Friday, September 27, 2013

Teach Like a Champion
Technique #37
What to Do

“In schools we spend a lot of time defining the behavior we want by the negative: ‘Don’t get distracted.’ ‘Stop fooling around.’ These commands are vague, inefficient, and unclear.  They force students to guess what you want them to do.”

KEY IDEA: Give directions to students in a way that provides clear and useful guidance – enough of it to allow any student who wanted to do as asked to do so easily.

Directions should be:
  • Specific – describes manageable and precisely described actions that students can take.
  • Concrete – clear, actionable tasks that students know how to do.
  • Sequential – a sequence of concrete specific actions.
  • Observable – things the teacher can plainly see students do.
Most important part of What to Do:  being able to distinguish between incompetence and defiance.

“What to Do allows you to distinguish between incompetence and defiance by making your commands specific enough that they can’t be deliberately misinterpreted and helpful enough that they explain away any gray areas.”

Version 2
When students fail to follow a direction and you know the cause is incompetence , revise the initial directions by breaking it down into even more specific steps.

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Teach Like a Champion
Technique #36
100 Percent

“The most sustainable form of compliance is one that for both students and teachers is clearly an exercise that will help students achieve, not an empty exercise in teacher power.”

KEY IDEA: There’s one acceptable percentage of students following a direction: 100 percent. Less, and your authority is subject to interpretation, situation, and motivation.

Principles of 100 Percent
  • Use the Least Invasive Form of Intervention. 
    • Nonverbal intervention. (Gestures to or eye contact with the off task student.)
    • Positive group intervention.(Quick verbal reminder to the group about what they should be doing)
    • Anonymous individual correction. (We need two people to …)
    • Private individual correction. (Seek to correct privately and quietly)
    • Lightning quick public correction. (Your goal in making an individual verbal correction should be to limit the amount of time a student is “onstage” for something negative and focus on telling the student what to do right rather than scolding about what he did wrong)
    • Consequence. (Consequences should be delivered in the least invasive, least emotional manner)
  • Rely on Firm, Calm Finesse
  • Emphasize Compliance You Can See.
o   Invent ways to maximize visibility. Find ways to make it easier to see who’s followed directions by asking students to do things you can see.)
o   Be seen looking. (Every few minutes, scan the room with a calm smile on your face to ensure that everything is as it should be.)
o   Avoid marginal compliance. ( It’s not just whether your students do what you’ve asked but whether they do it right.)
o   Leverage the power of unacknowledged behavioral opportunities.

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

Friday, September 13, 2013

Teach Like a Champion
Technique #35

“Making sure that (Props) happens, inspires, and is reliably on-message is one of the most productive things you can do in your classroom..”

KEY IDEA: Public praise for students who demonstrate excellence or exemplify virtues.

Prop Criteria:
  • Quick. You should be able to cue a prop in one second.
  • Visceral. Props are usually better when they rely on movement and sound, especially percussive sound.
  • Universal. When you give Props, everybody joins in.
  • Enthusiastic. The tone is fun and lively.
  • Evolving. Let your students suggest and develop ideas for Props
Prop Ideas:
  • “The Hitter”. Teacher: “Let’s give Clarice a Hitter.” Your students pretend to toss a ball and swing a bat at it.  They shield their eyes as if to glimpse its distant flight.  They shield their eyes as if to glimpse its distant flight. Then they mimic crowd noise suitable for a home run for some fraction of a full second.
  • “The Lawnmower”. Teacher: “Let’s five Jason a Lawnmower.” Students reach down to pull the chord to start the mower and yank upward twice.  They make engine sounds, grip the imaginary handles, and smile for some fraction of a full second before the Prop ends.
  • “The Roller-Coaster”. Teacher: “Oh, man, that answer deserves a Roller-coaster.” Your students put their open hands in front of them pointing upward at forty-five degrees, palms down.  They “chug, chug, chug” (three times only) with their hands mimicking a roller coaster slugging its way up the last steep hill.  Then they shout Woo, woo, woo” three times as their hands mimic a coaster speeding over three steep hills after the big drop.
  • “Two hands”. Teacher: “Jimmie, lead us in a No Hands.” Jimmie calls out, “Two hands!” Your students snap twice with both hands while chanting, “Ay, ay!” Jimmie calls out, “One hand!” Your kids snap twice with one hand while chanting “Ay, ay!” Jimmie calls out, “No hands!” Your kids do a funky impromptu dance for exactly one second.
  • “Hot Pepper”. Teacher: “An answer like that deserves a Hot Pepper.” Your kids hold up an imaginary hot pepper, dangling it above their mouths.  They take a bite and make sizzle sounds “tssssss” for exactly one second.
  • “Two Snaps, Two Stomps.” Teacher: “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
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Teach Like a Champion
Technique #34
Seat Signals

“Managing requests for bathroom and the like – justified or not, approved or not – can become a distraction from teaching.”

KEY IDEA: A set of signals for common needs that require or allow students to get out of their seats.

Seat Signal Criteria:
  • Students must be able to signal their request from their seats.
  • Students must be able to signal the requests nonverbally.
  • The signals should be specific and unambiguous but subtle enough to prevent them from becoming a distraction.
  • You should be able to manage both their requests and your response without interrupting instruction (with a nod yes, or no, for example, or five fingers for “in five minutes”)
  • You should be explicit and consistent about the signals you expect students to use, posting them on the wall so students can see them and disciplining yourself to require them by responding only when they are used.
Suggested signals:
  • “Can I use the bathroom, please?  Hand up; two fingers crossed.
  • “I need a new pencil”  Hold pencil up, wait for exchange
  • “I need to sharpen my pencil” hands together in fists, one rotating like a crank gesture
  • “I need a tissue”  *Left hand pinching nose
  • “I need to get out of my seat” One finger held up rotated in a circular motion.
*Personal note:  A child who has a runny nose is NOT going to want to pinch their full nose.  I suggested coming up with another hand gesture.
From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)