Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

01.09.15Show Call: Notes from the Field

Today’s been a banner day- we’ve spent it with 50 or so teachers from across Uncommon Schools, talking about how to make writing more rigorous in the classroom and to help ensure that it supports broad and strong literacy skills.  One of our topics was Show Call, but since Uncommon teachers are already experienced Show Call users, we asked them to share their best practices.  Here’s a list of some of the insights they offered for getting the most out of Show Call.

Show Call Notes from the Field

•       Have the kids lead the Show Call analysis themselves by playing teacher and asking prompts like “what did I do well?” and “What can I do better?”

•       Pull high and medium level student work. Show Call the high one first so students have a frame of reference when talking about what their classmate can improve on

•       Throw in an Everybody Writes where students are asked to write an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their classmate’s writing to keep students engaged.

•       For illegible writers, tell them in advance. “Please write legibly. I want to be able to share your work with the class.” This can be said to an individual or the group.

•       With my principal we collected all the Do Nows after class. Then we laid them out, one to a desk, in my classroom and I practiced circulating to choose good papers for the show call and then narrating the Show Call. It was amazing!

•       Photocopy student examples into the packet for that day. It also makes Show Call accessible in low tech settings

•     Prompt kids to hold pencils up in the air to make sure everyone stops writing before you facilitate Show Call analysis of student work

•     Ask student from front row to read the student work aloud to preempt pitfall of a student from middle/back of class from not being able to read the work well from where they’re sitting. (efficiency tip)

•    Have a student manage the (wireless) doc cam (from their desk) so that teacher can walk around and monitor the degree of revision from others


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