(This is the ninth of a series of posts on Teach Like A Champion by Doug Lemov, which I am reading and reflecting on for a class for my masters at Cornerstone University)
In chapter 8, Lemov provides advice on improving the pacing of the class. He begins by clarifying the definition: pacing is not the speed at which you teach, but refers to the illusion of speed created as and whenever necessary to engage to your students. The following techniques can help improve your pacing:
Timing activities will improve the pacing of your activities.
- Change The Pace. Use a variety of activities to accomplish your objective, specifically changing the format of the work. Every ten minutes or so should be a different activity. Try especially to alternate between active and passive activities.
- Brighten Lines: As much as possible, make your activities have clear beginning and ending points. A time limit, such as “Take three minutes to…” helps.
- All Hands: involve as many students as possible and shift rapidly between participants. Cold Call and Pepper help allow this.
- Every Minute Matters: Reward students for their hard work with high-energy review of all they’ve learned or with a challenge problem. Pepper, or other quiz games can help utilize the last two or three minutes of class that are normally wasted.
- Look Forward: Put an agenda up, and/or foreshadow upcoming activities in class. Try calling one activity on the agenda “Mystery Activity”.
- Work The Clock: using a stopwatch for timed activities, and a countdown when giving directions to follow establishes the culture that every second matters, as well as brightening the lines of your activities and directives.