Do Now Plan and Template

I’ve been slowly thinking through how to approach Do Now’s this year. In the past I’ve used this time to work on number sense skills and algebra review as these are areas of weakness for my students and it helps us prepare for the state test in the spring. I still think this is important, but I also want to build in elements that are interesting and that will get students talking about math. So my objectives are to build number sense, observe patterns and discover math in the world around them, spiral review skills, and promote curiosity. With all this in mind, I also need to have a routine to keep me rotating through these objectives and to provide a method to the madness.

My plan:

  • Math Maintenance on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. This is a spiral review strategy from Kathryn at ‘i is a number’. I can tweak what I’ve used in the past to this more organized and deliberate method. (Thanks Kathryn!)
  • We have a shortened schedule every Wednesday, which not only results in less instruction time, but also more rambunctious students. Therefore I need a Do Now that is engaging and thought-provoking. I’m going to project a photograph or video of math in the real world. I have a lot of these in relation to architecture from being a Fund for Teachers Fellow a few years back, so that will be a good place to start. I’ll use the ‘I Notice, I Wonder’ and Headline strategies, which encourage students to look closely, make observations, and promote curiosity.
  • On Friday, I will incorporate Estimation 180 to build number sense skills and get students talking.

Monday through Thursday will be completed on this handout. On Friday, they will estimate in their notebook so they can track their progress week to week.  I included an explanation of how I grade Do Now’s on the bottom of the handout as a reminder.

  • Attendance – you are in your seat and started when the bell rings (1 pt)
  • Effort – you work hard until the Do Now buzzer rings. (1 pt)
  • Excused absence: complete missing problems for homework (1.5 pts.)

The Do Now is worth 2 points per day. There is occasional push-back about the attendance point, which they discover is non-negotiable. I don’t mind being tough on this because it gets students to my class on time. If they’re late there is no argument, just my best ‘I’m disappointed’ look and a point deduction.

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July Blogging Challenge

I came across a blogging challenge, and I’m going to try this out. I’m a regular reader of math teacher blogs, and I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to jump into the ring.  The challenge suggested to start with a reflection on the past school year using the prompt, START/STOP/CONTINUE, and I think that’s a great way to begin.

3 things to START:

  • A couple years ago I used a lot of photos (art, architecture, etc) to launch lessons, but that fell off this past year. I want to start doing that again.
  • Planning lessons and activities with a focus on making thinking visible and the type of thinking in which I want my students engaged (inspired by a book I’m reading Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchart)
  • Regularly reviewing previous content and connect it to the new material.  I found that the students struggled to retain some of the content, especially vocabulary, after we moved on to a new unit. I occasionally would give ‘Throw Back’ homework assignments that would bring up some of these topics and the students appreciated it. I want to start this right away next year, and implement it weekly.

3 things to STOP:

  • Traditional homework problems…I’m finding that many of my students either don’t do homework, copy it from someone else, or end up solving the problems incorrectly and form bad habits. I’m still thinking about how (flipping, written reflections…), but I know it needs to change.
  • Over-booking each lesson. I tend to be overambitious in my lesson planning resulting in us working to the bell (which is good), but I then sacrifice the summary or exit ticket (which is bad). I need to either stop overbooking OR stop things early to get to the summary.
  • Feeling pressured to move on at the end of the unit. I got away from spending time with the students reviewing their tests at the end of the unit. I want to incorporate both test corrections and a written component at the end of each unit.

3 things to CONTINUE:

  • Interactive Student Notebooks! This was my first full year trying out this method of note-taking, and I’ll never go back! I used it in both Geometry and Pre-Calculus. The students loved it, I loved it, and it had a great impact on their learning experience!
  • Games and activities that increase student talk. I started incorporating more pair work at the end of the year focused on practicing content and verbalizing their thoughts. The students were engaged, talking about math, and happy. =)
  • A problem-solving strategy that I regularly implemented this year, Notice and Wonder. It really helped to develop my students’ confidence with open-ended and word problems. Notice & Wonder Record Sheet

Thanks for the challenge! Day 1 completed! =)