I have mentioned before that one of the most helpful books I have ever read on teaching (and I have read quite a few now) is Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov. What I love about it is that, unlike most educational literature out there, it is not bogged down by ideology and theory. (Although of course all books are motivated by a certain perspective.) Rather, Lemov focuses on practical techniques that the best and most effective teachers use in the classroom.
I just discovered today that Lemov has his own blog, which he updates frequently with new ideas and examples of great teaching. I love the way he describes his blog:
Welcome to Field Notes. I’ve named this blog that to emphasize the idea that just about everything in my books is someone else’s brilliant idea. My idea was just to write it down. I like the role of the observer and think there’s a lot of power in it. Think about it—there isn’t a problem in teaching or learning that someone somewhere hasn’t solved. We just need to find them and take some field notes. (Lemov, Field Notes Blog)
I don’t know if I completely agree that “there isn’t a problem in teaching or learning that someone somewhere hasn’t solved”–but his practical, hopeful attitude has been really helpful to me.
Take a look here:
As I prepare for my third year of teaching, I plan on re-reading his book and choosing specific techniques to focus on. If you’re a teacher, I recommend that you do so as well.
Teacher or not, if you’d like to see some of these techniques in action, take a look at this great video of a 9th grade classroom on day one. It’s not fancy, but it gives you some food for thought about developmentally-appropriate ways to establish your classroom expectations on the first day of class.