LEARNING WALKS TO SUPPORT EUREKA MATH IMPLEMENTATION
By: Penny Gennuso, Miko McDaniel, and Pat Gilbert
One of the keys to successfully implementing Eureka Math is having strong, informed, instructional leadership. As education undergoes a major transformation, reaching and staying at an informed status has been challenging for educators. With this in mind, we would like to share our journey and a tool we created to insure our administrators were ready to observe math lessons and give meaningful feedback.
During the 2013–2014 school year, Lafayette Parish School System implemented the Eureka Math curriculum in Grades K-9 (Algebra I). Our math team spent the majority of our first year of implementation studying the curriculum, providing PD and creating resources to support teachers and parents. We began getting questions from administrations about how to offer feedback and identify solid implementation. To help administrators understand the shifts in instruction they were witnessing as the new standards came to life in classrooms we created a “walk-through” form that follows the structure of a Eureka Math lesson.
Creating a “Walk-Through” Form for Administrators and Teachers
After one year of implementation under our belts, our next steps were set in motion by our administrators. Eureka Math was vastly different from traditional math curricula and evaluating a lesson became a challenge. Prior to implementing Eureka teachers had been receiving feedback via COMPASS, a teacher evaluation rubric created using components from the Danielson framework. We wanted to merge the expectations of best teaching practices found in the COMPASS rubric with the best teaching practices rooted in Eureka Math. We created a “walk-through” form that follows the structure of a Eureka Math lesson combined with the indicators derived from COMPASS, the Louisiana Department of Education’s“Instructional Guide to Observation and Feedback” and Achieve the Core’s “Instructional Practice Guide.”
Eureka Math Walk-Through Forms (K-5 and 6–12). Available for coaches and admins on the Eureka Math Pinterest Page, under the administrative tools. Links also included at the end of this blog.
Preparing to use the Walk-Through Form
With our Eureka Math walk-through form complete, we needed to share it with administrators and other site-based leaders tasked with observing math lessons. During an in-service session, we guided administrators through each section of the form and paired it with examples of what best practices might look like. The other coaches and I modeled parts of lessons — the administrators participated in a Sprint routine, completed white-board exchanges, and experienced the power of a Student Debrief. They watched video segments of teachers in action from across our district facilitating the Concept Development and Application Problem portions of the lessons. We highlighted good instruction and connected it to our new walk-through form.
The administrators were asked to reflect and share their own experiences as math students. This led to a hearty discussion about how their own expectations of a “good math” lesson needed to shift. At this point, administrators were eager to implement the form. We helped them set up the form on their laptops using Google Autocrat, which populates a Google spreadsheet and automatically sends an email to the teacher. Now they were prepared with a tool better suited to evaluate today’s math lesson.
Implementing the Walk-Through Form
As math coaches we were already visiting with teachers during their grade-level meetings. We brought the walk-through form along and explained how administrator might use the form as opposed to how coaches would. The administrator’s form gives a numerical rating whereas the coaches’ form did not. Maintaining a supportive relationship with teachers is of utmost importance if coaches are to impact instruction. The coaches often included positive comments (a “praise”) and reflective questions in the “Something to Think About” section (a “push”) as a way to engage in conversations with teachers or at the very least, self-reflection.
After using this tool for a couple of months we began to notice trends in our observations and feedback. We were able to use this information to plan and prepare for district-wide PD days. It allowed our plans to directly target the areas where we saw a need. For example, the observation data had several comments referring to different aspects of Fluency component of the lesson. Therefore, we knew teachers across our district could benefit from PD centering on the delivery of Sprints and write board exchanges. So we offered one session to give teachers an understanding on how to effectively deliver a Sprint and an opportunity for deliberate practice of their newly acquired knowledge. They left elated; one particular teacher said she could not wait to have her students complete one now that she had a better understanding of how to administer a Sprint. A couple of weeks later she informed me how much her students love doing Sprints!
Access the Eureka Math Walk-Through Form
This Eureka walk-through form is a beneficial tool for teachers, administrators, coaches, and, ultimately, our students. Our administrators, in particular, have gained much needed insight and a means of collecting, analyzing, and providing feedback on classroom implementation through the walk-through form. The walk-through form, paired with the in-service training on it, were big steps toward insuring our instructional leaders were informed and prepared for Eureka Math lessons. Our hope is that with some adjustments this tool will be useful to your school or district.