Teacher Observation Logs

To systematically record observations of student performance or progress. These cumulative observations can provide evidence of skill development, progress toward goal achievement, and areas of strength or weakness.

The documentation process does not need to be elaborate or lengthy. What is more important is the regular and systematic collection of observations that will form a rich picture of student performance. Descriptive teacher observations make sense when:

  • What you want to observe is an integrated process that does not lend itself to being broken down into component pieces

  • You want to observe students' language use or cognitive or metacognitive strategies in progress

  • You just need a very quick, general sense of progress
  1. Think about the strategies or behaviors you are looking for. Decide how you will record what you will record what you will observe. In some cases you will simply jot descriptive notes. In others you may want to do a simple rating of the learners. For example, you might record a ü -, ü , or ü + to rate strategy use. A third approach is to have a short checklist to work from. See the Read with Understanding Guide and Diary as a way to record observations related to a particular standard.

  2. Select just a few students or groups to observe. While students are completing the activity, circulate around the room.

  3. When appropriate, ask students brief questions to "think aloud" about what they are doing to clarify your observations.

  4. Describe and interpret what you see based on what you know about the students.

Worksheet (Word file)

Effective teachers see things. They file those things away. They accumulate evidence of proficiency. They know their students. No other assessor of student achievement has the opportunity to see students like this over time. But beware . . .You must constantly ask yourself: What did I really see? Am I drawing the right conclusion based on what I saw? How can I capture the results of this spontaneous assessment for later use?

Stiggins, 2001: 212

Used in Teaching/Learning Examples

Reading a Grocery List