I’m not sure if this counts as a “strategy”, but what has always been working for me is my warm up routine. No matter which class, my warm ups consistently get students ready for the day and engaged in the mathematics. In the past, my warm up routine looked like this. I’ve tweaked it this year and I will be tweaking it a little for next semester, as well, but it really still is working.
Monday: Mindset Moment – video where we reflect about mindset
Tuesday: Which One Doesn’t Belong
- Poll first with Plickers
- After seeing results, have students from each choice share their reasoning
Wednesday: Questions – every student in the class is called on to come up with a mathematical question about whatever has come up
- Funny story about this one as an aside (skip this bullet if you just want the tried and true warm ups): I teach a remedial Algebra I class that meets every day and some of my students sometimes say inappropriate things in class because they just have no filter and care very little about the consequences of what they say. Well one Wednesday, I had a couple of other adults in my room (social worker, history teacher, substitute teacher for another teacher) and the random image that comes up is this one. I was so so so so worried about what this could turn into but my students know (and make sure I know) that we work with what comes up first at random. So I let it stay there and was ready to be fired the next day, but my students really blew me away. Every one came up with an awesome and appropriate question that had nothing to do with the fact that six women were in their underwear. Questions like “What is the average height?”, “What is the difference between the height of Diane and Solveig?”, and even, “How many more hairs does Liz have than Nikki?” (from a student who said their question was stolen). The social worker came up to me after we were done and said she was very worried with how I would proceed with this one but she was impressed at how well these students handled it – she didn’t know if it would have been the same with these students even in a health class. 🙂
Thursday: Would You Rather
- Also done with Plickers, but give students 2 min to individually think/research on their Chromebooks.
- After seeing results, have students from both sides share their arguments and then poll the class again!
- Give students 15 sec to think, ask for an under- and overestimate, very quick discussion about those
- Then, ask every student for their estimate and list them on the board
- See if anyone wants to change theirs at the end before showing the answer
- Do another one if there’s time (sequels are awesome)
These warm ups have still been great and I’m seeing engagement from students ranging from remedial Algebra I to Calculus!
I do want to tweak it a little bit, though. Since I’m on an A-B block, my students usually will see a full week’s worth of these in two weeks. I started with going through doing it where my A classes had the same warm up as my B classes, but I found it hard to make sure I was getting everything into the rotation (because of my lack of organization). However, I don’t like this day-of-the week thing because if there’s ever a day off of school, they’ll have the same days twice in a row. So I think that this semester I’m going to stay more organized and just go day by day with the warm ups and then try to add a few more in. I want to actually get rid of the Mindset Moment as a warm up and put it on days when I hand back assessments (which is still about every other week so the students won’t freak out – this is the one that has the least clear engagement and I know students are starting to not take these seriously as warm ups). I’m going to add in Visual Patterns, Set, Number/Dot Talks, anything else I see. I’m excited to see where this goes.
Man this could have been a whole (long) Start, Stop, Continue post, too!
Le changement vient, mes étudiants sont prêts.