EOT: the Show-Call technique

What is the source?


What's the big idea?

"TECHNIQUE 39: SHOW CALL. Create a strong incentive to complete all writing with quality and thoughtfulness, and build accountability for written work by periodically showcasing and working through student work." (TLaC website summary)

What is their background?

"Doug Lemov is a managing director of Uncommon Schools, and leads its Teach Like a Champion team, designing and implementing teacher training based on the study of high-performing teachers." (Lemov, 2015)

What are they saying?

It's nicely exemplified by these videos:
"...when you say: “Take eight minutes to reflect in writing on how Scout felt about the decision…” or “Take seven minutes to solve each of these three problems,” you want to know that students will do their best work so they get the most out of the time you allot. You need, in short, a tool to make sure that students feel positively accountable when they are doing written work independently. That tool is often Show Call… a sort of visual Cold Call.
The idea is to project (on the board usually) and reflect upon the work that one or several students, whom you’ve chosen regardless of their volunteering, completed during Independent Practice. This creates the opportunity for a rigorous conversation about real student work, the careful selection of ideal case studies for learning by the teacher, and a strong incentive for students to do their best work.
You can see that play out in Nicole’s class here."
(TLaC - Nicole Wiley's Show Call)

Another neat example including great, but rapid, rigour in follow-up questioning is from Courtney Betar, this time in an English lesson:
"Courtney’s students are marking up a text their reading with margin notes to analyze. D’Andre’s done great work so Courtney Show Calls it. Yes, it’s nice that she tells him she likes his work but her decision to have the class study it expresses this idea ten times as convincingly.
She does a great job of letting the class do the cognitive work–studying what’s effective via a Turn and Talk and then having a quick discussion where they build on one anothers’ ideas."
(TLaC Courtney Betar's Show Call)

Where can I learn more?

Show Call Notes from the Field. (TLaC fieldnotes)

What next?

What I have found:

What next:
  • Definitely worth doing more often - strive to make it habitual
  • Try it with all groups of learners, especially from the beginning of next school year
  • Adapt techniques for teaching computing and PSHE as well as mathematics
  • Need to evaluate the suitability of prompt tasks and refine them for maximum effectiveness
  • Need to video myself using this technique to evaluate and hence improve follow-up questioning.