Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #8
Post It

“Visitors give you feedback and feedback is more useful when the person giving it knows what you’re trying to do – if they address not just whether your teaching was ‘good’ in some abstract sense, but whether it appeared to be getting you to your goal.”


KEY IDEA:  Post your objective in a visible location in your room-the same location every day- so everyone who walks into the room, your students as well as peers and administrators, can identify your purpose for teaching that day in as plain English as possible.



From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #7
4 Ms

“Begin with the objective so instead of thinking what will my students do today, think what will my students understand today?”


KEY IDEA:  A great lesson objective (and therefore a great lesson) should be manageable, measurable, made first, and most important on the path to college.


Effective objectives should be:

  • Manageable: Should be of a size and scope that can be taught in a single lesson.

  • Measureable.  Success in achieving it can be measured, ideally by the end of the class.


  • Made first.  An effective objective should be designed to guide the activity.

  • Most Important.  It should focus on what’s most important on the path to college.  It describes the next step straight up the mountain.


From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #6
Begin With The End

“Why are you teaching the material you are teaching? What’s the outcome you desire? How does this outcome relate to what you’ll teach tomorrow and to what your students need to have learned to be ready for the fourth or eighth or tenth grad?”

KEY IDEA:  When planning, progress from unit planning to lesson planning.  Begin with the objective so instead of thinking what will my students do today, think what will my students understand today? 

The unit process:

  1. Refining and perfecting the objective based on the degree to which the objective the day before was mastered

  1. Planning a short daily assessment that will effectively determine whether the objective was mastered

  1. Planning the activity, or, more precisely, a sequence of activities, that lead to mastery of the objective

  1. In short-  Objective, assessment, activity


Summary of Begin with the End:

1.         Progressing from unit planning to lesson planning
2.       Using a well-framed objective to define the goal of each lesson
3.       Determining how you’ll assess your effectiveness in reaching our goal
4.       Deciding on your activity


From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #5
Without Apology

“A belief that content is boring is a self fulfilling prophecy. . . our job is to find a way to make what we teach engaging.”

KEY IDEA:  There is no such thing as boring content.  In the hands of a great teacher who can find the way in, the material students need to master to succeed and grow is exciting, interesting,and inspiring, even if as teachers we sometimes doubt that we can make it so.

2 ways we are at risk for apologizing for what we teach:
  • Assuming something will be boring. 
“Guys, I know this is kind of dull.  Let’s just try to get through it.”
“I know you may not find this very interesting.”

  • Blaming it.  Don’t put the appearance of content in the class on an outside entity.
“This material is on the test (or in the standards) so we have to learn it . . .”
“They say we have to read this so . . .”

Alternatives to apologies:
  • Making it “accessible”.  Assuming something is too hard or technical for students is a dangerous trap.  Sticking with kids, telling them you are sticking with them, and constantly delivering the message, “But I know you can,” raises a student’s self-perception.
o       “This material is great because it’s really challenging!”
o       “Lots of people don’t understand this until they get to college, but you’ll know it now. Cool.”
o       “This can really help you succeed by . . .”
o       “This gets more and more exciting as you come to understand it better.”
o       “We’re going to have some fun as we do it.”
o       “A lot of people are afraid of this stuff, so after you’ve mastered it, you’ll know more than most adults.”
o       “There’s a great story behind this!”
o       “This is one of the things you’re going to take real pride inknowing.”
o       “When you’re in college, you can show off how much you know about . . .”
o       “Don’t be rattled by this. There are a few fancy words, but once you know them, you’ll have this down.”
o       This is really tricky.  But I haven’t seen much you couldn’t do if you put your minds to it.”
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #4
Format Matters

“The complete sentence is the battering ram that knocks down the door to college.”

KEY IDEA:  It’s not just what students say that matters but how they communicate it. To succeed, students must take their edge and express it in the language of opportunity.

Basic format expectations:
  • Grammatical format. ( Correct slang, syntax, usage, and grammar in the classroom even if you believe the divergence from standard is acceptable, even normal, in some settings, or even if it falls within a student’s dialect.  Identify the error ( We was walking… allow student to self-correct.) or  begin the correction… We were . . . 
  • Complete sentence format.     Provide the first words of a complete sentence, and remind them to use complete sentence before they start. 
  • Audible format.   In class discussions, if it matters enough to say it in class, then it matters that everyone can hear it.  Insist that peers make themselves audible.  Say voice instead of, “We can’t hear you in the back of the room, would you speak up please?”  Speaking up is an expectation, not a favor.

From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)