Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

10.15.20Heather Pirolli Models an Online Show Call.

Show Call involves posting an example of a common student error…

Show Call is one of our favorite classroom techniques on Team TLAC. It involves choosing a student’s work and projecting it to the class, whereupon it gets studied–lovingly but with rigor–especially if it includes a common error that everyone can learn from.

It’s a technique that translates well into an online setting, so I thought I’d share a really nice example. It comes from Heather Pirolli’s 5th grade ‘classroom’ at Uncommon’s Ocean Hill Collegiate.

Heather starts by projecting the common error to her students, making it clear that many of them struggled with the issue-if that included you, there’s no reason to worry or feel singled out. Her tone–warm, engaging and supportive–reinforces this. And she does a nice job of pointing out that much of the work is correct.

Then she asks students to type their analysis of the mistake into the Colab board. Crucially, everyone answers the critical question, what’s wrong here?, and Heather gets to see all the answers.

Heather does a great job of shining a light on an exemplary answer by one student, reading it to the class and celebrating it. (Great work, Jy!)

But she also notices that many students’ answers are vague or incorrect. So she continues checking for understanding by giving them a new example to try to answer: “Write in the value of the 6 in the tenth’s place….”

Here again, everyone does the work and she can see and evaluate their thinking. She chooses to Show Call again, sharing Catherine’s work, this time as an example of what correct work should look like.

The sequence ends with Belle’s perfect summary of what Catherine got right.

It’s a double Show Call and an example of exemplary Checking for Understanding that puts student work at the center of the classroom.

Side note: Heather uses Nearpod and Collaboration Board here but there’s no reason you couldn’t accomplish the same thing with simple screen share and chat.

Thanks to Heather and her kiddos for their great work!

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