What to notice when observing in a classroom
(thanks to educator Gabriel Jenkins & Claudia Merson)

Building
What do you see on the walls in the hallway? In the classroom?

Students
What are students talking about as they are passing between classes?

Students & Teacher
Was there ever a moment where the answer to a question was not obvious but the students were still engaging?
Do you like the tone of the teacher and their interaction with students?
What is evidence of child engagement? Do the students look like they care and want to try?
Is the teacher making an effort to give kids feedback on their work in the moment? (Is the teacher circulating and giving suggestions?)

Teacher
What evidence is there of the depth of teacher preparation ?
What level of questions is the teacher asking? Is it factual? Is it deeper? How does the teacher lead the students through content? Is it overly scaffolded (is there too much help for the children to arrive at the answers?) Are students given space to discover information?
Is the lesson interesting to you?

How is the lesson structured (is it all teacher-led, do the students work in groups?)
Does the school and classroom have systems for making things run efficiently (passing out papers, use of bathroom, etc)
What interactions did you see between the teacher and other staff? Are they on their own, or is there evidence of support?
What happens when there are disciplinary situations? How does the teacher handle things? Does that seem right to you?
Science - are students doing science or just reading about it?
Math - does it feel like it's pitched at an appropriate level?

Big picture
What does this make you reflect on what kind of environment you are looking for? What kind of teacher you would like to be?