Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

07.18.13Super Simple and Super Useful: Michael Rubino Shows Radar and Be Seen Looking (video)

radar 3Check out this instantly useful video of North Star 6th grade math teacher Michael Rubino demonstrating some new aspects of the 100% technique we’re working on this summer:

  • Radar–the art of seeing what’s happening in your classroom.
  • Be Seen Looking–the art of tacitly reminding students that you notice and care whether they do as expected.

What Michael does so well is pretty subtle, so watch carefully.  Each time, after he asks a question, you’ll see him scan the room systematically to make sure kids are tracking the student he called on.  That’s Radar.  He’s disciplined himself to look intentionally and thoroughly for follow through on one of his core expectations and he does it every time.

You might also notice that he cranes his head just a bit sometimes- a bit of very light pantomime to make it obvious to any kids looking at him that he is looking for compliance.  This is Be Seen Looking… showing that it matters to you whether students follow through by very subtly reminding them that you look for it and notice.

There’s almost a routine here: every time he asks his kids to TRACK a classmate who’s answering, he scans the room to see who’s done it. And he emphasizes his looking with subtle non-verbal cues to make it more visible but without interrupting instruction in any way.  Subtle, tacit, very powerful. And because it’s a routine he can focus his mind on the math and the answers he gets.

Notice also that he finds students who need reminders even though his classroom culture is really good–and he gives them easy, simple and non-invasive non-verbal corrections to get them on task at no cost to instructional time and before they get distracted.   “Catch it early” as we like to put it. Result: Kids are attentive and engaged and they nail his mental math problems. 

Go Michael and thanks for the lesson!

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2 Responses to “Super Simple and Super Useful: Michael Rubino Shows Radar and Be Seen Looking (video)”

  1. Keith Miller
    July 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    It seems like such a small change, but it’s a habit that reminds students that every direction is important, and that you will hold them accountable for that.

    I’ve always thought of radar as a skill that only comes with experience, but habits like this will improve my radar rapidly.

    Thanks Doug!

    • Doug_Lemov
      July 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      thanks, keith. great reminder that so much of what we think of as only coming accidentally thru years of experience can probably be learned with intentionality and desire. hope it proves useful!

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