The Ten Techniques

One of the commenters on this post on testing Doug Lemov’s techniques asked which ten techniques I made a point of using in the classroom.  This is an attempt to answer that question.  The numbers are not in order; this is deliberate… the numbers correspond with the techniques list in Lemov’s table of contents.  I would provide page numbers, except that I no longer have a paper version of the book.  Instead, I have it on the Kindle software for the iPad… the book is resident on both my iPhone and my iPad, so that I have constant access to it.


  • Technique 1: No Opt Out
  • Technique 4: Format Matters
  • Technique 6: Begin with the End
  • Technique 15: Circulate
  • Technique 19: At Bats
  • Technique 22: Cold Call
  • Technique 26: Everybody Writes
  • Technique 33: On Your Mark
  • Technique 37: What to Do
  • Technique 49: Normalize Error
  • Technique 28: Entry Routine

There are, as you can see by the list, actually eleven techniques.  But I found that the first one, Technique 1: No Opt Out, is actually not so much a technique as a requirement.  If students are allowed to opt out of an activity, it sets the tone for everything else that follows.  The moment I made it clear that a student who got the wrong answer would be made to repeat the right answer from someone else, then everything else followed from that.

I was more lackadaisical about other techniques, though I did try to use them.  It turned out to be incredibly hard to keep just ten in mind.  One of the techniques is to stand still while giving instructions, but I didn’t always do that effectively.  In any case, I hope this is a good jumping-off place for you, my readers.

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