How to maximize one-on-one visits to teachers' classrooms?
Carol Thornton (my Co-PI) noticed this problem and came up with the following practice that our project implemented this year: We plan so that the professional developer (coach) arrives at the classroom while the teacher is already past the introduction and examples, so that the coach can talk to the students in groups alongside the teacher. We find that asking them to be into the middle of a "hands-on lesson" rather than introducing it when we arrive for a classroom visit helps us move directly to interacting with the children about their own mathematical thinking (rather than waiting for 10 minutes while we all watch the teacher talk at the front of the room). This helps them understand what we care about in their instruction too: they see we value their discussions with students and their efforts to get the students talking or writing about mathematics themselves.
Jeffrey E Barrett,