Instructional routines: Show–Call

I’ve recently familiarised myself with the concept of ‘instructional routines’. The concept appeals to me. I don’t need a script to teach, but I want to have a high baseline expectation for my teaching and my students’ learning.

When students become familiar with your instructional routines, task understanding and engagement will surely improve. I believe that if the only unknown students have when they enter the mathematics classroom is What routines are we going to use today? then cognitive load must be reduced and students should feel more at ease and confident about their ability to approach the day’s mathematics.

My idea for this post was to start cataloguing instructional routines that I discover or create. Future posts should reproduce the catalogue with additions and updates as I reflect on my experiences using them.

So, here’s my first one.


In this mini-routine, you take a photo of a student’s work and quickly throw it up on the screen to show the whole class as an example of a student’s excellent presentation. You then call on a different student to suggest to the class what is excellent about it and how to make it even better. Who and how you call can vary depending on what you want to achieve at the time.

I am showing X’s work and I call on Y.

This is not exactly the show–call routine described by Doug Lemov in Teach Like a Champion but it is based on it. And credit to Ben Gordon (Twitter @mathsmrgordon) whose tweet tipped me off this this routine.

I think it’s a good one.