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Chair observation for Amanda Addison

Substantial Review 2014-15

It was a pleasure to observe your Geometry class 3rd period on Thursday, February

26, 2015. Your class consisted of eight girls and six boys seated two or three each of six
large tables, with every student facing the front of the room. You greeted students cordially
and asked them to solve a complex figure you had prearranged on the Smartboard, with
many students getting to work even before the second bell rang.
By the end of that opening activity, it was already clear to me that you had carefully
cultivated a positive and supportive learning environment for your students. Your students
worked quietly, as per your direction, for the first two minutes and, when you then asked
them to compare solutions with their tablemates, productive conversation and polite
disagreements spilled forth as if from a breached dam. I heard students rich discussions,
exchanges of approaches and techniques, and gentle challenges to each others logic.
Wonderful! Throughout the lesson, your class of quite social 9th graders reveled in the
frequent opportunities for discussion afforded by your lesson, such as the Sage & Scribe
protocol you used in the last third of the lesson, and yet they quieted down and focused just
as productively when you called for their sustained attention. All of this indicates your
students broad respect for you as well as your burgeoning mastery of your craft as a
Your lesson focused on arcs, diameters, and chords in circles, and you expertly
guided your students through a discussion of the many theorems covered in the lesson.
Your explanations were connected to students previous study and grounded in everyday
examples. I appreciated how you referred to the logic of indirect proofs, proof techniques
from congruent triangles, and approaches for solving systems of equations in your
presentation of otherwise unrelated skills and concepts. This kind of reinforcement is
exactly what our standard-level students need. Rather than slow it down and decrease
rigor for a standard-level course, you patiently and steadfastly set a high bar and expect
your students to meet it. And they do. In all, my observation of your lesson clearly showed
your mastery of content knowledge and high level of instructional effectiveness. Along all
three criteria of effective teaching specified by Newark Academys teacher evaluation
system, I would rate you as highly effective.

Department Chair observation for Amanda Addison

Substantial Review 2014-15
In our debrief meeting, we discussed my observations of your teaching and also
exchanged ideas about the particular areas for growth that you had marked out as being
your priorities. I hope that, in time, you will find it helpful to incorporate the non-verbal
classroom management techniques we discussed into your already successful management
approach. In response to your own professional development goal to reflect on how you
use questioning in your teaching, we also discussed fine-grained considerations when using
various types of and approaches to questioning to support student learning. I enjoyed
learning from your perspective and appreciated your drive to improve, always.
Since this letter will form a part of your substantial review, I would like to make
note of your valuable contributions to the department which occur outside of the
classroom. You are wonderfully collegial, often initiating informal conversations about
practice that inevitably end up with each teacher present contributing a new idea and,
often, taking away a useful new idea. Amanda, you are also one of our leading lights when
it comes to student-centered lesson planning. You often seek out or just invent new
activities that provide an essential element of variety to your lessons, and then share them
enthusiastically with other department members. On a daily basis, you role model what it
means to be a life-long learner as teacher for all of us, and the value of this cannot be

Submitted respectfully,

Derek Kanarek
Chair, Mathematics Department