Practice It

Nov 3, 2014 | by Janice Smith

It was two years ago that I first read Perfect Practice: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi.  I next picked up The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born It’s Grown, and quickly became fascinated with thinking about how a practice-based approach could change the way we were coaching our teachers.  At the time I was the Director of Curriculum & Instruction at a stand-alone charter school and every Thursday night met with our newest ‘Rookie’ teachers.

Literally the day I finished the book I immediately scrapped how I had been running our rookie meetings, and immediately adopted a practice-based approach. We would read about a technique before the meeting (usually one of the 49 from Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion), begin by watching a couple clips of teachers doing it well, and we’d then spend the bulk of the meeting actually practicing the technique.  Sometimes it was full-out role plays, but often it was targeted practice where we would stop often, model the technique and then try it again.  All of this is both an introduction to this week’s Video of the Week as well as a book recommendation.  If you haven’t read it yet, go buy it now.  Teachers, coaches, school leaders… everyone.  It not only changed my view of Rookie Meetings, but also pushed me to think about my own growth and how I could get better faster.

This week’s video clip comes from KIPP Gaston College Prep in rural North Carolina.  It came from the end of last school year when I was able to capture one of their Friday Professional Development sessions.  Getting geared up for recruitment season, this is the introduction to the bulk of the PD, where they would actually be practicing door-to-door recruiting, helping them to spread the word about the school and specifically target those students who need them most.

There are about 31 reasons we love this video.  We hope you agree.

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