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Ed595U Techniques to Check for Understanding:  A Model and Simulation Approach to Assess Learning

Sandra Weaver

Course Description: This course details the value of preparation to teach a lesson. It is not writing a lesson plan.  It is what happens after the plan is written.   This course also reviews multiple techniques teachers can use in order to check that students are on the right track. Checking for understanding is a key formative assessment strategy. Participants will not only read about the techniques but be able to see the techniques being used in a variety of classrooms.

Course Objectives:

  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of the principles of how we learn.
  • Students will understand that understanding human cognitive structure means building memory.
  • Students will understand what we attend to is what we learn about.
  • Students will understand that preparation is more than writing a lesson plan.
  • Students will be able to write and use knowledge organizers.
  • Students will expand their teaching repertoire to include multiple ways to check for understanding. 


Required text-

Lemov, Doug. Teach Like a Champion 3.0. San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Base. 2021. (available on Amazon)



Stembridge, Adeyemi. Culturally Responsive Education in the Classroom. New York. Routledge. 2020.



All referenced video clips are available at


Module One – Mental Models

Read Teach Like a Champion 3.0 pp. 1-35

ASSIGNMENT 1: Describe how the 5 Guiding Principles of How Learning Works outlined in the reading can impact your teaching.  Detail at least 2-3 ideas you can incorporate into your classroom and how you will do so.


Module Two - Lesson Preparation

Read pp. 37-40

Watch Video:  Christine Torres: Keystone Clip 005

Review Torres Lesson Prep Packet (located above the video box for Chapter 2)

Read pp. 41-45

Technique 1: Exemplar Planning

Read pp. 45-48

ASSIGNMENT 2:  Using one of your lessons, create an exemplar answer to be used with the lesson.  In your submission, include the grade level/subject/ content and the question along with your exemplar example.


Technique 2:  Plan for Error

“What will they get wrong?’  “What will they misunderstand?”

Read pp. 49-53

ASSIGNMENT 3:  Planning for errors means predicting errors and planning how you will respond, intentionally thinking through (and writing down) what students will misunderstand about key questions in the lesson and then planning potential corrective actions should these misunderstands occur.  Choice 2 different lessons you have taught (or will be teaching), in each one write down several key questions/concepts that students may misunderstand and your potential corrective action.  Submit:  the grade level/subject/ content and the key questions they may misunderstand along with your corrective action for each.


Technique 3:  Delivery Moves

Read pp. 53-58

ASSIGNMENT 4: Reread Rigor Checklist.  Create your own Rigor Checklist of at least 5 elements.  Submit your Checklist.


Technique 4:  Double Plan

Read pp. 58-62


Technique 5:  Knowledge Organizers

Read pp. 62-73

Knowledge organizers are a one –page document of critical background knowledge.  The organization (categories- like key terms, important figures, and a timeline of important events) is very important.  They communicate what sorts of thing are important to know when exploring a topic.   Knowledge organizers are intended to be used frequently for interval practice and self-quizzing.  Remember they are NOT a study guide!! They are used at the BEGINNING of a unit.

ASSIGNMENT 5:  Create your own Knowledge Organizer for a unit you teach.  Include in your submission, the grade/subject/ unit topic along with the 1 page Knowledge Organizer.


Module Three:  Checking for Understanding

*In this module, you will be doing short readings followed by video clips that illustrate the concept/technique discussed. 

Technique 6:  Replace Self-Reporting

“Everyone get it?” or “Do you understand?”

Read pp. 76-82. 

Watch Video Clip 008- Gabby Woolf: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Target Questions:  specific, objective questions focused on the content.  They ask students to demonstrate they understand. They are not yes/no questions.

ASSIGNMENT 6: Choose a lesson you have taught (or create a new one).  Look for 1 key transition in the lesson.  Write 3 target questions you could use.  You can submit the actual lesson plan with the transition noted or you can write a narrative explain where the transition would occur.  Again note somewhere grade/subject/content/topic in your submission.


Technique 7:  Retrieval Practice

Read pp. 82-85

Watch Video Clip 005- Christine Torres:  Keystone

Read pp. 85-85

Watch Video Clip 009 – Lauren Moyle:  Cranium

Read p. 87

Watch Video Clip 010 – Retrieval Montage


Technique 8:  Standardized Format (gathering data)

Read pp.87-90

Watch Video Clip – Nicole Warren:  Keystone


Technique 9:  Active Observation

Deciding intentionally what to look for !!

Read pp.92-95

Watch Video Clip - Julia Addeo:  Binomials


“Hunting, Not Fishing”

Read pp. 96-97 paragraph 1

Watch Video Clip – Denarius Frazier:  Remainder

Read pp.97-99 paragraph 1

Watch Video Clip – Nicole Warren: Keystone

Read pp. 99-100

Watch Video Clip:  Active Observation Montague

Read pp. 100 - 102

Watch Video Clip:  BreAnna Tindall:  Active Observation

Read pp. 102-103

Watch Video Clip:  Marlene Pacheco: Active Observation

ASSIGNMENT 7:  Create a tracking chart that you could use for one of your lessons.  Submit the chart with grade/subject/content/topic included.


Technique 10:  Show Me

Read pp. 104-106 paragraph 2

Watch Video Clip:  Belanger/Frazier:  Show Me Montague

Read pp. 106-top of 107

Watch Video Clip:  Lisa Wing: Boom. Boom, Boom

Read p. 107 Slates

Watch Video Clip:  Dani Quinn:  Show Me


Technique 11:  Affirmative Checking

Read pp.107-108

Choose one of the following video clip to watch:

Watch Video Clip:  Hilary Lewis:  Green Post-It (Grade 1)

Watch Video Clip:  Jessica Madio:  Silent Hand When You Have It (Grade 7)

Read pp.109-110 – As you read, look for what you should consider when deciding if your lesson content is conducive to “Staged Checking”.

Watch Video Clip:  Jan Boggard:  Go to IP


Technique 12:  Culture of Error

Read pp. 111-112 paragraph 2

Watch Video Clip:  Denarius Frazier:  Remainder

Read pp. 112-115 paragraph 3

Watch Video Clip:  Culture of Error Montague

Read pp. 115-116 paragraph 2

Watch Video Clip:  Katie Belluci:  Different Answers

Read pp. 116-117 Manage the Tell

Watch Video Clip: Emily Badillo: Culture of Error

Read pp. 117 – 119

Watch Video Clip:  Jasmine Howard:  College Bound

Watch Video Clip:  Nicole Warren:  Front Table

ASSIGNMENT 8:  Which of the Culture of Error do you think you might be able to incorporate in your classroom?  Choose at least one strategy and give details as to how you will implement it (specific statements you may use, course or content that work well)


Technique 13:  Show Call

Read pp. 120-122 paragraph 3

Watch Video Clip: Denarius Frazier:  Remainder

Read pp. 122-124 paragraph 3

Watch Video Clip:  Paul Powell:  Show Call

Read pp. 124-126 top of page

Watch Video Clip:  Ijeoma Duru:  Almost There Work

Read p. 126 paragraphs 1-3

Watch Video Clip:  Julia Adder:  Expand

Read p. 126 last paragraph

Watch Video Clip:  Rousseau Mieze:  Source Line

Read p. 127

Watch Video Clip: Rose Bernunzio: Good Catch

Read p. 128 paragraph 1-2

Watch Video Clip: Sarah Wright:  Show Call Montague

Read pp.128-131 Low-Tech Slow Call


Technique 14:  Own and Track

Read pp. 131-135

Watch Video Clip:  Jon Bogard:  Back to Your Notes


Final Project:  Which of the Checking for Understanding techniques do you see useful in your classroom (hopefully you can name at least 3) and why?



Assignment 1  =  40 points

Assignment 2 =  20 points

Assignment 3 =  30 points

Assignment 4 = 10 points

Assignment 5 = 20 points

Assignment 6 = 20 points

Assignment 7 = 20 points

Assignment 8 = 40 points

Final Project = 50 points





















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