If you’ve never heard of Doug Lemov or his impressive Teach Like A Champion book then it’s well worth checking out. Lemov codifies and explains a series of no frills teaching procedures and practices that we can use in every classroom to improve our practice. He’s one of the influences for the current craze about evidence based teaching strategies or high impact teaching strategies. Since he’s an English teacher, he often uses literacy based examples which is great for us. That’s why we often check out his blog here: http://teachlikeachampion.com/blog/.
Next term at our Reading Comprehension PD we’ll be discussing our version of one of Lemov’s procedures – Sensitivity Analysis (see Lemov’s explanation of the technique here: http://teachlikeachampion.com/blog/using-sensitivity-analysis-build-students-ear-writing/). This is a close reading process where we ask students to consider the effect of language in a short excerpt from a longer text. To scaffold them to notice the impact of particular words or phrases, we can also provide them with a rewritten version of the excerpt which deletes or simplifies key language from the original, thus making the effect of the original appear more clearly. Here’s an example:
Original: The trees stooped over the path, glaring down at Little Red Riding Hood as she walked to her grandma’s.
Re-written: The trees leant over the path, looking down at Little Red Riding Hood as she walked to her grandma’s.
When we provide students with these two versions, we can ask them to think like this:
1. What words are different in the two versions?
2. What different effect do these words have in each version?
Lemov calls it ‘Sensitivity Analysis’ because it’s scaffolding students to be more sensitive to the subtleties of language. However, we find it more straightforward to use the plain old vanilla name of ‘Rewritten example or excerpt’.