Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #18
Checks For Understanding
“We” Technique

“The technique could more accurately be described as Check for Understanding and Doing Something About it Right Away. . . 2 aspects of Check for Understanding: gathering and responding to data”

KEY IDEA:  Used to determine when and whether students are ready for more responsibility and when they need material presented again. 

Gathering Data
Questioning is data gathering.  Checks for Understanding requires you to think of the answers to your questions as data.
  • Data sets.  Think about the percentage correct.
  • Statistical sampling.  Ask questions across the spectrum.  Low, middle and high achieving students.
  • Reliability.  Stop questioning when your students get it right several times in a row, not once.  Have students stretch out their answers to make sure it wasn’t a lucky guess.
  • Validity.  Make sure the answer to the question is at the same rigor as what the test will be.
Types of Questions.  Don’t use just yes or no questions and rely less on self report-thumbs up if you agree.

Observation.   Instead of circulating to see how close to finished students are or whether they are working, you would specifically look for the number and type of errors they are making. Standardize a format where information is in the same place for students.  It will be quicker to identify class mastery. 

Responding to Data. 
All the data you collect won’t help if it does not result in action and done quickly.
  • Reteach using a different approach.
  • Reteach by identifying and reteaching the problem step.
  • Reteach by identifying and explaining difficult terms.
  • Reteach at a slower pace.
  • Reteach using a different order.
  • Reteach identifying students of concern.  Teacher works with a small group at a table or at recess or ….
  • Reteach using more repetitions.
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Monday, December 3, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #17
Ratio
“We” Technique

“You never know exactly how big the gap is between the student’s level of knowledge and the knowledge necessary for mastery.”

KEY IDEA:  The goal of “we” is to push more and more of the cognitive work out to students. Feigned ignorance – “Did I get that right guys?” “Wait a minute, I can’t remember what’s next!” – and unbundling – breaking one question up into several – can be especially useful. 

10 effective methods for upping your ratio:

  1. Unbundle.  Break questions in to smaller parts to share the work out to students.
  2. Half-statement.  Rather than speaking in complete ideas, express half of an idea and ask a student to finish it. 
  3. What’s next?  The fastest way to double the number of questions is to ask about process as often as product.
  4. Feign ignorance.  Can I just add the numerators?
  5. Repeated examples.
  6. Rephrase or add on.  Ask students to do this.
  7. Whys and hows.  This forces more than 1 word answers and students do the cognitive work.
  8. Supporting evidence.  Ask students to constantly explain how the evidence supports them.
  9. Batch process.  Strategically step out of the way at times and not comment on and validate every student comment and instead allow a short series of student comments to be made directly following, and ideally in response to, one another.
  10. Discussion objectives.  Have a clear objective in mind for any open-ended discussion and use hits to steer students back on task and, especially, head off distractions and unproductive topics.
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Teach Like a Champion
Technique #16
Break It Down
“We” Technique

“You never know exactly how big the gap is between the student’s level of knowledge and the knowledge necessary for mastery.”

KEY IDEA:  One of the best ways to present material again is to respond to a lack of clear student understanding by breaking a problematic idea down into components parts. 

  • Provide an example
  • Provide context
  • Provide a rule
  • Provide the missing (or first) step
  • Rollback (Sometimes repeating the answer back to student is enough for them to recognize their error)
  • Eliminate false choices 
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)