Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

09.28.16A Guide to the Teach Like a Champion 2.0 Field Guide, Part 1: Case Studies

new-fg-20In the weeks since Jen, Joaquin, and I finished wrapping up the Teach Like a Champion Field Guide 2.0, we’ve been gradually recovering from our self-imposed exile amidst pizza boxes and coffee cups in the conference room at TLaCTowers. On more than one occasion, we locked ourselves in this room so that we could devote total focus to the project and meet what felt like an impossible deadline. Needless to say, we got the job done and if we didn’t always enjoyed every minute, we’re grateful to be done and to produce what we think is a really useful book for teachers (and to have lived to tell about it)!

One question readers might ask themselves is: How is this Field Guide different from the book Teach Like a Champion 2.0? Whereas TLAC 2.0 provides in-depth descriptions and analysis of the techniques, the Field Guide (now in its 2.0 edition to match the changes and improvements in Teach Like a Champion 2.0) is a practical workbook that’s designed to help you apply and adapt the techniques. It comes loaded with resources, including brand new classroom videos, planning templates, and teacher materials (including handouts).  Plus there are activities to help you develop your skills.

One of our favorite examples of the sorts of activities in the book is the ‘case study.’  There are several in the book and they provide a transcript of actual classroom situations–what the teacher said, how she phrased it, how the kids reacted.  The idea is that in seeing such concrete language derived from the real lives of teachers readers will benefit from studying and marking up the transcript–what were some great moves they could borrow or adapt? Was there a common pitfall that a slight change in approach could have avoided? The case studies, in other words, are designed to illustrate useful moves as well as minor stumbles similar to those teachers may encounter when trying to execute techniques. By giving you a chance to evaluate another teacher’s decisions, we hope you’ll walk away with ideas for how you can apply the techniques and improve upon them.

As part of a series of posts we’re going to share here that will help you experience the look and feel of the new Field Guide, we’d like to show you a case study.  This one comes from our chapter on Show Me (Technique 5), and to give you a full sense of the book we’ve included our overview of the technique as well as a case study activity. We hope you find it useful and share your feedback on it.


Excerpt #1: Technique 5: Show Me


In a typical class, a teacher will spend some portion of her instructional time hunting and gathering the data she needs to better understand what her students know about what she is teaching. Show Me accelerates this by asking students to actively present their answers—often as data—to the teacher, usually in unison. This can yield a more complete—and possibly more accurate—snapshot of student understanding. In providing that snapshot quickly and efficiently, Show Me allows you to start using the data right away. We will discuss tow primary forms of Show Me: hand signals and slates.


Excerpt #2: Technique 39: Show Call


Holding students accountable for the quality of their written work is one of the most important ways we can help prepare them to succeed. It can also be one of the most challenging, especially if it means having to pore over and comment on every page of student writing. One technique teachers can use to overcome this challenge is Show Call, a type of Cold Call that involves displaying students’ written work (often via a document camera)—and then studying it together with the class. Some benefits of this method:

  • It gives students incentive to do their best work.
  • It therefore lets you assign lots of high-ratio in-class writing, knowing it will be done well.
  • It teaches students how to study, revise, update, or otherwise improve their work.
  • It spotlights outstanding written work, showing what success looks like and how other students can replicate it.

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