It has been quite an eventful week at school with a new classroom pet, starting our personal narratives, and a typhoon with winds strong enough to almost close our school.
I think one of the most exciting things for me was receiving a book that I ordered on amazon.com today!! I love getting new books, plus I know that this book will help me transform my teaching for the better. It’s called Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov. I heard of him from this article: Building a Better Teacher, in the NY Times a while ago. It’s a really fascinating and interesting article you should definitely check out if you haven’t already. I love that this book gives really concrete practical tips that you can utilize immediately into your classroom.
I’m hoping to incorporate a lot of these techniques into my teaching. Here are a few that stick out for me right now:
Technique#1: No Opt Out
“One consistency among champion teachers is their vigilance in maintaining the expectation that it’s not okay not to try. Everybody learns in a high-performing classroom, and expectations are high even for students who don’t yet have high expectations for themselves. So a method of eliminating the possibility of opting out-muttering, “I don’t know,” in response to a quest or perhaps merely shrugging impassively in expectation that the teacher will soon leave you alone- quickly becomes a key component of the classroom culture.
Key Idea: No Opt Out- A sequence that begins with a student unable to answer a question should end with the student answering that question as often as possible. “
For example, you ask John a question and he says the wrong answer. Then you ask another student or the whole class, and then you ask John again the same question. This is just one possible format.
Technique#30: Tight Transitions
“Having quick and routine transitions that students can execute without extensive narration by the teacher-that is, Tight Transitions- is a critical piece of any highly effective classroom …
If you were able to cut a minute apiece from ten transitions a day and sustained that improvement for two hundred school days, you would have created almost thirty-five hours of instructional time over the school year. Practically speaking you would have added a week to your school year.”
Even though my students have been orderly and well behaved during transitions from the rug area to their seats, I know they could do it quicker. I like the idea in the book of making it kind of like a contest to see how fast they can do it and using a timer to time them.
“Effective systems and routines can also make your classroom more productive by harnessing public praise. Props- also called “shout-outs” and “ups” – are public praise for students who demonstrate excellence or exemplify virtues. Everyone responds to praise, to a crowd cheering for them and rooting them on. Making sure that it happens, inspires, and is reliably on-message is one of the most productive things you can do in your classroom. …
The key is investing the time at the outset to teach students to give props the right way: crisply, quickly, and enthusiastically.
Example: “Two Snaps, Two Stomps.” You say: “Two snaps, two stomps for Jimmie P.!” or a variation on the sounds. Your kids deliver two snaps and two thundering stomps that end perfectly on cue. ”
I’m thinking of having the students help me come up with some fun props. I think maybe “Olleh” might be a fun one. Or we can keep it simple with two snaps, two stomps.
I haven’t had time to read through all 49 techniques yet, but I’m excited to read them all. Has anyone else read this book? 🙂