Have you ever seen Peyton Manning walk up the line of scrimmage before a third down play? If you haven’t, I suggest Googling a video of what he is doing out there. Peyton Manning points to different players on the defense, yells code words to his teammates, and then sometimes even moves his team around until they are in the correct position on the field. Peyton Manning is executing what all great teachers should have in their repertoire… the Pre-snap Read.
What exactly is a Pre- Snap read?
“When a quarterback looks at the defensive players to see if they will be blitzing and from which side of the offensive line. The quarterback’s pre-snap read looks at how they’re lined up and what stance they’re in. A quarterback’s ability to read coverages is critical because it helps speed up his decision-making process after the ball has been snapped.” (sportingcharts.com
You are probably thinking, “Okay. How does that apply to the classroom?”
My response would be, “How does that not apply to the classroom?”
Sometime before class, teachers set their game plan for the day, the week, or the month. The Game Plan should be about accomplishing victory ( which will obviously differ depending on the class/content etc.)
The Pre-Snap read, is what a teacher can do to judge the state of the class before you “snap the ball” and begin the lesson. This takes good observational skills and really can only be done by increasing your social and emotional intelligence when interacting with your target age group.
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Two internal questions you can ask yourself are:
1. What is their attitude toward the lesson?
Are they excited and ready to learn? Or are they bored or confused by the topic? This should be the starting point to decide if you need to call an audible. This can be done by a warm-up activity that asks them to recall background knowledge or review previously discussed material. If they don’t understand the review, warm-up or anticipatory set, CALL AN AUDIBLE!
2. What is their emotional state?
Did they just get done taking an hour long test? If so, it may not be a good idea to do a note-taking activity at the beginning of class. Are they lethargic? Are they excited? Anxious? Understanding the overall emotional state of the class needs to be observed and quickly before beginning the lesson. If they are lethargic, you might not want to do a PowerPoint or book activity. CALL AN AUDIBLE!
If they are lethargic, think of an activity that gets their blood flowing. Maybe you do a ball toss warm-up. This activity is when teachers previously covered information and throw the ball to the student who answers.
Observing students and mentally placing yourself in their mental state comes easier to some people compared to others. Personally, I had jobs such as lifeguard and bouncer that really honed my observation skills. These jobs included hours of observing human behavior and to scan the environment for threats.
Feeling the emotional or mental state of the class has always come easier to me than others. My issue as a young teacher was what to do when I observed my students in a state not conducive to the play (lesson plan) that I planned on running.
Do you think you are better than Peyton Manning?
Peyton Manning, one of the best football players to ever pick up a ball, gets three plays in the huddle before the snap. Teachers should think the same way.
Peyton’s goal is to move the ball and score.
What’s your goal as a teacher? Much the same, move the students through a process to continually move towards to objective of the lesson.
This may sound like a lot of extra work. However, it can be developed by anyone. It really comes down to mental flexibility and options. Give yourself more options like Peyton Manning.