Friday, January 18, 2013


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #22
Cold Call

“You need a system that ensures that instead of one student answering each of your questions, all of your students answer all of your questions in their minds, with you merely choosing one student to speak the answer out loud..”

KEY IDEA: In order to make engaged participation the expectation, call on students regardless of whether they have raised their hands.

Benefits to your classroom:
  • Allows you to check the understanding effectively and systematically.
  • Increases speed in both the terms of your pacing and the rate at which you can cover material. (no waiting on volunteers)
  • Allows you to distribute work more broadly around the room and signal to students not only that they are likely to be called on to participate, and therefore that they should engage in the work of the classroom, but that you want to know what they have to say.
  • Helps you distribute work around the room more authoritatively.

Three varieties:
1.        Follow-on to a previous question.  Ask a simple question and then ask the students a short series of further questions (two to four) in which her opinions are further developed or understanding further tested.
2.       Follow-on to another student’s comment.  This reinforces the importance of listening to peers as well as teacher.
3.       Follow-on to a student’s own earlier comment.  This signals that once the student has spoken, she’s not done.  Sue, you said earlier that …..

Variations:
Hands Up/Hands Down.
·         Hands Up allows you to continue encouraging and rewarding students who ask to participate.    Move between students with hands up and those with hands down.
·         Hands Down makes your cold calling more explicit, predictable and transparent (“I’m cold calling now.”
Timing the Name.
·         When the student name is said varies.  Most effective is to ask the question first, pause and then call out a student name.
·         Sometime you may want to help prepare someone with processing delays by precall.  Tell the student that he or she can be expected to be called on later in the lesson.  This could be done privately. 

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


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