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.


Thinking Routines – Synthesizing and Organizing Ideas (part 1)

Routines for Synthesizing and Organizing Ideas (Chapter 5)

1) CSI: Color, Symbol, Image (Capturing the heart through metaphors) – Nonverbal routine that forces visual connections


Although a hard sell for math content, I think it could be used as a way to get to know students at the beginning of the year. I could ask them to represent themselves with CSI and explain the reasons for their choices. This could be followed up with teaching them MicroLab routine (I’ll detail that tomorrow), which is a reflection and discussion strategy. If this were completed on the computer and printed, it could be a nice bulletin board (check out my example below). Another option would be to use this as a means for students to reflect about their own performance at the end of a term, or use it as a means to discover how and what they think about math or learning.

CSI Example


CSI Template to use at the beginning of the school year. CSI Template

2) Generate-Sort-Connect-Elaborate: Concept Maps (Uncovering and organizing prior knowledge to identify connections) – Highlights the thinking steps of making an effective concept map that both organizes and reveals one’s thinking. “This provides structure to the process of creating the concept map to foster more and better thinking.”

Visible10 This could be used at the beginning of a unit to reveal prior knowledge or at the end to bring all ideas together. This would be great for any unit with many different components (e.g., functions and trigonometry units in Pre-Calculus; angle and triangle units in Geometry; linear equations in Algebra 1). During the ‘Generate’ phase the teacher could give students post-its or note cards to encourage more discussion during the ‘Sort’ phase. After they independently generate ideas, they could share with a partner to gather more ideas. If this is a small group activity, the teacher should provide large chart paper to help with the ‘Sort’ phase. The sort phase has the potential of generating great conversations as they organize the note cards and explain the connections that they are making. An extension of the ‘Connect’ phase would be for students to write a description of the connection on the line that they draw. This routine could be adjusted into a a whole class activity by using the whiteboard to Sort and Connect.

I’ve wanted to have students create concept maps as homework, but I didn’t know how to support them in that process. I think this is a great structure that I’m excited to try! After we’ve used it in class and they are familiar with this routine, I’m going to try it as a homework assignment, then the next day we would create collective concept maps.

3) Connect-Extend-Challenge (Connection making, identifying new ideas, raising questions) – Key synthesis moves for dealing with new information in whatever form it might be presented: books, lecture, movie, and so on


“Ideas and thoughts are dynamic, ever deepening and growing, and that’s a big part of learning is attending to the information we take in.” p.133

In some units this could be an ongoing class routine. After each exploration or activity we could do the ‘connect’ and ‘extend’ phases and create a unit list of connections. At the end of the unit we could revisit this list identifying common themes and important ideas that surfaced over the course of the unit. Teaching this routine would require a lot of modeling so students learn to produce strong connections. A lesson idea from the text is a sorting activity with examples of “OK Connections” and “Strong Connections”.


Some sentence starters could be given to help students as they begin. A few examples, Connect – “This reminds me…”, Extend – “This added to my thinking because…” or “I used to think…Now I think…”, Challenge – “This makes me wonder…” or “This surprises me because…”

Once students are familiar with this routine, I think it could be used for homework. If using it for a homework assignment, I would add a component to start where they summarize what they learned in class that day, then Connect-Extend-Challenge.

**I would love to hear if you have used these routines OR if you have any ideas of what math topics for which they could work well.**

(Note: This is the first of two posts that detail one-third of the ‘Thinking Routines’ outlined in Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. After each number is the title of the Thinking Routine followed by the ‘Key Thinking Moves’, then ‘Quick Notes and Descriptions’. All of this information is directly quoted from the book Table 3.1 Thinking Routine Matrix. Then are the details of the routine and questions to accompany it. Finally, in italics, is a brief brainstorm of how I thought I might use this in a math classroom and/or in math department meetings.)


Thinking Routines – Introducing and Exploring Ideas (part 3)

Routines for Introducing and Exploring Ideas (chapter 4) continued…again…

5) 3-2-1 Bridge (Activating prior knowledge, questioning, distilling, and connection making through metaphors) – Works well when students have prior knowledge but instruction will move it in a new direction; can be done over extended time during the course of a unit


I love the added components to the traditional 3-2-1 prompt! I think the key to using this effectively at the beginning and end of instruction is to be sure the students have some prior knowledge for the initial 3-2-1 and that the lesson has enough new information for a different set of responses. One way that I’ll use this thinking routine is to give (and collect) the initial 3-2-1 prompt as an exit ticket that the day before a lesson. This could act as a quick pre-assessment that I could use then use to adjust the next day’s lesson. I love the bridge component! What a great way for students to make connections to the new content and identify what they’ve learned. 

6) Compass Points (Decision making and planning, uncovering personal reactions) – Solicits the group’s ideas and reactions to a proposal, plan, or possible decision

Visible6I teach 10th graders, the year when they take the state math test, so this activity could be an opportunity for the students to express their Needs and Worries about the test. I think this could help them realize that they are all anxious about the test and allow them to self-assess (and in turn inform me) of the skills they already know they need to improve. I wonder if they would have anything to add to Excitement…maybe this could be where they come up with the benefits of learning these skills and not referring to the test itself. In regards to the test, I’m not sure if I would have anything positive to add here, but maybe they could help me think of what’s exciting about the MCAS. I will delete ‘stance’ and just focus on the Steps or Suggestions phase as a tool that allows their responses to direct the strategies I implement as we prepare throughout the year. I’m planning on doing this in September to give me a sense of this group’s learning preferences. At first I thought this activity would be a stretch, but now that I’ve written it out, I kind of like it! I think there is the potential of building a culture of naming the reasons why something may worry us (a.k.a. math!), looking at this from other perspectives, then being proactive and planning how we are going to proceed.

Another suggested for the use of Compass Points is for the introduction of a potential or new program to faculty. At our school, each department collectively chooses a goal in the fall. As with any consensus, not everyone can “win”. I’m thinking of using Compass Points after choosing the goal to look at it from a number of perspectives. By detailing Excitement, it will remind us of the reasons for choosing this goal and it will be good to refer back when we are frustrated with it in February. =) The Needs and Worries will give insight into the professional development that teachers need to reach this goal. The Steps/Suggestions may help us to split up the work involved in the steps or to create groups of teachers with similar plans.

Although not math related, I also teach an advisory class every other week. I think this could be a great routine to use in that class. We are given general themes or topics to work with, and I bet this will work great with one of them.


7) The Explanation Game – (Observing details and building explanations) – Variation of STW that focuses on identifying parts and explaining them in order to build up an understanding of the whole from its parts and their purposes

Visible7If you think back to the See-Think-Wonder routine, the students were presented with a new or ambiguous figure/photo/diagram. Yet in the Explanation Game, the students are looking at a figure/photo/diagram that they may recognize, but are not sure how or why it is the way it is. “…students may examine the features of a mathematics diagram to determine what those features do or what purposes they serve.” I think this routine could be a great tool when working through real-world data. I anticipate using this as my Pre-Calculus students work with real-world piecewise graphs. The first component of the routine, Name It, is for students (in pairs) to name all the different parts they are observing (e.g. ‘increasing linear function’, ‘horizontal line, ‘decreasing linear function’). This could even be extended to finding the equation to accompany the part that they ‘named’. The second component, Explain It, is where the students would then work to apply the real-world situation to what they see on the graph (e.g. ‘the income increased at a consistent rate for 3 years’, ‘for 5 years the income remained the same’, ‘the income decreased at a consistent rate for 2 years’). Students often struggle with applying the situation to the graphic representation. I think the exercise of naming each distinct part first would make this transition less overwhelming for students. Plus, by working in pairs they would have the opportunity to talk it out with their partner, which always helps! I think the last components, Give reasons and Generate alternatives, often are passed over in math classes. I think this is the part that would make a “real-world situation” actually feel real to students. I often have students interpret a graph, but rarely ask them why these things may be happening. When I create my own graphic representation of data (in the real-world, if you will), I do want to see the trends, but I also want to figure out why those trends may be occurring. Just thinking about these last two components makes me feel like I’ve been robbing my students a fun part of data analysis. I’m definitely going to take the time to work this thinking routine into my practice this year!

**I would love to hear if you have used these routines OR if you have any ideas of what math topics for which they could work well.**

(Note: This is the third of three posts that detail a third of the ‘Thinking Routines’ outlined in Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. After each number is the title of the Thinking Routine followed by the ‘Key Thinking Moves’, then ‘Quick Notes and Descriptions’. All of this information is directly quoted from the book Table 3.1 Thinking Routine Matrix. Then are the details of the routine and questions to accompany it. Finally, in italics, is a brief brainstorm of how I thought I might use this in a math classroom and/or in math department meetings.)

Thinking Routines – Introducing and Exploring Ideas (part 2)

Routines for Introducing and Exploring Ideas (chapter 4) continued…

3) Think-Puzzle-Explore (Activating prior knowledge, wondering, planning) Good at the beginning of a unit to direct personal or group inquiry and uncover current understandings as well as misconceptions


Similar to a KWL in structure, the key difference in Think-Puzzle-Explore is in how the questions are asked, which shifts the focus first to discovering students’ prior and partial knowledge (and misconceptions), then encouraging curiosity and planning. I’ve always found it hard to use a KWL in math class. Even when I was confident my students had prior knowledge about a topic, I found that they were reluctant to write things down in the ‘Know’ column, stating that they didn’t know if they were correct. The responses for what they ‘want’ to know lacked in depth and curiosity. Overwhelming the response was “I want to know how to solve it” or “how to get it right on a test.” I’m not great at going back to these types of activities at the end of a unit, so I never did follow through with the “Learned” column. I’m happy that the issues I have with a KWL chart are addressed with the Think-Puzzle-Explore routine. I think the shift to the phrase ‘Think’ will illuminate partial knowledge and misconceptions, which is really what I need to know when we start a new topic and is an essential tool in driving instruction. “… (‘Think’) gives permission to have a go, raise possible responses to the question, safe in the knowledge that you are not guaranteeing that you have the absolute facts but rather some thoughts about it.” I think the Puzzle section could be powerful as a whole class discussion providing a chance for students to build upon each other’s ideas. By recording a class list of ‘Puzzles’ on chart paper we could refer back to this list to check items off as they are discovered and add more ‘puzzles’ that arise as instruction continues throughout the unit.

4) Chalk Talk (Uncovering prior knowledge and ideas, questioning) – Open-ended discussion on paper; ensures all voices are heard, gives thinking time. A conversation conducted silently on paper. “It provides flexibility to move from one idea to another in a nonlinear way, to formulate questions as they arise, and to take the time needed to think through the collective information produced.”


With no names written on the posters, this routine gives students freedom to take risks and ask questions that they may not feel comfortable voicing in a verbal discussion. This routine gives every student equal contribution time and the chance for me to hear every ‘voice’, both of which are difficult to accomplish in other formats. The prompts can be single words and phrases, yet posing questions can take the conversation up a level. I used this activity once and didn’t love the result. I think the problem was that I stuck to phrases (e.g. Exponential Functions, Exponent Rules, etc), which seemed to stifle the conversation and they thought I was looking for a particular answer. I’m going to give this routine another try by posing questions instead. I find open-ended math questions hard to create, but I think it would result in a deeper conversation.

The authors suggest using Chalk Talk as a means to reflect on topics or learning moments – I love this idea! I envision using this activity before a cumulative test as a means to discover what the class remembers collectively about a variety of topics and to give them a chance to ask questions too. I anticipate misconceptions or gaps appearing in their work, that I could then use to structure the review activities that would follow. I also love the idea is to use this at the end of a term to reflect on what they learned. The authors provide sample questions to use for this purpose: “What have you been most surprised by in this unit of student? What is hard for you to master in this topic? Where would you most like to see improvement in yourself? What skills do you have around this topic that you could share with others? How do you know when you really understand something?” Nice!

I think this activity can be quite useful in a professional context as well. In a PD I attended last year, the instructor used this activity to pose questions about bullying and homophobic language. I found it to be very effective in giving every participant the opportunity to voice ideas in a safe environment. As a learner, I liked moving around the classroom, reading others responses and having the chance to respond or build off of these. I found it to be reflective and a chance to ‘hear’ many more voices than in a whole group discussion. An added benefit was that the follow-up discussion stayed on track, which I attribute to our collective focus on the chosen questions and realizing that a lot of people had meaningful ideas to share. Also, participants referred to ideas written the poster that struck them, which directed the conversation and fostered the idea of collective knowledge and experiences. I think this could be used in math focused PD, possibly to start the school year with questions focused on our department goals, the focus of the year, changes we are going to implement this year, etc.

**I would love to hear if you have used these routines OR if you have any ideas of what math topics for which they could work well.**

(Note: This is the second of three posts that detail a third of the ‘Thinking Routines’ outlined in Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. After each number is the title of the Thinking Routine followed by the ‘Key Thinking Moves’, then ‘Quick Notes and Descriptions’. All of this information is directly quoted from the book Table 3.1 Thinking Routine Matrix. Then are the details of the routine and questions to accompany it. Finally, in italics, is a brief brainstorm of how I thought I might use this in a math classroom and/or in math department meetings.)

Thinking Routines – Introducing and Exploring Ideas (part 1)

Routines for Introducing and Exploring Ideas (chapter 4) 

This is one of three posts that detail a third of the ‘Thinking Routines’ outlined in Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. After each number is the title of the Thinking Routine followed by the ‘Key Thinking Moves’, then ‘Quick Notes and Descriptions’. All of this information is directly quoted from the book Table 3.1 Thinking Routine Matrix. Then are the details of the routine and questions to accompany it. Finally, in italics, is a brief brainstorm of how I thought I might use this in a math classroom and/or in math department meetings.

1) See-Think-Wonder (Describing, interpreting, and wondering) – Good with ambiguous or complex visual stimuli. This routine emphasizes the importance of observation as the basis for the thinking and interpretation step that follows the close looking. This routine was designed to draw on students’ close looking and intent observation as the foundation for greater insights, grounded interpretations, evidenced-based theory building, and broad-reaching curiosity.


I came across a very similar idea (that I LOVE) last October at the Baltimore NCTM conference. The protocol is called ‘I Notice, I Wonder’ out of Drexel University in Philadelphia. It’s based on math problems and built out of this same concept – teaching students to look closely, make observations and then allow their curiosity to drive the rest of the conversation. The ‘I Notice, I Wonder’ protocol became a regular part of my practice this year, and I saw a big difference in how my students approached and discussed problems (I will go into more detail about this in a future post).

There is a slight difference between these routines, as ‘See-Think-Wonder’ adds the ‘think’ component, which is described as an interpretation phase. Questions to lead this discussion include, “Based on what we are seeing and noticing, what does it makes us think? What kinds of interpretations can we form based on our observations? What else is going on here? What do you see that makes you say that?”

Based on what I learned from implementing this last year, I have a few suggestions for implementation: When introducing the problem, provide silent time for the students to look closely. I did have students record their observations, but first I insisted upon one minute with pencils-down, so they could just look. A big part of this process is the discussion that follows because the students build off of each other’s ideas. The quality and depth of their responses grows over time, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t go great the first time out. I always recorded their responses on chart paper to validate all the contributions and have a record of the conversation to refer to as we worked on the problem. During the discussion, try to be non-judgmental and record everything! There is not a right or wrong response with this activity, which allows all students the chance to contribute without worry. I used this routine in many different ways throughout the year. The key was to present an open-ended visual without given questions (sometimes I would use the visual representation from a multi-step problem and remove all the questions). Ideas: Graphs (anything real-world works great); different data representations; Dan Meyer’s Three Acts; Diagrams; Sequences represented by drawings; Tables, etc.

2) Zoom In (Describing, inferring, and interpreting) – Variation of STW using only portions of an image


I like that this routine lends itself to practicing elements of a growth mindset. As new portions of the visual are revealed, the students learn to be flexible with their hypotheses and re-work their ideas to encompass the new information as well.

This could be used as a means to introduce to piecewise functions. It could be implemented again when the students learn to write equations for piecewise functions. It could be used in a statistics unit with a carefully chosen data representation to look at what is occurring at different sections/areas of the data. With some creativity, it could possibly be applied to teaching proofs, complex geometric figures, composite figures, tessellations, and/or transformations.

The ‘Picture of Practice’ example in the book details Zoom In used in a math classroom. The teacher wanted students to realize that math is all around them and to see the big picture of math. She used M. C. Escher’s Day and Night image, which has a variety of rich elements to discuss. Great idea!

Day and Night

A Map of Thinking – Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m working my way through the book Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison.  Since the main objective of this strategy is to reveal what our students are thinking so that we can further their learning and dispel misconceptions, then it makes sense that we should first be very familiar with the types of thinking. The authors divided the types of thinking into two main lists based on the thinking goal. The first list is focused on thinking moves involved in understanding. The second list is focused on another group of goals, specifically solving problems, making decisions, and forming judgements. Because this is not a hierarchical list, I wanted to make a non-linear representation of these lists to help me wrap my mind around it and to refer to when I’m lesson planning. Below are a couple screen shots of the prezi that I created for the second list. The screen shots of the first prezi are on yesterday’s blog post.

As I was thinking about this list of thinking moves, I kept thinking about the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Has anyone thought about these connections or done any work to connect them?

prezi pictureprezi picture2

A Map of Thinking for Understanding

My thoughts on the book Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. – continued

The questions – “What kinds of thinking do you value and want to promote in your classroom? What kinds of thinking does that lesson force the students to do?”

The challenge is posed to teachers – to step back and consider, what do I want the students doing mentally? What type(s) of thinking? When I ‘stepped back’, I wasn’t sure exactly what my choices were. I could flounder around a bit, throw out some ideas, but I wasn’t very happy about that. And neither were the authors. What they found is that teachers would often flounder (making me feel better), then ask if the answer was found within Bloom’s taxonomy. Well, it is and it isn’t. They worked to put together a couple of lists to make visible the forms, dimensions, and processes of thinking. They say time and again that these lists are not comprehensive and could be fleshed out further. But, these lists will help us determine the types of thinking that we are going to later work to make visible in our classrooms.

The lists are broken into two ‘Maps of Thinking’. The first is based on thinking moves to aid in understanding and the second to solve problems, make decisions, and form judgements. I was struck by this concept and wanted to wrap my head around these thinking moves. I also wanted to create some sort of document that I could have nearby as I’m lesson planning. Below is the document I created for the first list (link to the prezi below). The second document will come along soon.

Understanding Map



A Map of Thinking involved in Understanding Prezi



Thinking Routines – Digging Deeper

Currently I am reading and re-reading Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. I picked up this book because there was a lot of talk this past year about making thinking visible and I wanted to learn more about it. This is going to be one of many posts concerning what I’ve learned from this book. I’m finding that the ideas in the book are drawing together a lot of things I’ve been thinking about and trying to accomplish with my students.

Routines for Digging Deeper Into Ideas (Chapter 6)

The post details one-third of the ‘Thinking Routines’ outlined in the book. After each number is the title of the Thinking Routine followed by the Key Thinking Moves then Quick Notes and Descriptions. All of this information is directly quoted from the book Table 3.1 Thinking Routine Matrix. Then are the details of the routine and questions to accompany it. Finally, in italics, is a brief brainstorm of how I thought I might use this in a math classroom and/or in math department meetings.

1. What Makes You Say That? (Reasoning with evidence): A question that teachers can weave into discussions to push students to give evidence for their assertions. ‘Fosters a disposition toward evidential reasoning – correctness of an answer doesn’t lie in a lone outside authority, but in evidence that supports it; empowers the learning community to examine the reasons and evidence’

photo 1

This strategy could easily work its way into almost every math discussion and make a big shift in seeing/understanding what/how students are thinking!

2. Step Inside (Perspective Taking): Stepping into a position and talking or writing from that perspective to gain a deeper understanding of it

photo 3

This could be a way to explore functions and/or function transformations (Pre-Calculus, Algebra 2). Give a group of students a particular function and each member steps inside the function from a different representation (table, graph, verbal, algebraic). The group could share and ‘get to know’ their function from each perspective, then each group shares with the class.

Geometry – A way for students to explore parallel and perpendicular lines (or maybe a slope activity) through the graphs, tables and equations. They could possibly narrate their perspective in first person (Each time I climb up 3 units, I step right one unit. When I look up I see another line above me. Each time I climb up 3, so does that line. I’m never going to catch it!)

3. Claim-Support-Question (Identifying generalizations and theories, reasoning with evidence, making counterarguments): Can be used with text or as a basic structure for mathematical and scientific thinking. Frames the enterprise of mathematics as being about speculation, generalization, analysis, and proof

Claim, Support, Question

Math Idea from text – introduce a math problem with a variety of entry points and strategies; give individual work time; discussion of their findings, ideas and generalizations; documents claims; more work time with a focus on evidence to support or refute initial claims

*a specific math classroom example on p. 195-197

4) Circle of Viewpoints (Perspective Taking): Identification of perspectives around an issue or problem

photo 2

Math applications are a stretch…the concept is based on seeing something from different perspectives, so it could work as an introduction in Geometry viewing 3-D figures from different sides.

5) Sentence-Phrase-Word: (Summarizing and distilling): Text-based protocol aimed at eliciting what a reader found important or worthwhile; used with discussion to look at themes and implications.

photo 1-1

Math applications N/A;   Professional Development Idea – a protocol for discussing readings with other adults; share in rounds with a chance to comment after each person shares; document to help find themes

6) Red light, Yellow light (Monitoring, identifying of bias, raising questions) – Used to identify possible errors in reasoning, over-reaching by authors, or areas that need to be questioned. This is used to spot occasions to be skeptical, ask questions and for application. (Note – highlight text or identify with Y or R., then document responses)

photo 4

Math applications N/A

Potential Professional Development Uses from text

a. Facilitating PD ‘when teachers share their classroom efforts, student work, or reflections around professional reading…to move conversations beyond merely agreeing or disagreeing…creates a sense of safety to navigate difficult ideas.’

b. Discussing of action plans and proposals – conveys that there are natural points of dispute that need working through

7) Tug-of-War (Perspective taking, reasoning, identifying complexities) – Identifying and building both sides of an argument or tension/dilemma; to suspend taking a side and think carefully about the multiple pulls or reasons in support of both sides

photo 2-1

Math applications N/A; Possibly use for an advisory lesson


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! =)