CIRCLE Classroom Observation Tools

The Children's Learning Institute offers several comprehensive classroom observation tools to assist coaches, mentors, and organizational leaders with monitoring and tracking teacher behavior in the classroom over time, and providing tools to guide improvement. These tools were developed for use in the Texas School Ready Project, guiding the positive growth of teacher behaviors for more than 10 years.

Review the CIRCLE Classroom Observation Tools below. These tools are hosted on CLI Engage for online access to the observation tools, reporting options, goal-setting system, and teacher resources to support optimal instruction. For more information about online access to the CIRCLE Classroom Observation Tools, please contact us.

CIRCLE Classroom Observation Tool (COT)

The Classroom Observation Tool captures snapshots of a teacher’s behavior and instruction during classroom observation visits that can be used to develop improvement plans and track a teacher’s progress over time. The system is well aligned with the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines and can be used by teachers, school leaders, and intervention specialists to promote effective teaching.

  • Item level indicators are highly targeted and focus on evidence-based teaching behaviors that research has shown improve child outcomes.
  • The design ensures age, linguistic, and cultural appropriateness.
  • Reporting features provide a clear, unbiased system for tracking and monitoring teacher performance and progress for improvement.
  • Video exemplars of more than 200 key instructional strategies give teachers opportunities to view examples of quality instruction.
  • Includes the Administrator-COT (A-COT), an abbreviated version of the tool that helps administrators focus their observations.

After competing the CIRCLE COT, coaches select goals and create an action plan for the teacher using the Short Term Goal Report. Through CLI Engage, coaches and instructional specialists can access the online version of the CIRCLE COT, the goal setting system, reporting features, and the online and video-based teacher resources. 

Click here to download the CIRCLE COT, CIRCLE COT Notetaking Form for classroom observation, and Short-Term Goal Report.

Learn more about the COT in our public online course! Click here to view the course.

Visit CLI Engage to access video exemplars of specific items in each of the COT domains.

CIRCLE Administrator Classroom Observation Tool (A-COT)

In addition to the comprehensive CIRCLE Classroom Observation Tool, CLI Engage provides the CIRCLE Administrator-COT (A-COT), an abbreviated version that helps administrators focus their observations on instructional practices in preschool classrooms that are linked to important child outcomes. The CIRCLE A-COT is also available online through CLI Engage.

Downloadable CIRCLE A-COT coming soon.

CIRCLE Classroom Environment Checklist (CEC)

Similar to the CIRCLE Classroom Observation Tool, the CIRCLE Classroom Environment Checklist (CEC) is a quality evaluation tool designed to track improvement over the time. The CEC’s focus is the presence and quality level of instructional planning tools (e.g. lesson plans, progress monitoring tools), meaningful literacy and print centers and materials (e.g. letter wall, availability of books), and the overall design and management of the classroom and individual centers (e.g. labeling centers, providing writing tools). The CIRCLE CEC is also available online through CLI Engage.

Click here to download the CIRCLE Classroom Environment Checklist.

Visit CLI Engage to view high-quality photographic exemplars of each CEC item.