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Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12) 1st Edition

411 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470550472
ISBN-10: 0470550473
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Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12) + Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College + The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher (Book & DVD)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Praise for

Teach Like a Champion

"Doug Lemov knows that teachers can create powerful learning environments that will help all students make dramatic progress. With Teach Like A Champion, teachers across the country will be better prepared to wake up on Monday morning and help their students climb the mountain to college.  This book provides more evidence that highly effective teaching is learnable—that many more teachers can draw from the tactics of their most successful colleagues in order to realize educational equity." -WENDY KOPP, chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America

"Every teacher should own at least two copies of Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion. One for home and one for school, so that they are never far from the roadmap to excellence that lies within. Lemov pulls back the curtain to reveal that the apparent wizardry of the most successful teachers is really a collection of clearly explainable and learnable techniques. This will certainly be one of the most influential and helpful books that any teacher ever owns."-DAVID LEVIN, co-founder of KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program)

 "Doug Lemov's Teach Like a Champion is a breakthrough book that is both visionary and comprehensive. If you are a teacher who wants to increase the academic success of your students, you should read this book. If you are an administrator with the same goal, you must get this book into the hands of your teachers!" –LEE CANTER, author of Assertive Discipline

 "Doug Lemov has captured in one place the specific, practical techniques used by the best teachers in some of our country’s best urban schools. Any teacher, principal, or policymaker who is interested in what it takes on a classroom level to close the achievement gap should read this book." –DACIA TOLL, co-chief executive officer of Achievement First


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470550473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470550472
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (411 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

The book includes a DVD of 25 video clips of teachers demonstrating the techniques in the classroom.

Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

'Teach Like a Champion' offers effective teaching techniques to help teachers, especially those in their first few years, become champions in the classroom. These powerful techniques are concrete, specific, and are easy to put into action the very next day. Training activities at the end of each chapter help the reader further their understanding through reflection and application of the ideas to their own practice.

Among the techniques:

  • Technique #1: 'No Opt Out.' How to move students from the blank stare or stubborn shrug to giving the right answer every time
  • Technique #35: 'Do It Again.' When students fail to successfully complete a basic task from entering the classroom quietly to passing papers around doing it again, doing it right, and doing it perfectly, results in the best consequences
  • Technique #38: 'No Warnings.' If you're angry with your students, it usually means you should be angry with yourself. This technique shows how to effectively address misbehaviors in your classroom

Top Five Things Every Teacher Needs to Know (or Do) to Be Successful

Amazon-exclusive content from author Doug Lemov:

1. Simplicity is underrated. A simple idea well-implemented is an incredibly powerful thing.

2. You know your classroom best. Always keep in mind that what’s good is what works in your classroom.

3. Excellent teaching is hard work. Excellent teachers continually strive to learn and to master their craft. No matter how good a teacher is it’s always possible to be better.

4. Every teacher must be a reading teacher. Reading is the skill our students need.

5. Teaching is the most important job in the world. And it’s also the most difficult.

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author Doug Lemov

1. 'Great teachers are born, not made' You obviously disagree with this statement please tell us why.

A few teachers may be born with an intuitive gift for teaching but I when I watch a great teacher I see mostly hard work and attention to detail. So believe that great teachers can be made. Every teacher can improve by using proven, concrete techniques in the classroom. This question brings to mind two amazing teachers I know Julie Jackson and Colleen Driggs. Julie and Colleen are always doing things like reviewing their lesson plans on the way to work and talking with peers about how to improve their craft. It’s exciting to me that what we may attribute to natural talent is actually hard work. You can choose to work hard and improve and become exactly the teacher you want to be.

2. What’s the best way for a teacher to start the year with a new class?

It’s important to build systems and routines, as I describe in chapter six, 'Setting and Maintaining High Behavioral Expectations' in Teach Like a Champion. The first day of school should be teaching students the right way to do things and practicing this over and over. Learning and practicing these systems and routines allows a teacher and her students to rely on this foundation for the rest of the year.

I once witnessed Dave Levin (who is a founder of KIPP schools and a fantastic teacher) begin a teacher training workshop in an interesting way. Dave started by handing a mirror to every teacher in the room. He said, 'Your classroom is a mirror. It looks however you make it look. The first step is to believe that your classroom mirrors your decisions. You can control it.' That’s the first step. To accept that as a teacher you decide who you want to be and how you want to create your classroom culture. You own it. Some people do it so you can do it. And that’s a good thing.

3. If you could just change one thing in our nation’s schools, what would you change?

It’s important that we do everything possible to support teachers so that they love their work and can be successful in the classroom. In my opinion, teachers should get paid the same as professional athletes or film stars.

4. This book is largely based on your experience with the group of charter schools you help lead on the east coast, called Uncommon Schools. Please tell us more about Uncommon Schools.

Uncommon Schools is a group of schools that serve low-income populations in urban centers in New York and New Jersey. Across our 16 schools 98 percent of our students scored proficient in math and just below 90 percent in English. This means that our schools usually outperform more privileged suburban districts.

We’ve been using the 49 techniques in my book for 5 years, with our teachers constantly refining and adding to them. Our experience has proven not only that that these techniques work and they can work in every school and in every classroom but that great teachers make them better and more sophisticated over time. And best of all the teachers who practice using them find themselves in control of a happy, rigorous classroom that reflects the motivations that brought them to teaching in the first place. Successful teachers are happy teachers.

Click here for Kindle e-book Click here for Kindle e-book Click here for Kindle e-book
Guide Type Handbook/Overview Workbook Handbook/Overview
Audience Level Beginner Beginner to Intermediate/Advanced Beginner
Number of Pages 352 480 504
Author(s) Doug Lemov Doug Lemov Doug Lemov
Print Edition 0470550473 1118901851 1118901851
Publication Date 4/6/2010 1/3/2012 1/7/2015
Edition 1st 1st 2nd
Description The original edition. Powerful classroom mgmt. and motivation techniques: concrete, specific, and easy to put into action. Includes 25 video clips. Aligns with the original edition. Implement, customize, and master the techniques with self-assessment, partnering, troubleshooting. Includes 30 video clips. New edition that customers of the original TLaC book will also need. One part revision, one part sequel. Huge amt. of totally brand new content. Includes 75 video clips.

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More About the Author

The book is my best effort to describe not what theory says you should do to "win" in the classroom--especially in the toughest ones--but what the very best teachers actually do--those who take kids of poverty and reliably make high achievers out of them. To write Teach Like a Champion I watched thousands of classes and videos of classes taught by teachers with incredible results, and I put everything I thought I saw them doing through the "Monday Test." If I felt it wasn't something I (or you) could do at 8:25am on Monday morning, it was out.

Ultimately, teachers whom I watched and learned from, the unacknowledged heroes in America, are the true authors of the ideas in the book. To the degree that they inspire you, thank them. By the way, that's two of them, Bob Zimmerli and Kelli Ragin, on the cover.

As for me, I'm a former teacher, principal, and consultant. Now I'm a managing director at Uncommon Schools, an organization that starts and runs exceptionally high-performing public schools in urban centers in New York and New Jersey. I oversee Uncommon's upstate schools in Rochester and Troy and lead teacher trainings both across Uncommon and externally. I get to work with amazing folks (leaders and teachers) at such organizations as Teacher U, KIPP, Teach For America, Achievement First, Building Excellent Schools, New Schools for New Orleans, and New Leaders for New Schools. And of course the incredible people at Uncommon.

I went to Hamilton College and then got graduate degrees from Indiana University and the Harvard Business School.

You can check out some videos of the hero teachers whose techniques I describe in the book at douglemov.com

or at


You may find new observations and other new content there as well. My interest in exploring, analyzing, and reporting on great teaching is never exhausted.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

638 of 679 people found the following review helpful By Ken C. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION despite its admittedly cheesy title and without knowing that it was featured by the NY TIMES (which I gather from a sampling of other reviews). Before finishing Doug Lemov's introduction, I realized I was reading a book from "the charter camp" or the "standardized tests slash data is everything" camp. OK. Not having a closed mind (last I checked), I took a deep breath and dove in. Coming out the other end of the rabbit hole, I see that Lemov's Wonderland is not for everybody, but there's something in it for everybody. I said someTHING (or things). Others may find it far too elementary (literally -- given the age groups covered -- and figuratively). And though all of Lemov's teachers and examples come from private and charter schools and most of them are from the Uncommon Schools he himself is a part of, public school teachers can glean something from this mixed bag, too.

Let's start with the good: TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION is a practical book with strategies that can be used immediately in the classroom. You can use all, some, or a few if you wish. Why do I mention this first? Many teachers who invest in professional development books complain that their purchases are too much on theory and not enough on practical ideas. That won't be the case here. Satisfied?

Next: this is about as basic a nuts and bolts text as you can buy. Lemov names things experienced teachers might not even bother to, such as "No Opt Out" (meaning: it's bad to let a kid say, "I don't know") and "Right Is Right" (meaning: you have to answer the question fully and accurately). Still, what looks obvious to teachers already in the trenches might not be to newbies and interested parents.
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107 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Orin Gutlerner on April 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
You simply won't find a more usable, clear-headed break down of the moves that great teachers use everyday to drive academic achievement in schools that serve low-income kids. I've been training and coaching teachers for the past 10 years, and there's nothing out there that holds a candle to Doug Lemov's work. The key is that Lemov's stuff is highly observable and practiceable. As a teacher or a teacher coach, you can put your finger on specific actions that were or were not taken -- and then you can practice those actions -- literally out loud, in the mirror, with a partner -- to make measurable improvements in the next lesson you teach. Most teacher education deals in the realm of the abstract or the long-term. Lemov's material has tremendous long-term benefits and a powerful, cohesive philosophical underpinning -- just like some of the things you learn in a traditional Ed School setting. But he makes these abstract ideas actionable and repeatable. And it's the combination of "get better now" while working toward a long-term vision of great teaching that makes this book absolutely indispensible. Essential.
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70 of 88 people found the following review helpful By JRL on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book spells out in detail so many things that you've been told, heard, sort of know or have stumbled onto in teaching. But, instead of just suggesting a broad strategy (ask a question before choosing who will answer it, for instance), it really drills down into all the different ways to ask questions, how to plan ahead so that students know whether you want a class response or an individual response, how to decide if you want hands up or down, and the pros and cons of each.

These are the specifics I realized I needed once I had my own classroom -- and by then it's harder to observe other teachers and harder to get ideas. Observations are wasted on student teachers! It's the new teachers that really know what they need to look for and the questions they want answered. So far (I'm about halfway, because it definitely requires that you stop, think and process some of the distinctions and differences he makes between techniques), this book is exactly that resource.
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357 of 464 people found the following review helpful By LouV S on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book after reading the glowing feature article in the New York Times praising Mr. Lemov and his work. The article in the Times suggested that Mr. Lemov had visited a diverse array of schools "across the country", that Mr. Lemov had methodically determined which teachers were unusually effective, and that he had then thoroughly catalogued strategies used by those effective teachers.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. It turns out that for the New York Times, "across the country" means "from Rochester New York, to Newark New Jersey - with an occasional side trip to Washington DC or to Boston." Mr. Lemov's schools are a very narrow selection of charter schools, mostly the fourteen schools in the "Uncommon Schools" network for which he is managing director. Of his 14 schools:
* Nine are in Brooklyn;
* Three are in Newark, New Jersey;
* One is in Rochester, New York;
* One is in Troy, New York (near Albany).
That's it.

The schools in his book are a very narrow sliver of the American educational experience; they are all almost carbon copies of one another. Lemov shows no interest in, or even any awareness of, how race, ethnicity, immigrant status, or student gender might influence best practice in the classroom.

Lemov's book is based primarily on the fourteen schools in the network he manages, which he has a powerful commercial motive to promote as schools of excellence. He does occasionally mention other schools he has visited - which are almost always charter schools in cities around New York State, such as the Brighter Choice School for Boys, in Albany.
EVERY SCHOOL in this book is a charter school.
EVERY SCHOOL is located in the urban Northeast.
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