TECHNIQUES 5 & 6: Show Me and Affirmative Checking
The final two techniques for Chapter One, Teach Like a Champion 2.0¹ are both cumulative objective data gathering practices that move passive students toward active accountability. ‘Show Me‘, a double-edged sword, collectively, requires students to show evidence of their understanding but also “…makes misunderstanding more evident,” (p.48)¹ to the teacher. Using this technique, all students are expected to respond to targeted questions, either with ‘Hand Signals’ or ‘Slates. I’ve already expounded in a previous post on how attractive the use of mini dry erase board seem; their appeal to me, now seems relevant and almost a requisite part of classroom instruction. I am not, conversely, taken with the ‘Hand Signal’ model of gathering data. This strategy, to me, has the potential to have a very disruptive, distracting effect on the classroom. Here is a quick look at the suggested use of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’, (very popular with TLAC teachers) can be used in the classroom. On the count of three, students slap their desks, 3 times and then hold up their respective answers for the teacher. https://vimeo.com/91964010
There are several video clips available to watch through the TLAC website Library Resources, www.teachlikeachampion.com that demonstrate the alternative to ‘Hand Signals’ referred to ‘Slates’. The key to using ‘Slates’, or in this day and age, mini dry erase boards, is that again, on the count of three, collectively, ALL students are expected to raise their boards and show the teacher their respective answers. Genius. Done simultaneously, with ‘Show Me‘, students are demonstrating a very visible understanding or misunderstanding of content, without the stress or stigma of presenting an answer verbally or individually. Using the mini dry erase boards offers a wide variety of opportunities of the teacher to glean quick objective data vis a vis student mastery; the two most fundamental being: No circulation necessary and, if it happens in unison, “…there’s no piggybacking and changing answers by students in response to their peers. Everyone presents his or her data point on cue, and that’s that.” (p.50)¹.
Further more, Lemov mentions the possible use of the hand-held “clicker” system, (if schools’ budgets allow for the installation of this type of technology) as another means toward implementing the ‘Show Me‘ drill. Personally, I was thrilled by Lemov’s commentary on the “clicker” trend, “I would merely offer the caveat that it can be so appealing and efficient to use that it would drive out other forms of CFU, especially forms that have a wider range of formats-most importantly, open-ended rather than multiple-choice responses.” (p. 49)¹.
Finalizing the chapter, ‘Gathering Data on Student Mastery’, I’ve come across a concept and teaching strategy that I’ve heard of yet never considering adding to my teacher toolbox: the Exit Ticket. Technique Six: ‘Affirmative Checking‘ requires that students must receive confirmation that their level of understanding is “…correct, productive, or sufficiently rigorous before moving on to the next stage.”, (p.51)¹. These check points, ideally, should happen quickly and asynchronously.
If teachers choose to ‘Standardize the Format‘, (technique 3), than circulation around the room becomes efficient and can function in tandem with ‘Affirmative Checking‘. The instructor knows where to look for the designated responds and then gives the student the green light to move forward in the lesson. Another creative approach to ‘Affirmative Checking‘ is the implementation of the Exit Ticket. For example, student solve or respond to a target question on a colored sticky note or “ticket” and can exchange or turn in the sticky note for the opportunity to move onto the next task or independent work. By not accepting incorrect or incomplete “tickets” the teacher sends an implicit message that values quality work over speed and comprehension on an individual level, yet also asynchronously affords the educator time to space out the numbers of students submitting exit tickets for approval.
In the process of reading Teach Like a Champion 2.0, I’ve been cross referencing other sources of strategies similar to those presented in the text. The Teacher Toolkit.com is proving to be a very comprehensive and complementary resource in relation to the TLAC stategies. The link provided below has a very streamlined post on using the ‘exit ticket’ in the classroom; replete with video, ‘How To’s’, templates and variations. http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/exit-ticket
Another variation of ‘Affirmative Checking‘ is student driven; meaning that, perhaps in pairs or small groups, students are responsible to determining if their partner or group has successfully mastered the content or check point question assigned by the teacher. Assigning pairs to appraise the “exit ticket”, a teacher can reduce the amount of time spent affirmative checking; this might be an alternative if time constraints are effecting a particular class period. On occasion, Lemov suggests that you might assign one student the role of “Checker”, who would circulate around the classroom to verify student responses to the check point question. Although, it would be important to assign the “Checker” assignment on a rotating schedule.
‘Teach Like a Champion 2.0‘ provides so many resources, in and of itself. It is truly a hands on text, presenting plausible theory, access to videos, case studies/observations and reflection and practice questions. Chapter one delves into gathering objective data through observation, questioning, as a means toward having a solid knowledge of levels of student mastery in the classroom.