Here's how I do it...........
In September I observe all non-tenured teachers. I do this in case I need to work with a newer teacher on planning, classroom management, instruction, parent communication, etc. This is the "dog and pony show" observation. They set the stage and just invite me in. If the lesson doesn't go well, there is a student problem, the teacher doesn't like how things are going, we reschedule. If the next lesson goes well, I trash the first one.
Note: Two other principals in my district do ALL teachers first semester. We have to do non-tenured twice a year but tenured is up to us. I do tenured EVERY year because they need that formal documentation and I need to be to say I have formally observed them.
Lesson learned: I am going to do 1/2 tenured 1st semester next year so I don't have EVERYONE 2nd semester.
2nd Round: In January I want to complete all tenured observations and February all non-tenured. These are drop-in observations but I have told them I am starting. I want to get them done quick because I don't want them to worry about it for weeks. When I leave the classroom I leave a "reflection" form for them to fill out regarding the lesson I just watched.
Post obs conferences: I put a letter in all teachers mailboxes. It takes me a few days to type up the formal "form" I have to use. I do however give them a copy of my notes. These are rough draft, random notes I write while I am in the classroom. They know exactly what I am thinking and questions I have right after the lesson. I emailed a disclaimer the these are RANDOM thoughts and I will go over it with them. If they have freak-out personalities I try to meet with them quickly because I think they are going to read too much into my notes.:)
I want them to lead the post obs conference. I am going to go over the lesson and my observations but I want them to "toot their own horns" so to speak.
Tools I use: For the actual observation I use GoObserve software on my palm. I copy and paste the district form after the GoObserve report. If they are due for a Summative I copy and paste the summative chart, for formative, I copy and paste the formative chart.
Lessons Learned: I change my phrases in my GoObserve software every year. Some I find are irrelevant and some I have to add due to new initiatives our district is implementing. I also updated my "reflection" form this year. 4 years with old one was getting kind of tired and I really want my teachers to reflect.
How do you do it?