Monday, January 28, 2013


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #23
Call and Response

“Students don’t see Call and Response as behavioral reinforcement, but it makes crisp, active, timely compliance a habit, committing it to muscle memory.”

KEY IDEA:  Use group choral response – you ask; they answer in unison – to build a culture of energetic, positive engagement.

3 primary goals:
  • Academic review and reinforcement.
  • High energy fun.
  • Behavioral reinforcement.
5 types or levels of Call and Response sequence; listed in order of intellectual rigor, least to greatest:
1.        Repeat. Students repeat what their teacher has said or complete a familiar phrase.
2.       Report.  Students who have completed problems or questions are asked to report their answers back.  (“On three, tell me your answer to problem number three”)
3.       Reinforce.  You reinforce new information or a strong answer by asking the class to repeat it.  (“Can anyone tell me what this part of the expression is called? Yes, Trayvon, that’s the exponent.  Class, what’s this part of the expression called?”)
4.       Review.  This asks students to review answers or information from earlier in the class or unit. 
5.       Solve.  This is the most challenging to do and the most rigorous.  Teacher asks students to solve a problem and call out the answer in unison.

5 Kinds of In-Cues: Plan to use a specific signal, in-cue (“Class!”, “Everybody!”, “One, Two . . .”, or a nonverbal signal.) Providing in-cues helps students know if the question is Rhetorical, about to be directed to a single child, awaiting a volunteer, or asked in anticipation of full class call and response.
  • Count based. “Ready, set . . . ,” “One, two . . . ,” “One, two, ready, you!”
  • Group prompt. “Everybody!” and “Class!”
  • Nonverbal gesture. A point, a hand dropped from shoulder height, a looping motion with the finger.
  • Shift and tone and volume.
  • Specialized. Multiple cues, each indication a different response.

Three ways to adapt and apply Call and Response.
1.        Combine it with cold call.
2.       Jazz it up by asking subgroups within the class to respond in unison to cues.  Boys or girls.  Left side or right side.  Front or back.
3.       Add a physical gesture.

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

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