Cold Call is a practice that calls on students for answers whether they have their hands raised or not. If done consistently, students take more responsibility for the material, pay closer attention to the teacher, and are compelled to prepare and respond at any time. Cold Call helps maintain pace and increases the actual rate at which you can cover material. Without this practice, it is difficult to check for comprehensive student understanding reliably. It is misleading to rely only on students who think they are doing well. Cold calling is even more effective when executed simultaneously with No Opt Out, which encourages all students to arrive at the right answer.
- Review the lesson plan and determine the sections where Cold Call could be used.
- Prepare exact questions in advance to ensure that they are clear and accessible to students using various levels of rigor.
- Create a systematic method of calling.
- Introduce Cold Call to the class, preferably at the beginning of the school year, by presenting details of the process; model how students will be called on, how they should respond, how important it is to listen to their peers, and when to expect a Cold Call.
- Explain the reasoning behind the routine and how it will improve student learning, better checks for student understanding, more efficient pacing of material, more equitable participation.
- Question the class using one of the previously prepared questions, pause to give think time, and then call the name of a student to answer the question. Allow time for students to practice the routine.
- Scaffold for different types of learners by initially asking a simple question as a warm-up, then progressing to a series of more difficult probing questions.