Technique #1: No Opt Out
Student unable or unwilling to answer, circles back to that student to repeat correct answer.
Technique #2: Right is Right
Don’t accept partially right answers. Be willing to wait and prod a student to a more complete answer.
Technique #3: Stretch It
Challenge a student who gives a correct response to respond to a tougher or related question too.
Technique #4: Format Matters
Mechanics matter. Correct/redirect every chance you get. First, identify the error. Answers should be in complete sentences, not fragments.
Technique #5: Without Apology
Don’t apologize about an assignment. Don’t say, “I know this might seem boring,” etc. Or “I know this might just be extra information, but…” In short: There is no such thing as boring content.
Technique #6: Begin with the End
Begin planning with the objective–what you hope students will be able to do or know.
Technique #7: 4 M’s
Objectives should be 1. Manageable (can fit into one lesson); 2. Measurable (success can be measured/assessed; 3. Made first (start with the objective); 4. Most important (objective should focus on what’s most important to help student move forward toward more advanced skills/knowledge)
Technique #8: Post It
Post objective on front board or similar. Students deserve to know where you’re leading them.
Technique #9: Shortest Path
“All other things being equal, the simplest explanation or strategy is best.” (Occam’s Razor) Also, Einstein’s “Make it as simple as you can but no simpler.”
Technique #10: Double Plan
The teacher probably knows what she’ll be doing from moment to moment in class, but what about her students? What will they be doing? Plan it out.
Technique # 11: Draw the Map
Put thought into how best to set up the learning space for each given lesson.
Technique #12: The Hook
A short introductory moment that captures what’s interesting and engaging about the material and puts that out there.
Technique #13: Name the Steps
Break down skills into procedural steps. Not every student will intuitively understand and get it fast. Give students steps for them to follow so they’ll work toward mastery. (Put in the dirt time!)
Technique #14: Board = Paper
Model how notes should be taken by writing your exact notes on the board and requiring students to write exactly what they see. Me: Do this for a few lessons or weeks, or whatever. Use Cornell Notes.
Technique #15: Circulate
Move around the room, don’t let any objects get in your way–back packs, desks, chairs, etc. Own the space!
Technique #16: Break It Down
Use it at the moment an incorrect answer is given. As soon as you see student’s answer is unclear, confused, wrong, break concept down into smaller bits. Itty bitty questions (true/false, etc.)
Technique #17: Ratio
Proportion of the cognitive work students do to the amount done by instructor. E.g. You’re at board and rather than just talk-and-chalk, you ask students to provide answers as you go along.
Technique #18: Check for Understanding
gather and respond to data. In other words, check students’ understanding and review/adjust as necessary. Assessment–spur of the moment techniques, online, etc.
Technique #19: At Bats
Amount of practice. Think: 10,000 hours rule. Get students to repeat necessary action or cognitive process again and again and again. Eventually, it becomes second nature.
Technique #20: Exit Ticket
Short end-of-lesson assessment activity–e.g. final at bat. Three imp factors: 1. They’re quick. 2. They’re focused and simple; 3. They are fodder for great Do Now’s. You can start the next day’s lesson with a review of how students did on previous day’s Exit Ticket. E.g. for MJB: Students took pop quiz on essay structure. Next day I started by handing back quizzes. We then reviewed it.
Technique #21: Take a Stand
Get student(s) to offer his or her or their opinions on a matter. Could be as simple as “If you think Tony’s answer is right, click your fingers twice.” (Or raise your hand if you don’t agree with Tony’s response.**I like that** Or similar techniques.
Technique #22: Cold Call
Call on students even when they haven’t raised their hands.
Technique #23: Call and Response
You ask a question and whole class responds with an answer. Can be way to ferret out alternative thoughts. 1. Repeat: students repeat what teacher says; 2. Report: Students who have completed task, etc, asked to report back. “On three, tell me your answer to question #8”; 3. Review: Ask students to call out response to review questions (so, how many ways are there to fix this sentence problem?) etc.
Technique #24: Pepper
Picture half circle of baseball players doing pepper drill. Teacher uses questions. Things move quickly. I could also use a ball with grammar questions or vocab words, etc.
Technique #25: Wait Time
Wait a few strategic seconds after you ask a question. Give students time to think. Mjb: Also give individual student chance to think. Don’t leave too quickly.
Technique #26: Everybody Writes
Joan Didion: “I write to know what I think.” Occasionally have students respond to a question (especially a challenging/deep one) by a short burst of reflective/exploratory writing before discussion. (Can you say “blogs”!?)
Technique #27: Vegas
Short, sweet, exciting, upbeat, touching–every lesson can use an occasional moment of magic. But it isn’t all show; it’s there to reinforce the topic, not overshadow it. When it’s done, it’s done.
Technique #28: Entry Routine
Routine could be something like when they enter, they check to see they have notebook and pen, vocab book, and they’ve checked board for any Do Now’s.
Technique #29: Do Now
Task already awaiting students when they enter classroom. Younger students need strong structure–a Do Now, or similar. Older students need variety, but start semester with several weeks of more structured starts. Maybe this: More often than not, have something for students to do right from the start. MJB e.g. Add 5 vocab words.
Technique #30: Tight Transitions
Have quick and routine transitions from one activity/task/topic to the next that students can exercise without much narration from instructor.
Technique #31: Binder Control
Model organization by having your own materials, books, etc., organized and stored in class. Walk the walk.
Technique #32: SLANT
Sit Up / Listen / Ask questions / Nod / Track the speaker
Technique #33: On Your Mark
A coach doesn’t start practice by asking players to lace up their shoes; players come with shoes on and laced. Students should have what they need for class.
Technique #34: Seat Signals
Develop a set of signals for common needs (such as “I need to go to the bathroom”)
Technique #35: Props
Shout-outs / kudos. Short! E.g. Click fingers for Imani. Or, Clap loudly for Stacy. (Then, like a conductor, I signal for a stop. Could be funny.)
Technique #36: 100 Percent
Only one acceptable percentage for students participating/following a direction: 100%. (Also, same percentage for students listening to you or someone else.) Less, and your authority is openly challenged. Students will rarely admit it, but they need you to be in charge. (“Student Whisperer.”)
Technique #37: What to Do
Some students simply don’t quite understand what you’re asking of them. Give clear, precise instructions (or questions). Don’t start with telling students what NOT to do, start with telling them what TO do.
Technique #38: Strong Voice
Tangible and intangible command of audience/space. 5 attributes: 1. Economy of Language; 2. Do not talk over; 3. Do not engage; 4. Square up/Stand still; and 5. Quiet (calm, slow) Power.
Technique #39: Do It Again
When students fail at a task, walk them through it again and give them more practice.
Technique #40: Sweat the Details
Create the perception of order. Clean, orderly room. Posters straight; don’t leave old info on board. MJB: Erase it before class begins, even if you’re not going to use the front board! (from book: Compares to “broken window theory of policing.”)
Technique #41: Threshold
The moment to set the tone for the class and lesson and learning is as soon as the students pass through the door. Let them know that classroom norms begin even before class “officially” begins.
Technique #42: No Warnings
Warnings tell students that a certain amount of distraction/dysfunction is acceptable. Instead: Take action, rather than get emotional. Act early, act consistently, act proportionally.
Technique #43: Positive Framing
People are motivated far more by the positive than the negative. (Parenting!) Also, I would add: People are motivated far more by succeeding than by failing. Give students a chance to taste success.
Technique #44: Precise Praise
By all means, praise. (Some experts assert that praise should be three times more common as correction or criticism. BUT be precise: Differentiate between acknowledgment and praise; praise must be genuine (students smell out false praise)
Technique #45: Warm/Strict
“You must be both: caring, funny, warm, concerned, and nurturing–and also strict, by the book, relentless, and sometimes inflexible.
Technique #46: The J-Factor
“Joy Factor”–Students learn better when hard work is punctuated by moments of enjoyment. (MJB: My idea for “Work Hard, Enjoy Learning”) Fun and games; Us (and them)–it’s okay to make students feel they are part of an exclusive group; drama, song, dance, similar; humor; suspense and surprise.
Technique #47: Emotional Constancy
With your emotions: 1. Modulate them. Expect student moods to fluctuate, etc. Don’t let them see you lose emotional control; 2. Tie emotions to student achievement, not to the student.
Technique #48: Explain Everything
Great teachers make sure students know why students are studying X, why they are expected to do Y, how Z will help them succeed now and later. Etc.
Technique #49: Normalize Error
Error followed by instruction and correction is the fundamental process of schooling. You get it wrong, and then you get it right. Teachers should respond to both sides of this as if both are completely normal and natural. Wrong answers: Don’t chasten, don’t excuse.