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Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

08.12.13Call and Response: Adding a bit more muscle to a humble and useful tool

c and rIf you use Call and Response in your classroom to keep students engaged, here are some tiny tools to ratchet things up a bit: a stretch and a reverse:

Let’s say you’re a third grade science teacher doing a lesson on states of matter. You want your kids to remember key concepts such as “a solid always keeps its shape” so you do some Call and Response to help students remember those key points. It might sound like this:

“A solid always keeps its… [ Students via C&R: Shape!]” 

Sometimes a teacher might even do that two or three times to help students remember.  But what if you stretched it out a little and each time asked students to add a little more to their Call and Response, as in:

A solid always keeps its… [Students via C&R: “Shape!]” 

Good, scholars, A solid always… [Students via C&R: “Keeps its shape!”]

Good. Can you give me the whole thing, scholars? A [Students via C&R: “Solid always keeps its shape!”]

Then, if you wanted you could add a quick reverse.

So which state of matter keeps its shape, scholars? [Students via C&R: “A solid!”]

Of course you’ll want to use other methods to ensure mastery. Call and Response is a pretty simple and humble tool—great for building energy and engagement and useful in reinforcing key points in a fast and energetic way.  And also clearly needing other tools to follow up and build knowledge.  Even so you can still add tweaks like this to make it stronger at its simple and humble work.