Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More Turns, More Time, More Practice

Doug Lemov, TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION49 Techniques that put Students on the Road to College

“Students need more turns, more time, and more practice.” I heard this quote early on in my career and it hasn't left me. I want to give the credit to either Jo Robinson or Dr. Anita Archer. Their message left educators with a sense of urgency and understanding that our students need to be more engaged in their own learning.

More than ten years later, Doug Lemov’s book Teach Like A Champion continues the conversation with more explicit techniques on what exactly student engagement looks like. Bottom line, no more hands. We just don’t have time to call on one student at a time anymore. Quite often the ones that are traditionally called on are already confident in their thinking and ability to share with others. In today’s classroom, we need to support and find those hidden gems and get them talking.

Personally, I like a busy classroom, where students are writing, listening, speaking, and my personal favorite, thinking. When I walk into a quiet classroom, my hope is they are writing as a reflection of their learning, listening to gain understanding, or just having think time. They can then turn to their designated partner and begin a conversation rich in language and vocabulary.

In his book, Lemov supports teaching and learning so teachers can unlock student’s talent and skills in the classroom. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Technique 1: NO OPT OUT---When calling on a student and they don’t have an answer, it ends with the student answering that question. Students can no longer hide.

Technique 8: POST IT—The learning target should be visible to both teacher and students and it is referred to before, during, and after instruction. (Think SIOP.)

Technique 20: EXIT TICKET—A quick check for understanding provides you with the data needed to guide your instruction.  (Did they get it or not, let’s see.)

Technique 26: EVERYBODY WRITES—An opportunity to reflect in writing their own thinking. (Writing as a reflection of their thinking.)

The classroom environment created by Lemov becomes a place where more students are allowed more turns, more time, and more practice. More importantly, they are much more engaged in their own learning. Their pathway to college becomes a mindset rather than an obstacle.

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