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Evaluation Toolkit

Welcome to the NEA-Alaska Evaluation Toolkit. Many of our state’s teachers are using the Danielson Framework to improve their teaching, reflect on their practice, and be evaluated. Here you can find actual resources used by real Alaska teachers that are considered to meet the ‘Distinguished’ level of teaching. The examples are grouped by domain with each component having its own description, discussion, and real examples from some of our state’s best teachers. Enjoy!

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Read the Framework for Teaching Evaluation Instrument to find Distinguished –Level 4 explanations to connect your example to a Danielson component.

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Alaska Teacher Contributors

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation

1a. Demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy

1. Extensive Content Knowledge – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers must have a strong command of the subject matter, as well as understand the connections to other disciplines. Effective teachers will frame instruction in terms of intra- and interdisciplinary relationships that bridge the content areas.

2. Mastery of Instructional Methods – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers employ the most appropriate and effective teaching methods for their content area. Teachers understand how to best raise student achievement from where they are to where they ought to be. Teachers anticipate typical student misconceptions and address them.

1b. Demonstrating knowledge of students

1. Formal and Informal Information – Example: Bob Williams (Palmer) – Student Perception Survey

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, the teacher maintains a system of updated formal and informal student records and incorporates medical and/or learning needs into lesson plans.

2. Know and Value Cultural Heritage – Example: Bradley Johnson (Selawik) – Caribou Collaring

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, the teacher provides opportunities for students and families to share information about their culture. Teachers integrate their classroom into the community in a way that respects and values cultural heritage.

3. Know and Integrate Student Interests and Needs – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers adapt lessons and assessments to accommodate students’ interests and needs.

1c. Setting instructional outcomes

1. Purposeful Lesson Design – Example: Mark Fraad (Seward) – Level and Standards in Elementary Physical Education

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers clearly identify and communicate desired high-level learning outcomes that meet curriculum requirements. Outcomes are linked to previous and future outcomes within this and other disciplines.

2. Differentiated Instruction – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, lessons are designed to allow each student access to content at their level. Outcomes are differentiated to encourage individual students to take academic risks and permit viable methods of assessment.

1d. Demonstrating knowledge of resources

1. Extensive knowledge of resources – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the teacher will talk to colleagues, and utilize district, community, university, internet, and professional organizations. The teacher is persistent even when the resource is difficult to locate.

2. Teacher Connects the Resources to the Students – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the teacher will facilitate student use of the resources. Teacher maintains a log of available resources for all levels of students and consistently pursues additional information.

1e. Designing coherent instruction

1. Cognitive Engagement – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, it is essential that the educator consider ways to reach a high level of cognitive engagement within their lesson. This can be challenging to describe and identify. Students who are being well-engaged may be explaining their thinking, proving arguments, applying their knowledge in new ways.

2. Meeting Many Needs – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the many needs of students at different levels need to be met, and some lessons may be differentiated to provide more customized learning. Students need to be challenged at their own ability and developmental level, and able to move at their own pace when the lesson lends itself to it. On occasion, students will have a choice in what their assignment, assessment, or activity involves.

1f. Designing student assessments

1. Assessments are suitable to outcomes – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, assessments are diverse and offer students options to demonstrate competency in appropriate standards.

2. Formative Assessments are used to guide instruction – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, educators use a variety of assessments to inform and adjust their instruction.

Domain 2: Classroom Environment

2a. Creating an environment of respect and rapport

1. Managing Relationships – Example: David Brighton (Kenai) – Student Special Questions

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers foster genuinely caring, highly civil relationships with and among all members of the class.

2. Highly Positive Environment – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers create a highly positive environment where students feel valued and are comfortable taking intellectual risks.

2b. Establishing a culture for learning

1. Classroom Culture – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the classroom culture must demand a shared belief in the importance of learning. To accomplish common goals, class time is maximized by both teachers and students. The culture is built on consistent routines and expectations that all support learning. 

2. Conveying High Expectations – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, it is essential that the educator precisely convey their expectations. The teacher’s passion for the subject can be seen reflected in their students’ interest. The teacher insists that students work hard to demonstrate their best effort.

3. Student Responsibility – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, teachers should give students ownership to improve the learning environment and activities. Students trust the class to accept their input, suggestions, and corrections.

2c. Managing classroom procedures

1. Management of Instructional Groups – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, teachers are intentional in their grouping of students. The teacher uses a variety of classroom practices, activities, and setups that allow for individual work, partner work, or small group work as appropriate. Students are involved in the organization of groups, and they provide feedback on whether certain groupings are helpful or unhelpful.

2. Student Involvement in Classroom Routines – Example: Jessica Cook (Eagle River) – Hall Pass

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, students are engaged in – and occasionally initiate – specific classroom routines. Some procedures are developed by students, and all students understand their role in daily routines. Students are also able and encouraged to teach these routines to new students.

2d. Managing student behavior

1. Classroom Environment – [Submit your example]

In order for students to deeply engage in content, the classroom environment must be orderly, the rules of conduct must be clear, the atmosphere must feel business-like and productive, without being authoritarian. Teacher’s corrective behavior is respectful, subtle, and preventative.

2. Active Student Role – [Submit your example]

In order for students to deeply engage in content, students take an active role in monitoring their own behavior. Students respectfully intervene with classmates at appropriate moments to ensure compliance with standards of conduct. 

2e. Organizing physical space

1. Supportive Arrangement – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, the teacher will assure that the instructional space is safe, accessible, and promotes learning. Modifications are made to support a variety of lesson structures.

2. Students have the opportunity to modify the environment – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, students are encouraged to make adjustments to their environment.

Domain 3: Instruction

3a. Communicating with students

1. Make Connections Between the Lesson and the Larger Curriculum – [Submit your example]

Students can explain what they are learning and how that relates to the larger context of what they are learning in school. Teacher finds multiple ways to imaginatively and clearly explain topics. Teaching is organized to help scaffold learning at all levels.

2. Students Extend the Content – Example: Tammy Smith (Fairbanks) – Math and Mondrian

Students explain how the lessons are relevant in other content areas and to their own lives, and can teach this to their peers.

3b. Using questioning and discussion techniques

1. Questioning – Example: Tim Parker (Fairbanks) – Dense Questions

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, questioning techniques need to include questions that meet the many different levels of cognitive engagement. In addition much of the questioning should come from the students as they seek and make new connections.

2. Discussion – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, class discussions – both whole group and small group – need to engage all students. The purpose of discussion is to help students find a deeper understanding of the content and should be driven significantly by the interaction of students, while the teacher acts as a facilitator.

3. Response Techniques – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers and students should respond to each other’s questions using a variety of strategies. These strategies should help students develop new ideas and challenge their thinking.

3c. Engaging students in learning

1. Clearly Defined Structure – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, tasks are organized and paced with a clear beginning, middle and end, providing scaffolding so that students respond to what the teacher does by challenging themselves to go further.

2. Intellectual Engagement – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, students are provided with challenging content and tasks that require complex thinking. The students, through discussion, reflection, and participation, become self-motivated.

3d. Using assessment in instruction

1. Student Know the Criteria for Assessment – [Submit your example]

Students have a clear understanding of high-quality work and contribute to the assessment criteria.

2. Monitoring of Student Learning – [Submit your example]

Teachers will use a variety of techniques to constantly assess student learning to guide instruction.

3. Feedback to Students – [Submit your example]

Valuable feedback may be timely, constructive, and substantive and must provide students the guidance they need to improve performance

4. Student Self-Assessment and Monitoring of Progress – [Submit your example]

Students assume responsibility for their learning by self-assessing and monitoring their own progress and take appropriate action.

3e. Demonstrating flexibility and responsiveness

1. Incorporation of students’ interests and daily events into a lesson – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers should link lessons to students’ interests in meaningful ways.

2. Flexibility – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers will be able to recognize and incorporate teachable moments.

3. Response Techniques – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, educators need to build a repertoire of instructional strategies and utilize them to match the needs of the students.

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

4a. Reflecting on teaching

1. Reflection on Effectiveness of Instruction – Example: Ivy Bowler (Anchorage) – Building Knowledge of Students

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, the educator reflects on instruction with specificity and accuracy that is similar to an external observer.

2. Use in Future Instruction – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, the educator cites specific examples in their reflections that changed and improved their lessons.

4b. Maintaining accurate records

1. Student Work – [Submit your example]

In order to reach higher levels of teaching, the teacher needs a systematic method for managing and monitoring student completion of work. This involves not just keeping track of which assignments are completed and what grades are earned, but also communicating this information back to students and families in a timely manner.

2. Student Progress in Learning – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, teachers must keep accurate data of formal and informal assessments in order to plan instruction. Students will be engaged in monitoring their own progress in learning as well as in the process of communicating with families. 

4c. Communicating with families

1. Inviting Families In – Example: Chris Benshoof (Fairbanks) – Home Water Use

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, families need to be successfully invited to participate in the instructional program. This can include asking families to come to the school for events or extending lessons into the home.

2. Student Contributions – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, students need to contribute to maintaining records about their learning as well as in the communication process. This could include frequent student logs, students recording their academic progress, and students discussing class activities with their family.

3. Home Communication – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, communicating the instructional program with families should happen frequently. These communications should invite family participation and help maintain a culturally appropriate relationship.

4d. Participating in a professional community

1. Relationships With Colleagues – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the teacher will maintain professional collegial relationships that encourage sharing, planning, and working together toward improved instructional skill and student success.

2. Involvement in a Culture of Professional Inquiry – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the teacher will take a leadership role in the school, district, and/or professional organization. Teachers seek out leadership roles that will improve and promote a culture of student success.

3. Participation in School and District Communities – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the higher levels of teaching, the teacher will contribute and work to improve the professional community. This may include leadership roles in school and district initiatives and projects.

4e. Growing and developing professionally

1. Actively seeking opportunities for professional development – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers have to remain current and active in their profession. Teachers may seek out additional courses or professional development beyond what is required for recertification. Teachers offer to lead professional development or share their expertise with colleagues.

2. Network with colleagues and professionals – Example: Kyle Schneider (Homer) – Growing and Developing Professionally Across Alaska

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers actively pursue opportunities to lead and support within their profession. Teachers are members of professional networks at the local, state, or national level that focus on the teaching of their grade level or subject area. Teachers attend workshops or conferences when available to get new ideas. Teachers have a group of fellow teachers outside their school that they can talk to, share ideas with, and draw inspiration from. These connections impact the teacher’s classroom practice.

4f. Showing professionalism

1. Student Focused – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers are highly proactive in meeting the educational needs of all students, especially those who are traditionally underserved.

2. Leadership Roles – [Submit your example]

In order to reach the highest levels of teaching, teachers participate in self-reflection, collaborate with other educators, and seek positive solutions. Professional teachers “give back” to the profession by assuming leadership roles, mentoring new teachers, and leading by example. Even the most experienced teachers continue to improve by seeking the advice and assistance of others.

Thank you to all the Alaskan educators who have contributed examples for this Evaluation Toolkit!

Chris Benshoof (Fairbanks) – 4c. Water Use at Home
Ivy Bowler (Anchorage) – 4a. Building Knowledge of Students
David Brighton (Kenai) – 2a. Student Special Questions
Jessica Cook (Anchorage) – 2c. Hall Pass
Mark Fraad (Seward) – 1c. Levels and Standards in Elem. PE
Bradley Johnson (Selawik) – 1b. Demonstrating knowledge of students
Tim Parker (Fairbanks) – 3b. Dense Question
Kyle Schneider (Homer) – 4e. Growing and Developing Professionally Across Alaska
Tammy Smith (Fairbanks) – 3a. Math and Mondrian
Bob Williams (Palmer) – 1b. Student Perception Survey