Three Steps to Walkthrough Checklists with @Evernote

Note: This blog entry composed 100% in Evernote and originally published  with at
“How can I quickly collect and organize my walkthroughs? I don’t want to carry another piece of paper," asked a campus administrator. “I want to go digital, just use my smartphone to collect data, not necessarily make a report about it. I use it for coaching conversations." If you are in the same boat as this campus administrator, then consider using Evernote’s Checklist feature.

Walkthroughs enable administrators to become more familiar with how their teachers approach teaching, providing coaching opportunities that can also positively inform the formal appraisal process. You could put it this way--walkthroughs are about instruction, while appraisal visits are about teacher evaluation. The former is focused on scaffolding and supporting teacher growth, while the latter is about assessing effectiveness of that growth.

Imagine digitally collecting walkthrough forms and sharing them in an Evernote Notebook that both the Campus Administrator and teacher could access. The administrator and teacher would both have access to that notebook, placing copies of walkthroughs, conferences and meetings in that digital notebook. Some sample checklists are provided in this tutorial for your use.
Before going further, go get a free Evernote account. If you are on Mac or Windows, you may want to install the Evernote program on your computer. Or, consider an Evernote Premium account.
Looking for more ways to use Evernote? Check out my 28 Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Leadership article.
How To Get Started? 
You can get started with a free Evernote account, although if you’re going to be sharing a lot of notebooks with your teachers, an Evernote Premium ($45-$50 annually) will be worth the investment. Trust me, this is something you’ll be able to use for more than just work. Once you start creating checklists for writing workshops, math workshops, and a million other topics, you’ll soon start using checklists as well for grocery lists, To-Do lists, etc. ! Evernote allows you to create checklists, and you can choose to organize some of this information in tables. Here are three steps you can take to begin using Evernote-based checklists for walkthroughs in your K-12 setting. The steps are as follows:
  1. Create Walkthrough Checklist(s)
  2. Organize Checklist(s)
  3. Share Checklist(s)
Ready to get started?

There are 3 different ways (at least!) to making forms that I’ve noticed. But don’t let the limits of my curiosity stop you from finding more. At Purely Paperless, Kate shares some ideas about how she uses Evernote to easily create checklists to organize her classroom. She writes that she uses Evernote checklists to organize herself to track student work, as well as pacing guides, etc.

1) Make your own.
You can easily make your own walkthrough forms in Evernote. You can make a walkthrough form and then duplicate it for each teacher. For example, you could create a notebook in Evernote for each teacher to be observed, then copy the walkthrough form into each notebook as you need it. You can easily duplicate the form--by copy-n-paste--for each walkthrough. While it may take a few minutes prior to each walkthrough to copy-n-paste the checklist, the convenience of having it easily accessible on your mobile device (e.g. smartphone or tablet) will more than make up for it.

Quick How-To: Evernote on Mac
In Evernote client on Mac or Windows:You can make a checklist by going using the checkbox button in the toolbar: Quick How-To: Evernote Web In Evernote Web version, you can do exactly the same thing:

Sample Walkthrough Checklists
To get you started, I asked my colleagues what walkthrough checklists they use. Here are a few that I’ve saved in myEvernoteForms Notebook which you have access to:
  1. Walkthrough Checklists
    1. Independent Reading
    2. Writers’ Workshop
    3. Instructional Observations
    4. Teacher Checklist #1
    5. Teacher Checklist #2
    6. Principal 5-minute Walkthrough
    7. HEAT Classroom Walkthroughs
  2. Organizational Checklists
    1. Meetings
    2. Phone calls
How do I get a copy of these walkthrough form samples? 
If you are using Evernote on your Mac or Windows, you can save a copy of an ENEX file (Evernote Export) and then import it into Evernote. This gives you an exact copy of the entire Notebook!
Tutorial: Here’s a quick illustrated step-by-step of the process you can follow to save the ENEX file I’ve made for you and then import it into Evernote. Want to try some more? Stephen Millard (Thought Asylum) includes some ENEX files you can also import into Evernote online at his blog.
Be aware that once you EXPORT a Notebook, you can share the file (via email or cloud storage) with another administrator. They, in turn, can IMPORT the ENEX file you send them so that they have these items in their Evernote and can begin using them.
Note: Unfortunately, if you are just using the web version of Evernote, you will NOT be able to import the ENEX file. If you do import it with your Mac or Windows Evernote client, it will be accessible via the Web, though.
Here are some resources that you may find helpful. Again, remember, making checklists is fairly easy. Resources:
2) Use KustomNote to create custom notes. 
KustomNote--which also includes an iPad app--integrates with Evernote and offers a variety of pre-made templates you can take advantage of in several categories. Kate at Purely Paperless also shares about KustomNote, citing its benefits:
  • Easily standardize note-taking for classroom documentation
  • Greatly improves the aesthetics of your Evernote Notes
  • Easy formatting makes your documentation predictable
  • Quickly route your notes to the correct notebook

Below are some of the Education category templates available:


Once you have the KustomNote template you want, you are able to modify and save it to the appropriate Evernote Notebook. You can fill it out in Evernote, as you can see here. KustomNote prevents you from getting a "Share Link" web address, I noticed. Overall, I didn’t find KustomNote as user-friendly as making my own walkthrough forms. Of course, that’s my opinion. You should give it a try and see. Resources:
3) Use one of these iPad apps to create walkthrough checklists.
Finally, you can choose to use of these iPad apps to create forms. While I was not impressed with the usability of these apps (probably because I was using the free version), you may find that they meet your needs (are you sensing my strong bias towards making your own checklists?).
As you have seen above, there are various ways to get the job done. The truth is, every walkthrough form is going to be different. Find one that you like, adapt it, and then save it.

Recommendation: Make your own Evernote-based Walkthrough Checklist.

Now that you have created the checklist you are going to use with appropriate staff on your campus, you need a way to organize it. There are lots of ways to organize, but here are two that come to mind:

1) Teacher-centric: Consider making a notebook for each teacher. For example, a teacher-centric walkthrough form could look like this:
  • 2nd Grade Teachers [This is an Evernote Notebook Stack]
    • [The following are Notebooks in the 2nd Grade Teacher stack]
      • Cortence, Cathy
      • Jenkins, Judd
      • Rigor, Mort
      • Zanak, George
You would make a copy of the walkthrough checklist (copy-n-paste) and then place it in each teacher’s notebook. You duplicate the walkthrough checklist prior to each walkthrough. 2) Walkthrough-centric: If you want to keep all your walkthroughs together-maybe you have more than one type of walkthrough, or maybe they are organized by content area-then this is what that might look like:
  • LA/Reading Checklist [This is an Evernote Notebook Stack]
    • [The following are Notebooks in this stack]
      • Cortence, Cathy
      • Jenkins, Judd
      • Rigor, Mort
      • Zanak, George
The main benefit of creating Evernote Notebooks with teachers is that you can give them VIEW rights. This will require an Evernote Premium ($50) account, but enables you and the teacher to see what is in the shared notebook. No one else will be able to see what is in that notebook. Finally, a tip for tracking completion of your walkthrough checklists:
Use the following search terms to see what checklists in a notebook remain undone:
  • If you type todo:false in the Evernote search box, this means you are looking for unchecked items in all your notes in allEvernote notebooks (or you could just open a notebook and search in that one).
  • If you type todo:true in the Evernote search box, this means you are looking for checked items.
  • If you type todo:* in the Evernote search box, this will show you all items with a checkbox.
What a time-saver! Looking for more ways to use Evernote? Check out my 28 Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Leadership article.

If you ever want to share completed checklists with others, you can take advantage of the following approaches: Option #1: Share a Notebook with one or more persons (private). This is the approach I’ve taken with individuals who I want to have access to a particular notebook. This would result in a PRIVATE sharing of the Notebook and all its content.

As an administrator with an Evernote Premium account, I could share the notebook for Cathy Cortence-one of my fictional 2nd grade teachers-and send it to her email. I would be able to determine if she could only view content, or view and modify. . .and she would be the only person aside from me who would be able to see it.


Option #2: Share an individual Note or Notebook with anyone (public).
Instead of sharing a Notebook, I could create a PUBLIC link to the note (or notebook). This would enable anyone to view the contents of the notebook or the note. You certainly wouldn’t do this with a walkthrough checklist that had been filled out for someone.

You can easily share notes or notebooks via Evernote Web or Evernote Mac/Windows…notice all the sharing options available (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, or Link). If you choose link, you can paste that anywhere (e.g. web site, GoogleDoc, Weebly) to share with others.


Option #3: Connect your Notebook to (public). You can also connect your Evernote Notebook to a blog. Every time you share add a note to that Notebook in Evernote, it will automatically update the blog connected to it. How to accomplish this is addressed in another blog entry.

Option #4: Make a copy of a note or notebook as an ENEX file someone can import into their Mac or Windows copy of Evernote (public/private depends on how you share it with others).
Note: You can only create ENEX files on Mac or Windows version of Evernote, not the Evernote Web version.
To accomplish export a notebook, right-click on the Notebook and choose export: (this is the Mac version of Evernote)

Rename the file to reflect what you want and then save it:

Creating checklists of any kind in Evernote is fun and make capturing walkthrough data easier. If you’re looking for something that will create graphs of gathered data, then consider GoogleForms. If you just need something to collect data, a digital document to gather around and have coaching conversations, then Evernote Checklists provide the perfect tool for their ease of use.

Chances are, though, you will need to invest in an Evernote Premium account ($50) to get the full benefit of sharing notebooks with teachers who may only get a free Evernote account.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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