This assignment requires you to use your leadership skills and your knowledge to plan, observe, and discuss special educator’s use of pedagogical strategies, skills, and classroom management techniques in teaching children with special needs in a variety of settings. This observation will require you to communicate with a number of different people to get permission and organize an observation of another teacher and her classroom.

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It is important to establish some understandings of what this assignment is and is not.  This assignment is not to train you to be administrators or to prepare you to make evaluations of teacher performance.  It is not designed to be a formal evaluation at all—in fact it should be a collegial and peer based activity that will give you the experience of observing another teacher’s strategies, techniques, skills, and use of technology in order for you to expand your teaching skills. These observation assignments are designed to help you have a more productive learning experience when you do your hours of observations in settings in which children with special needs are being served.


Now, it is time to discuss the specific components of the assignment and timeline for completion. First, discuss this project with several people: your immediate supervisor, your upper-level/district supervisor and most importantly the teacher(s) you wish to observe in this activity. Permission and corresponding approval letters may be required from each of these individuals.

You will be writing personal reflectionsbased on your experiences as an observer in the classroom. The written essays help you reflect upon what you see in the classroom, how to improve on what’s observed, and/or what not to do.Each essay should be no longer than 2 pages; if you are extremely wordy…3 pages max.

There are several components to this assignment. The entire Observation Project is worth 20 hours(now you may exhale). Students are not required to physically sit in a classroom for 20 hours observing students, faculty, staff etc.

  1. Required Letter(s) – Cooperating Teacher, Building Supervisor
  2. Observation Charts/Diagrams – these forms will be used by the student to take notes, draw pictures, etc. during the actual observation.
  3. Observations – Students will observe a total of 4 Classrooms, with one being their own. If a student does not have his/her own classroom, arrangements will need to be made by the student to observe in a classroom.In this step you will sit in on the teacher you wish to observe to gain an understanding of their skills in the process of teaching students with special needs. You will use the provided observation tools to write notes as you observe.
  4. Reflective Essay – there are a total of 4 essays that will be written based on observations, notes, and personal thoughts. Reflective essays provide you with an opportunity to summarize and synthesize your observations in a written format. Each essay has specific requirements provided.
  5. Video – The personal classroom observation requires a video to be made of you and your class.



Discussion with Immediate Supervisor: (optional but encouraged)

You immediate supervisor or their designee can be very helpful in this process and a discussion about the project may prove beneficial to you and to them as well.  You may want to chat with them about your assignment to see if they have any tips or techniques you may find helpful.  This chat can also prove valuable if you are new to your current school or office or do not know your colleagues extremely well.  Your immediate supervisor can facilitate this process if you feel it is necessary.

Part I: Letter to Teacher for Permission

The one major difference in this assignment is the requirement that you get permission from the participating teacher. You need identify a colleague that you believe poses a worthy candidate for observation and ask their permission to observe them.  In most cases, this collegial, peer to peer “coaching” model of classroom observation will not present an issue.  However, because of confidentiality and liability issues, written permission from all participating parties must be obtained.

You are to write a letter to your colleague asking them for permission to observe a lesson of theirs (make sure there are children who have an IEP or IFSP).  Include all relevant information such as this being a requirement of this particular graduate course and that their participation in this activity is completely voluntary—they may opt out at any time.  Inform them that all observed data and corresponding written summaries will be kept confidential and no specific or personally identifying descriptors of them being observed will be used.  No names will be used and it will not be shared with administrators or supervisors or used in any evaluative process.  Also, to ensure complete transparency, you will share with them all documents you will be utilizing in your observation process, if they so desire.

Included in this letter should be your proposal for a specific time and place for this observation to occur.


Part II: Confirmation of Observed Teacher Approval

You will submit a confirmation that the teacher you will observe has approved your observation in advance.  Please note that it is recommended that this should be done electronically.  After your permission letter is written and submitted to the teacher ask that they approve it and send it back to you.  That email trail is all that is required to meet completion for this part.

Part III: Letter to Immediate Supervisorfor Permission

You need to inform your immediate supervisor of your intent to observe another teacher in your school. They need to be aware so they can help you with the entire process—providing you coverage to do the observation, assisting with logistics and maintaining confidentiality.

You are to write a letter to your immediate supervisor informing him/her of your intention to observe a SPED/Co- teacher/Full-inclusion classroom in your school.  You should include all relevant information such as this is a requirement of this particular graduate course and that the teacher voluntarily agrees to be observed.  You, as the observer, will keep all observed data and corresponding written summaries confidential.  No specific or personally identifying descriptors of the teachers being observed are to be used.  Refer to them generically as “Teacher X” or “Mr. C.”, etc.

Part IV: Confirmation of Upper-Level/District Supervisor Approval(optional but encouraged)

You will submit confirmation that your upper-level/district supervisor has approved your observation proposal.  Please note that it is recommended that this should be done electronically.  After your permission letter is written and submitted to your supervisor ask that they approve it and send it back to you.  That email trail is all that is required to meet completion for this part.

Due Date: This project is due in Session VII 10/3 to BbL by 7:00 PM.;late assignments will not be accepted. The entire project should be submitted as one document with the exception of the video. Detailed instructions will be provided on how to submit your video.


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