February 21, 2014

Instructional Strategy: Window Pane Notes

Linking up with my girl, Joanne, today to share how my awesome, creative administration motivates our staff in the same ways we want to motivate our students:

At our staff meeting last week, we were briefed on the logistics for this year's ISAT (Illinois Standardized Achievement Test), which starts in a week from today... Yikes!! Even though this is the last year our state will be taking this test, there were some changes we needed to discuss as well as some important reminders.

Our AP who presented the material did a great job with his lesson plan. He had our school football jerseys waiting at our assigned tables (which were adorned with helmet centerpieces) along with our play books (testing manuals) and other logistical paperwork. He showed us a motivational video and came dressed as the nephew of Vince Lombardi.

(It's important to add here that our AP is originally from Wisconsin so it was completely intentional that he referenced our nemesis Green Bay Packers here as he would never miss an opportunity to remind us (the rest of the staff) of his disdain for our beloved Chicago Bears.)

As he presented his ppt (meaning we had like 45 seconds per slide), "Mr. Lombardi" asked us to take notes using a Window Pain worksheet (this was a new concept for me, but I was told that it's another Kagan strategy). For each slide of his presentation, we were to draw something to help us remember the content.

Here's a copy of my notes from the meeting:

He then had us stand up, hand up, pair up to review our notes (at two different times) with a neighbor to make sure we were on the same page. He also asked us to rate our understanding using our fingers as a quick "status of the class."

I love that my administrations practices what they preach. Too often, I've sat in staff meetings bored to death and hardly paying attention. This was not possible today. I love that his lesson was interactive, provided a clear take-away, and included many opportunities for assessment... just as is expected of us.

I will definitely be using Window Pane Notes with my students in the future! I think it's a great way to keep students actively listening during a lecture or even a movie, and the picture notes are great for reluctant writers because they're less pressure.


  1. What a great motivator Erin! I love that your AP tried to make something that's usually so boring, interactive and he put effort into it! Kagan structures are great! I'll have to show our testing coordinator your post! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I love these notes - so much easier for Special Needs kids! Plus I love how your AP didn't just tell you what to do - he showed you. That is my biggest desire for any professional development - show me. Thanks for your post!!

  3. This is such an interesting way of taking notes! I love the idea! ISAT = Ew, Gross. That's my positive attitude about it anyways ;)
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  4. OH.....I love this idea! I bet my kids would dig this when we are reviewing stuff for our state test. It's getting down to the grind for us!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  5. I LOVE this ENTIRE activity he did with y'all!!!

    Can't wait to try the window pane notes, but especially the pairing up strategy. Both of these can be used for lots of things which makes them all the more better. LOL!