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NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool Evidence

NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool

The following information will help support your thinking as you use the COT in the classroom. It is not
a “check list” nor does all the evidence have to be present each time you enter the classroom. Overtime,
however, for a teacher to be at the highest end of the rating scale, most of these indicators should be
represented. There is also an Early Learning focus included for each of the indicators. This evidence
may be used when you are in a pre-k, kindergarten, first or Exceptional Student Education classroom.

1. Environment

A. Print rich – A print rich classroom is one in which students interact with many forms of print that
are displayed. Are displays current, meaningful and purposeful? Does the classroom have an area
set aside for supplementary materials such as books, magazines for student use? Are there areas
for current posters, quotations, as well as pictures and models of work to be done? Are there
rubrics for the purpose of outcome measures (rigor)?
B. Student work on display – How much is displayed? Is it age appropriate? Is it reasonably neat,
attractive? Is it current? Is it tied to the subject? Does it show evidence of authentic work?
C. Conventional seating – Are the seats always in patterns for teacher directed instruction (rows or
unchanging arrangements)?
D. Small group seating – Are students seated in groups?
E. Classroom Library – Do the classrooms have an area set aside for supplementary materials such
as books, magazines for student use?
F. Evidence of rules and routines in place – Is there evidence of positive expectations and routines
for the classroom? Are they implemented in a consistent manner? Is there any indication of
“bell to bell” instruction? Are there smooth transitions between activities?

SUMS Focus: The environment of a SUMS classroom should provide visual evidence as well as student
and teacher activities. Some examples of visual evidence would be: benchmark charts addressing
SUMS lessons, Daily Data Venns and Charts, Math Manipulatives, Student Samples, Journals, Active
Word Walls, Cooperative Grouping, and Strategies for questioning, probing, and problem solving. The
SUMS classroom looks different in that students are talking, sharing, playing games, comparing, while
the teacher is facilitating, answering questions, prompting, and giving additional instructions when

Rating Scale
Uninviting – disorganized, messy, empty walls, old decorations.

Energizing and motivating – vivid colors, current student work, evidence of word walls that are
currently being used by students, clean, furniture and arrangement is conducive to student movement.

NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool Evidence

2. Teacher

A. At Desk – Where is the teacher when you enter the classroom?

B. Lecture/Direct Instruction – Is the teacher in front of the whole class either lecturing or providing
direct instruction?
C. Conferencing – Is the teacher having conversation with individuals or groups? Is that
conversation relevant to data collection, academic feedback or progress?
D. Small group instruction – Is there evidence of differentiated instruction/centers/cooperative
learning? Does the teacher establish routines for timely transition between activities?
E. Individual monitoring of students – Is the teacher taking steps to determine who has
comprehended the subject matter? Does the teacher utilize verbal actions to determine
understanding of concepts? Does the teacher use proximity to communicate expectations of on
task behavior?
F. Using Interactive technology – Is the teacher using appropriate, available technology to deliver
instruction? Is the teacher promoting the use of appropriate technology by students to enhance
G. Organized and prepared – Are all instructional materials and supplies ready and available and
conveniently located for use?
H. Questioning – Is there a balance of lower and higher level questioning being used throughout

SUMS Focus: In a SUMS classroom there is a saying: Teachers plan in their seat, but teach on their
feet. The teacher becomes a facilitator addressing the needs of students in Whole Group and in Small
Groups. Ongoing progress monitoring is a key fundamental process of SUMS and allows teachers to
truly differentiate instruction, while providing essential understanding of concepts. As teachers work
with students in small groups, they are able to assess the learning through conversations with the
individual and group. Students are allowed to experience guided inquiry for true discovery of new
concepts and to build on background knowledge of existing concepts.

Teacher scale
Not Engaged – Not interacting with students; shows no enthusiasm for material or students. Displays
negative attitude, does not move around the room.

Engaged – Positive interactions with students. Shows enthusiasm, moves around the room. Models
behavior desired from students. Well prepared. Interesting, students are engaged and on task.

NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool Evidence

3. Students

A. Listening/Questioning – Are students actively listening as evidenced by note taking, responding

to questions, formulating questions of their own? Are there nonverbal cues such as tracking the
teacher, nodding agreement where appropriate?
B. Developmental Play (Primary) – Are students engaged in purposeful games and activities for
skill development?
C. Reading – Is there evidence that the purpose has been set for specific reading activities and that
purpose is being monitored? Are students involved in active reading strategies such as choral
reading, silent sustained reading, small group reading, or paired reading?
D. Test Taking – Are students responding appropriately to the testing situation?
E. Academic Games – Are students following the procedures for the game? Do the students see
the relevance of the game to the learning objective? Are the students appropriately and actively
F. Seat Work – Are students actively and appropriately involved in the seat work? Are students
who complete the initial assignment engaged in appropriate supplementary/related work?
G. Interactive Technology – Are the students using appropriate, available technology?
H. Group Work – Are students performing their assigned tasks for a given activity? Do students
why they are engaged in the activity?

SUMS- children are interacting with teachers and other children; children are engaged and focused on
activities; children are actively listening and responding during whole group instruction; during small
group each children have multiple opportunities to respond and extend language; participating in a
variety of modalities and hands on experiences with developmentally appropriate materials; children
should be involved in their own learning as they experience discovery of new concepts while building on
existing concepts.

Students scale
Not engaged- heads on desks, do not follow directions, off task, talking to others.

Engaged- Asking questions, following directions, actively involved, responding appropriately to

questions, enthusiastic.

NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool Evidence

4. Instructional Strategy

A. Lecture – Is the teacher delivering detailed academic information with little opportunity for
student practice and/or activity? Are students being encouraged to use active note taking.
feedback or reflective strategies as the lecture proceeds?
B. Differentiated Instruction – Are all students using the same material and expected to complete
the same assignment? Is there evidence that there are multiple ways for the students to meet the
same objective? Are there materials available to address the various student levels of ability?
Does the teacher actively participate in one of the differentiated activities?
C. Centers – Are there different areas established to provide small group instruction/activities for
specific tasks? Is there evidence of timely transitions from center to center? Is there evidence
that materials present are appropriate, organized, and readily available?
D. E6 (Essential 6) – Is there evidence that the essential six strategies are regularly integrated into
instruction? The 6 strategies are:
Concept Maps
Column Notes
Reciprocal Teaching (RT)

Pre-Reading (PAS)
(QAR) Question-Answer Relationship
Summary Frames

E. Modeling – Does the teacher show/demonstrate exemplary instructional practices by illustrating

steps toward mastery? Does the teachers escort students through the thought process? Are the
students allowed to experience examples and non-examples of the content being taught?
F. Lab/Hands on – Is there evidence that materials present are appropriate, organized, and readily
available? Do the activities require the students to use critical thinking skills to solve real world
problems? Does the activity require students to produce a product?
G. Interactive Technology – Is the use of technology current, appropriate and purposeful for the
stated objective? Is there evidence that the available technology is being used on a regular
H. Lesson Focus Skill – Is the skill/essential question posted? Is there an agenda that gives an
overview of skill and activity progression? Is the lesson content appropriate for the grade level
being observed? Is the lesson clear to the observer and students?
I. Guided Practice – Is the teacher providing support for student practice? Is the teacher
providing enough feedback for the student to move to independent practice? Is the teacher
checking for student understanding before moving on with instruction?

SUMS Focus: Whole group instruction is sometimes necessary and effective if teachers use strategies
that will allow active engagement of all students. For example: students can talk about what they
already know about a new concept and share with others. SUMS is primarily hands on guided inquiry
however, teachers have to facilitate to ensure that all students are focused and using strategies for a
deeper conceptual understanding.

Instruction Scale
No evidence – no research based strategy is evident.

NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool Evidence
High Yield strategy – ready evidence of research based strategy

NEFEC Classroom Observation Tool Evidence

5. Cognitive Levels of Student Activities

A. Project Design – Are the students being required to compose or create something new,
hypothesize, or estimate results? (highest level of cognitive learning)
B. Cooperative Learning – Are students given instruction within their assigned role in the group?
Are students provided with well defined group task outcomes? Are students required to
participate in the group using high order thinking and problem solving skills?
C. Brainstorming – Are students given the freedom to explore multiple perspectives, concepts,
wordings, and/or solutions within a given topic? Does the teacher take the necessary steps to
focus the discussion around the desired outcomes?
D. Discussion Group – Does the teacher facilitate the group in such a way that the focus of the
objective is not lost? Is the group facilitated in such a way so that members of the group are
encouraged to participate?
E. Teach Others – Are students given the opportunity to reinforce mastery of what they have
learned by sharing knowledge with others?
F. Recall/List – Are students asked to recall through rote memorization? Are students given lists
to memorize that lack purpose and require simple recall of facts?

SUMS Focus: concept development measures the teachers’ use of instructional discussions and
activities to promote students’ higher-order thinking skills and cognitive and the teachers’ focus on
understanding rather than on rote instruction
Analyses and reasoning: why and how questions; problem solving prediction/experimentation;
classification/comparison, evaluation
Creating: brainstorming, planning, producing;
Integration: connects concepts, integrates with previous knowledge
Connections to the real world: real-word applications; related to students’ lives