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Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

05.15.19 How Does Pacing Work? Ask Ben Esser!

Next year we’re re-working our Engaging Academics workshop to spend more time on the techniques teachers use to manage their Pacing–to make a lesson feel fresh,exciting and new even while it lingers on a key topic for a sustained period of time–to make learning substantive and rigorous but to also ensure sustained attention from students. This…


01.07.19 Things To Do When You Don’t Get Many Hands

In the annals of being a teacher, hoping to see 20 eager hands raised when you’ve asked a question but seeing only two or three instead is among the most common challenges. Since this blog is a judgment free zone I just want to say it’s ok. We have all, every single one of us, been…


01.04.19 Building Mental Engagement Among Athletes Through Questioning

Coaches love to ask questions to help their athletes understand the decisions they must make during performance. This is especially true in group invasion games like soccer (football), rugby, basketball and hockey–games that require an especially high degree of coordination and shared decision-making. One potential problem with asking questions of athletes is making sure that the…


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…