49 Techniques

10 Teachers

43 Days of summer


Make the 2013-2014 school year your best ever! Be on the same page and share a teaching vocabulary with  other dynamic Avon teachers.

You have already signed up! You’re already on board! You want to do this!

Now what to do?

Read the book – one or two techniques per day will give you a little to mull over each day OR, because you are so into what you’re learning, plow through the book; it’s up to you.

Share what inspires you, makes you reflect on your teaching practice, or confirms what you know on our blog. What happened to Twitter? We’re English teachers! We need more than 140 characters to say what’s on our minds

 Ready to begin? Great! Look to the left of this page, under Recent Posts, and click on Techniques 1-5.

~Happy Blogging!



14 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hi guys,

    I know many of you lucky people are on vacation. Today I sat next to the pool and read, imagining a more exotic locale. Either way, I thought I’d get started.

    I like the idea that good teaching can be broken down into specific techniques. I want to try the No Opt Out technique because I think certain kids definitely do not push themselves to think at all. They would much rather copy or play dumb. (I can think of a few names at this moment). Hopefully, this technique would help the kid feel like he has to be accountable or build his confidence if that is the case. I wonder though whether or not you would have the few stubborn ones who would just continue in the same way, and sadly, as we are not elementary teachers, we cannot restrict their recess (darn it!). What do you guys think?

    • Thanks for getting us started!

      I kept No Opt Out in mind all year and it works – most of the time. The book will talk about No Raised Hands, too, and that helps with No Opt Out. Everyone knows that I can call on anyone in the class anytime. And I tried different things if a kid said, “I don’t know.” The best thing that worked is this reply, “It’s okay not to know. Tell me what you’re thinking and let’s see where that takes us.” I would also ask a student, “Could we talk this through together because I bet you do know.” That turned out to be fun on several occasions.

  2. Hi everyone! I just got back from vacation and haven’t gotten started on the book yet. I plan on really getting into it soon. It sounds like there are already some great ideas going around! Catherine–I remember when I observed you that you let kids “phone a friend” sometimes when they were really stumped. I liked this idea and will use it from the start of school this year. 🙂

  3. I wrote some deep, thoughtful reflection yesterday, and then there was an error, and my comment did not post. Needed a little recovery time before I tried again, so here goes!

    • This happened to me too!! One interesting tip I learned from the intro was to decide the standards and then plan the lesson. I have always done it the other way around. Start with what we are reading and plan and then figure out the standards covered. Maybe this is because we didn’t have standards when I started teaching. I plan to start with standards this year. It is worth a try.

  4. No Opt Out: I really like the way this technique improves greatly upon what I try to do. I come back to kids during the discussion, but a lot of times, they still respond “I don’t know.” I feel like I will have to practice it a bit before it feels natural but totally agree that the repetition is key. Not sure which format I would use but I kind of like having another student provide a cue. That involves more students in the conversation.

  5. Sorry, Dawn!! After you recover, please share your insights; we’re eager to hear from you. My first five chapters, after this 3rd reading, are covered with multicolor highlights and notes.

  6. Right Is Right: I have been so guilty of not doing this. I am one of those teachers, especially in grade-level classes, who tries to be encouraging so students will stay engaged and keep participating. I am so glad Lemov provides talking stems to demonstrate how to avoid saying something is right or great when it is not – “You’re almost there,” “I like what you’ve done so far,” “You’re closing on the right answer.” This might be the technique out of the first five that makes the biggest improvement in my questioning and discussions.

  7. Stretch It: I think I do this, though inconsistently, mainly in honors classes. I can see more clearly how it can push students to do more, think more, etc., in any class. And I LOVE the idea that Stretch It is built-in differentiation. The better I know my students, the more I can tailor my questions to ask more of them. Pushing them to use more academic language in their answers was one I had not thought of automatically.

  8. Dawn, it is going to be great to work through these techniques with you and our awesome group next year. I love that we will have a common vocabulary for these techniques we’re studying.

  9. I have a link on the left sided menu under recent posts called Techniques 1-5. I will try to organize this blog by breaking down the techniques as the book does, by concept. Let’s use those links to post about the specific techniques so this homepage doesn’t end up too long.

    • Shoot – I started to do that before, but then I didn’t see any posts, so I thought I was in the wrong spot … I will post my last one there!

  10. Format Matters: I loved the section on this technique because every year, I talk with my students early on about whether there is such a thing as “correct” English and why there are grammar rules. But I also specify that in class, we will speak and write in standard academic English, while we might use something very different with friends and family or online. This really rounds out that talk in way that I can see now is missing. I will point out to them that mastery of standard English is mastery of the language of work, scholarship and business, and it they key to success and power. I love pointing out to them how I talk at family gatherings with my cousins versus how I talk in class. It helps them to see that we are not these oddballs who speak academia 24/7.

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