Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

02.18.22Lots of Participation; Lots of Thinking: Highlights from Jen Brimming’s Vocabulary Lesson

We’re excited to share this fantastic video of Jen Brimming’s English lesson at Marine Academy Plymouth.  Jen and her colleagues have been working hard to make their classrooms more energetic and dynamic across the school and have been focusing on adding Turn and Talk and Call and Response into their common methods of participation to support Everybody Writes and Cold Call but also up the energy level.

At the same time they’re been working on being really clear about Means of Participation- signalling to students how they should answer each question.

Finally, Jen’s been working on using active practice to make vocabulary instruction more productive. Basically that means: 1) start with the definition 2) ask students to play with the word and apply it in different settings and context to build deep word knowledge 3) have a bit of fun with words.

You can see all of that in this great clip:

We loved the way she balanced quick writing prompts (Everybody Writes) with Turn & Talks to build students’ confidence and extend their thinking before they were called on to speak aloud.

We loved how crisp, engaging and energetic Jen’s cues for each form of participation were. As a result the room crackles to life.

We loved how this helped Jen achieve not only universal participation but high quality thinking about worthy questions.

We loved how well students thought about and understood the word “reprehensible,” applying it to examples from several of the books they’d read.

All in all it’s great stuff… so great that we convinced Jen to chat about the work they’ve been doing at Marine Academy with our own Jaimie Brillante.  We’ll share highlights from that interview in a coming blog post.  In the meantime enjoy the video and please join us in thanking Jen and her students for sharing their work!

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