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Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

12.11.17 On Increasing ‘Positive Variance’ in Teaching and Curriculum

In their new book The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath describe a principle some high performing organizations use to grow successfully: “Reduce negative variance and increase positive variance.”  This idea is relevant in at least two aspects of running and improving schools. First, one of the strongest ways a school can make a difference…


09.27.17 Eric Snider Installs His Turn and Talk Routine

I’m not really sure where to start in talking about the clip I’m going to share in this post. It’s pretty amazing. It’s of Eric Snider, who teachers English at Achievement First Bushwick Middle School and who is a TLAC Fellow. It’s important because it shows how Eric installs a routine in his classroom. One of…


06.23.17 Three Lessons from Alex Timoll’s Cold Call

One of our most useful clips of the Cold Call technique is this short-but-super clip of Alex Timoll at Excellence Boys Charter School in Bed Stuy Brooklyn.  There are a ton of things you could take away from it, and from Alex’s teaching generally, but there are three especially useful lessons i think that every teacher…


06.19.17 Unpacking How Will Beller Unpacks All Quiet on the Western Front

We spent some of last week watching footage of teachers from Partnership for Inner City Education– a group of Catholic schools in NYC whose mission is to develop outstanding schools that serve low-income students. We love their work generally- what’s not to love about insightful, mission-driven people making every school a little better every day- so we…