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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Strategy of the Week: Teach Like a Champion - SLANT

I own Teach Like a Champion (both the original book and the field guide). The book is filled with strategies for high expectations (academic and behavioral), structuring and delivering lessons, engaging students, creating a strong classroom culture, and building character and trust. I use many of the strategies naturally, but there are others I always say I will go back and add that I haven't. Well, I pushing myself to get to it. If I post it, I have to hold myself accountable...right?

This week, I am going to put Technique #32: SLANT into affect to help create a strong classroom climate. I have used this technique before, but I never seem to stick with it long term. It has been on my to-do list since school started in August, especially since it is also an AVID strategy, and I am an AVID classroom. 

SLANT is an acronym with different possibilities:

  1. Sit up  OR Sit up straight
  2. Lean forward  OR Listen
  3. Ask Questions  OR Ask and answer
  4. Nod yes or no OR  No talking
  5. Track the speaker OR Talk with teachers or Take Notes
Based on the classroom issues I need to address, I am choosing the following:

  • Sit up straight. - I don't know what is up with my students this year. Certainly not them. I have an incredibly slouchy group, and I am spending far too much time telling them to sit up straight. Straighter. No even straighter. Oh my gosh, straighter than that!
  • Listen. - I am always going to have kids who zone out. I am hoping by posting this near some particular students, I can simply point to it rather than distracting myself with a verbal redirection. 
  • Ask and Answer. 
  • No talking. - I have a very verbal classroom. I like conversation. Some of my students, however, are under the impression that every time I pause to breathe, that is permission for them to speak. 
  • Take Notes. - This is the first year I have students who will not copy down notes without being told numerous times. They will pay attention, follow along with the lesson, participate... Then there is a disconnect when we get to the note-taking. 
Teach Like a Champion encourages the teacher to reinforce or correct these behaviors nonverbally. This is definitely going to take some practice. I say most of this in class on a regular basis. I am hoping that a visual reminder helps curb some of the negative behaviors I have seen lately. 


  1. I enjoy your blog and I am encouraging my fellow RELA teachers to read/follow it as well. You are a wealth of knowledge and in these Common Core-trying times (take that as you will...) I find your blog VERY helpful. Thank you!

  2. I'm glad it is helpful - especially since I am not Common Core. Texas does it's own thing. There are a lot of similarities, though. At least from what I have seen.

    I appreciate the positive feedback and the sharing. I'll keep posting.

  3. Simply saying "SLANT" causes the students to look three years more mature. I tell them that when they look engaged, people take them more seriously. I say the L is for Look, Lean, and Listen. It is respectful and focusing to look at the person who is speaking.