Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #3
Stretch It


“Asking frequent, targeted, rigorous questions of students as they demonstrate mastery is a powerful and much simpler tool for differentiating.”


KEY IDEA:  The sequence of learning does not end with a right answer; reward right answers with follow-up questions that extend knowledge and test for reliability.  This technique is especially important for differentiating instruction.


The sequence of learning does not end with a right answer; reward right answers with follow-up questions that extend knowledge and test for reliability.  This technique is especially important for differentiating instruction.  This helps the teacher check the students understanding and for those that already have mastery can be pushed ahead applying their knowledge.

Ways to stretch it:

  • Ask how or why  (how did you get that)
  • Ask for another way to answer or get the solution.
  • Ask for a better word.
  • Ask for evidence.  You don’t have to agree with them, just ask for proof.
  • Ask students to integrate a related skill.
  • Ask students to apply the same skill in a new setting.




From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Teach Like a Champion
Technique #2
Right is Right

“In holding out for right, you set the expectation that the questions you ask and their answers truly matter.”

KEY IDEA:  Set and defend a high standard of correctness (100%) in your classroom.  There is a strong likelihood that students will stop striving when they hear the word right (or yes or some other proxy).

Don’t affirm a student’s answer and repeat it, adding some detail of their own to make it fully correct even though the students didn’t provide and may not even recognize the differentiating factor.  In holding out for right, you set the expectation that the questions you ask and their answers truly matter.

Four categories with the Right is Right technique:
  1. Hold out for all the way.  Praise students for their effort but never confuse effort with mastery.
  • I like what you’ve done.  Can you get us the rest of the way?
  • We’re almost there.  Can you find the last piece?
  • I like most of that …
  • Can you develop that further?
  • Okay, but, there is a bit more to it than that.
  • Kim just knocked a base hit.  Who can bring her home?
  • Another effective response is to repeat the student’s words back to him or her, placing emphasis on incomplete parts if necessary.  A peninsula is water indenting into land?

  1. Answer the question 
Students need to answer the question you asked, not the one she wished you asked or what she confused it for.  (We will talk about that in a few minutes, but right now I want to know about the …..)  If you ask for definition and get an example, try saying, that’s an example and I want a definition.

  1. Right answer, right time.
Sometimes students try to show you how smart they are by getting ahead of your questions, but it is risky to accept answers out of sequence.  My question wasn’t about the solution to the problem.  It was about what we do next.  What do we do next?  Protect the integrity of your lesson by not jumping ahead to engage an exciting “right” answer at the wrong time.

  1. Use technical vocabulary.
Good teachers develop effective right answers using terms they are already comfortable with.  Great teachers get them to use precise technical vocabulary.

From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010

Monday, April 2, 2012


In our crazy busy lives as educators often times we put our professional needs last and the needs of our students first.  What we need to consider is that maybe, with putting our professional development needs first we are indeed putting our students first.

There is a much spoken about book entitled, Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.  Several staff members have expressed a desire to read the book but simply do not have the time.

I am here to help.  This blog will dedicate from now until the end of the school to feature and summarize each of the 49 Teach Like a Champion Techniques. 

If the summaries aren’t enough and you want to dive deeper, there is a copy of the book in the professional library for checkout.

Let’s begin!

Quick Intro:
The author, Doug Lemov, believes that great teaching is an art and that great art relies on the mastery and application of foundational skills, learned individually through diligent study (p. 1).  In his own teaching career he found that concrete, specific, actionable advice benefitted him most (p. 3)  Throughout his career as a teacher, trainer, consultant, and administrator he observed many champion teachers.  Lemov began to make a list of what these champion teachers did.  The 49 Teach Like a Champion techniques are his field notes and observation of the work of the master teachers (p. 2-3) given names to create a common vocabulary.

Technique #1
No Opt Out
(it’s not okay not to try)

“Reluctant students quickly come to recognize that “I don’t know” is the Rosetta stone of work avoidance.”

KEY IDEA: A sequence that begins with a student unable to answer a question should end with the student answering that question as often as possible.

Four forms:
Format 1:  You provide the answer: the students repeat the answer.
Format 2:  Another student provides the answer; the initial student repeats the answer. (A variation is to have the whole class answer.)
Format 3:  You provide a cue; your student uses it to find the answer.
Format 4:  Another student provides a cue (a hint that offers additional useful information to the student in a way that pushes him or her to follow the correct thinking process); the initial student uses it to find the answer.

Three useful cues are:
  1. The place where the answer can be found.
  1. The step in the process that’s required at the moment.
  1. Another name for the term that’s a problem.

Students in the classroom should come to expect that when they say they can’t answer or when they answer incorrectly, there is a strong likelihood that they will conclude their interaction by demonstrating their responsibility and ability to identify the right answer.


From Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemove (Jossey Bass, 2010)