As I am working with my mentees this month we are beginning to talk a lot about what artifacts they should bring to the table for their evaluators as they think about wrapping up their evaluation processes this year. Though the three frameworks for TPEP in our state, Danielson, Marzano, and CEL’s 5D, all go about mapping out Washington State’s eight teaching criteria in different formats they really do call upon teachers to be doing a lot of the same things in their practice. Our district is on the Danielson Framework and therefore many of my conversations are centered around Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities. The issue that my teachers are struggling with is the idea of artifacts and how can they accurately portray the many integral pieces of their job that go into showing professionalism. If you are on CEL 5D this is your Professional Collaboration and Communication Dimension and for Marzano it will be Components 7 and 8. No matter what domain, dimension or component you are looking at here are ten ideas of artifacts you could use to illustrate these strengths for your evaluators.
- Communication Logs
We as teachers are constantly in communication with our parent community. The hard part is how to show that to someone after the fact. If you haven’t already constructed a communication log there is still time to make one. Find all those little sticky notes, or notes you have in a notebook and create a simple log. You can include in this log all the times you called home on individual students as well as any time you sent home progress reports or other electronic communication to all of your students in mass. Especially include, maybe highlight or otherwise make a big deal out of, any time you called home to make those positive contacts. (If you don’t have any of those on your log, now it is a great time to make a few. It never hurts to call home to tell a parent how great their kid is.)
- Notes/emails From Parents
It is also important as educators that we are not only disseminating information and communication about our students and classroom but that we are also receiving it. If you have any emails from parents or other teachers asking for something, thanking you for a note home, or in response to communication you have sent be sure to save these and also submit them. It is important that the communication lines run both ways and these are a great way to do a little check and make sure that it is.
- PLC Notes or Collaboration Artifacts
A large part of our job is to work together. Many school are set up in professional learning communities or networks. Notes from these meetings are great evidence for your work on these very important teams. You could also submit a common assessment or data analysis that can help to show off how much your work in your teams and with your colleagues, formally or informally set up, can impact your teaching and students learning.
- Planner With Notes or Adjustments
When I was in the classroom I actually did keep a hand written planbook. I am sure that my evaluator did not want me to plop it down on her desk. What I could do however was to scan in a couple of pages where I showed notes I had left myself about how the lesson went. I would sometimes grab an exit ticket from a student that had a great suggestion on it, or was just so spot on that I wanted to remember that was what I was aiming for and staple or paper clip it in. This is a great way to demonstrate how your practice is a constant cycle of reflection and growth.
- Links to Website
If you have a website for your class share the link with your evaluator. This shows how you communicate with students as well as how you can engage them using technology. It’s even better if there is a link to your email or place where parents can contact you through the site as well.
- Professional Development Artifacts
If you have been to any conferences, taken any courses online or completed any new certifications you should show these off. You could bring in an outline of a session you completed, or the flyer. Sometimes you can print a certificate or will get some other recognition that you attended. Keep these and use them to track how you are growing as a professional and are committed to your own constant cycle of learning.
- Family Surveys (Beginning of the Year)
I know many teachers who give out surveys to students at the beginning of the year. Even better I know many teachers who send surveys home to parents. This really helps teachers to plan for the students they have in front of them. It allows us to make connections with students home and cultures. This also help us think about what is happening for our kids throughout the day. Are they staying with mom or dad this week? What is the primary language spoken at home? Do they celebrate birthdays in their family? These are all really important pieces of the humans that we teach. These types of surveys (with names removed) can help to illustrate how we get to know our students and tie their lives to our classrooms.
- Mid-Year Survey
Whether or not you have sent home a survey at the beginning of the year, now is a good time to do it again, or for the first time. You could find out how parents are feeling about their student’s progress and school right now as it’s conference season. If you are an elementary teacher perhaps you could collect it at conferences. If you are a secondary teacher it’s a great time to ask what they think their student needs to finish out the year strong or regain some lost ground. This will help to make and/or continue those relationships with families and is something that your administrator would be proud of.
- School Events or Service Projects
Everyone knows a teacher’s job is a lot larger than their classroom. Whether you are chaperoning a dance, judging a science fair, running the book fair, or helping with a service project, find a way to bring this to the attention of your evaluator. These are the kind of things that build community and make us a part of the community we serve. Your admin wants to know about how much you are out there. This is definitely a professional responsibility and worth a bit of brag.
- Advocacy for Students
Students need advocates and their teachers are often the best ones. If you have advocated for a student, like requesting they get tested or talking to another teacher about their progress then save that email. Again if it is contentious in any way delete names, or only let your admin know about your half of the deal. Sometimes we just need to hook our students up with the clubs or services that fit their needs, but that also is part of our professional responsibility. You could have the student write a little note about how it has impacted them or helped them in some way, this could not only serve as evidence but a little written pat on the back you might need to look back on when you feel like you need a pick me up.
Keep up the good work teachers. I know your evaluators are excited to see all the things you are doing. Don’t be afraid to brag and to ask for some feedback if you need it.