Teacher Evaluation Tools for Principals

Teacher observations are an important piece of being a principal.  A principal is considered the Instructional Leader of the campus.  Therefore, being in the classroom just seems to be a given.  However, classroom observations take a lot of time.  Walk-throughs are easy.  However, formal observations take some organizational skills.  Here are some tips and resources I have developed to help me get it all done.
 Last week I attended a 3 day training to be certified in the new Texas evaluation tool.  Currently, Texas uses PDAS- Professional Development and Appraisal System.  However, in the next school year all public schools in Texas will use T-TESS.  T-TESS stands for Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System.  The training is required by all administrators.  Here is a look at all the "stuff" from the training.

Well, if you know me, you know I have to find a better way to organize all of that "STUFF."   So I thought and thought how I will manage the very long rubric.  After creating a flipbook for my accommodations, I thought this was the perfect plan for T-TESS. So that is how the T-TESS Flipbook was born.

I will still be using my Classroom Observation Notepad.  It has general walk-through items on it that are still doable even for T-TESS.  I will use the back of each form for my scripting.  If you had the training, you know what is involved with scripting.  My hand still hurts from all the writing.  At times, I thought I should invest in a court-reporting-machine.  Seriously!

My Classroom Observation Notepad can be purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers.
It can also be purchased on Etsy.
Why I love my notepad?
1.  It is a notepad and can easily be taken to classrooms.
2.  It has lists, bullets, and general "look-for items."  
3.  It is not state specific.  It can be used in public or private schools. 

Here is the Bliss Design notepad.  It is colorful.  It is my best seller. 
Here is a look at my more universal designed notepad.  It is gender neutral so if you don't like bright colors or flowers this design is called Journey.  Yes, I name my notepad designs.  Just one more way I stay organized with the ordering. 

How do you schedule your walk-throughs and formal observations?  Do you use a digital system or the traditional calendar system?  I was keeping track of observations with a paper calendar.  I have since moved into the tech world and use my Outlook Calendar to keep track of my appointments.  However, I do still keep a log of my classroom visits.  This reminds me how many times I visited a classroom.  It also gives me a starting point for the week.


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Principal Binders, Teacher Binders and Post it Tabs

 I have several things I just can't live without.  One thing I just have to have is a binder.  I have many binders.  Maybe one day I will take the leap over to all things digital.  Maybe not.  Here's a look at some principal binders that you might like.

 Shop my binders HERE
I also love teacher binders! Binders are just perfect for organizing all the important lesson plans, data reports, schedules and so much more.

Here is a look at my teacher binders and the tubs for back-to-school.
 New Design for 2016-17 This design is perfect for males or anyone not wanting something so girly.
 Shop My Teacher Binders HERE

I love Post-it Notes.  I love all things Post-it! However, I'm too OCD to write on my Post-it Tabs.  I want them to look amazing with cute fonts.  I came up with a trick to help me send my Post-it Tabs through the printer.  AMAZING!

The other day I posted on Instagram my organizational binder.  I had tons of request regarding the tabs.  It was my plan to share right away but I was all out of tabs.  So off to the store I went today!

Want to learn how to write on your tabs using your printer?  Here are the directions.


Want an organized binder?  Check out my store on TpT

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Project Based Learning- A Service Learning Project

Are you familiar with Project Based Learning?  Let me share a little bit about what it is and how this new project was created.  I have always wanted to take some time to create a hands-on, critical thinking project that also involves giving back to the community.  I was talking to an instructional coach last week and this topic came up.  It was like a gentle mental reminder that I needed to move this up on my to-do list.  If you are like me, when something gets in your head it just doesn't go away until you just do it.  I thought about this project for hours.  I even dreamed about it. 

What is project based learning?  

Project based learning creates opportunities for students to work on real-life situations.  It allows the students to think critically, problem solve and collaborate with a group.  When I think of project based learning, it reminds me of our roles in our careers.  We work together on a project and produce an end product.  Project based classrooms are student-centered and less teacher-centered.  The teacher is the facilitator.  Students learn by doing.  I just love this! 

In Create Your Own School Carnival, students will learn how to prepare a school event for the community to enjoy.  The twist on this PBL is that the money profited will go to charity.  This is a community service project that will benefit any charitable organization of their choice.
I know we are all stretched for time in our classroom.  State accountability is a big pressure.  In order to achieve high standards on state testing, we tend to push things like this aside.  In a world of no state testing, I could see an entire academic year filled with project based learning classrooms. However, there is a possibility of how we can implement PBL and still meet state standards.

1.  Start Small- Have 1 class/teacher begin a Project Based Learning.  In this packet, the students will have a great end of year carnival (or any time of the year).  If you choose for the students to just plan the event but not have the carnival, that is also a possibility.  However, the entire school and community could enjoy the end project.
2.  Pick the time of year- If you're worried about accountability and how to fit this in to your already hectic schedule, you pick the time of year to begin the project.    
3.  Put it in your daily schedule- Some schools are including Genius Hour or PBL time in the daily schedule.  Students get an hour to research, investigate and collaborate with their peers on topics that are of high interest.

WHY Implement PBL?
Project based learning is not only real life but it is meaningful to the students and it is academically aligned.  We all know by personal experience that when something has more meaning we are more invested in it.  When we are invested, we learn more.  It's a win-win.

Here is a list of all the great activities:

• Carnival Team at a glance (two pages)
• Brainstorm planning page (details of the event)
• Carnival activities
• Donation list
• Event and Supply list
• Talent show planning guide
• Rental planning guide
• Communication and Announcements
• Carnival checklist
• Supply List (expenses)
• Rental list
• Ticket Prices (Three pages)
• Carnival layout grid
• volunteer information
• volunteer planner
• create a newspaper article
• Advertising using social media
• Conduct a school survey
• Analyze school survey
• Our business plan at a glance
• Our business plan- Big Idea
• Our business plan- Marketing
• Our business plan- Finances
• Charity Planning tool
• Design your own carnival tickets
• Design your ticket booth
• Create a new game

 Download a copy of this Project Based Learning Packet here!

 Question for my readers?  Does your school have Project Based Learning?  Tell me about it.


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We Are Stronger Together

They're called "survival bracelets" or also known as paracord bracelets.  For those who frequently wear them, such as, hikers, mountain climbers, and military members, the bracelet represents a lifeline.  The bracelet is an easy way to carry a long length of rope just in case you're in an emergency situation.

The History of  Paracord
The term paracord comes from the cord used on the soldier's parachutes in WWII.  The term 550 simply means that it has a breaking strength of 550 pounds, giving it the name of 550 paracord or 550 cord.  When soldiers landed in the battle fields, they would cut the cord off their parachutes and pack it up for later use.  The cord would come in handy for the soldiers during battle.  

The bracelet can be a great gift for school members.  Let me explain.


The bracelet is a constant reminder of our survival of the school year and the bond we all share. It signifies the power of our united strength.  I love this quote- "I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me."  We are stronger together than we are apart.


As educators, we should love what we do. After all, we're making an impact on the next future leaders. The length of the rope signifies our love for our students and our love for what we do.
We are not in this business for the income. We are in the business for the outcome. It's our passion and our calling. We are PASSIONATE.

The bracelet signifies that things will not always go the way we wanted it to. Our lessons will fail. Our schedules will be adjusted. Our entire day can crumble before us. We are always in a constant state of change. That's okay. We are UNSHAKABLE. We are COURAGEOUS.


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