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Cold Call

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Effective Practices

Cold Call

I-2, I-5, I-7, I-8



Cold Call is an engagement practice, not a disciplinary system. The purpose is to make students feel successful, engaged, and motivated. Cold Call is not a “gotcha” tactic to teach a lesson.

Quick Tips

Try pulling students in and promoting success by emphasizing basic knowledge before challenging them with more rigorous questions.

Instead of calling the student and then asking the question, consider asking the question first, pausing, and then calling the student‘s name to guarantee that everyone hears the question, and has ample time to prepare their answer during the pause provided.


Cold Call example video

Managing The Pause

Teach Like a Champion: Technique 22 Cold Call


Other Strategies


A fast paced game used to reinforce skills, not teach new skills. The teacher asks an individual student a question. If the student gets the answer right, the teacher moves to the next question with a new student. If the student gets the answer wrong, the teacher calls on someone else to answer. The teacher can choose to return back to the original student to repeat the correct answer, but there is no discussion of the incorrect answer because this is a fast-paced review.


The teacher asks a question to the whole class, and then tosses a ball to a batter. The batter taps it back toward the group using a bat or stick. The student nearest the ball catches it and tosses it back to the teacher while sharing the answer.