.
Administrators or coaches should note how Melita’s approach to asking open-ended questions and listening carefully helps her to confirm/extend Valeska’s thinking based on specific aspects of lesson planning. Melita asks Valeska, “What questions do you have for me?” near the end of the conversation, which prompts Valeska and Melita to confirm specific student “listen-n-look fors” during the writer’s workshop focused observation.