Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

04.12.17Clip of the Week: Courtney Betar’s Show Call

Betar2Show Call is one of my favorite teaching techniques.  It’s essentially a visible Cold Call.  You assign a written task and then, when it’s done, choose an example or two and project to the class.

I love how it puts student work at the center of the classroom, making it visible and tangible so everyone can study it in detail.

I love how it both holds students accountable for doing their best work when completing written tasks in the classroom but also gives a positive incentive- it allows great written work to be honored and valued publicly.

I also love how flexible it is- it can be a great tool for studying common errors or for unlocking the power of exemplars- “let’s look at the work some of your peers are producing.”

You can see all of those benefits in this wonderful clip from Courtney Betar’s classroom at Rochester Prep (Brooks Campus) in Rochester, NY.

Courtney Betar Show Call from TLAC Blog on Vimeo.

Courtney’s students are marking up a text their reading with margin notes to analyze.  D’Andre’s done great work so Courtney Show Calls it. Yes, it’s nice that she tells him she likes his work but her decision to have the class study it expresses this idea ten times as convincingly.

She does a great job of letting the class do the cognitive work–studying what’s effective via a Turn and Talk and then having a quick discussion where they build on one anothers’ ideas.

As the clip closes, she asks her students to make sure they’ve applied what they’ve learned from D’Andre’s exemplary work to their own paper.

Rock-solid, Courtney. Thanks for sharing your teaching with us!

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4 Responses to “Clip of the Week: Courtney Betar’s Show Call”

  1. Tim
    April 12, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    What does Courtney leave on D’Andre’s desk as she picks up the work?

  2. Rebekah
    April 13, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Hi Tim,

    I work at the same school a Courtney, so I can shed some light onto what she leaves on De’Andre’s desk. She places a “Scholar Dollar” on his desk. Students can earn dollars for especially collegiate or exemplar work or behavior. Essentially, it is a reward for working hard and taking a risk.

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