Daily Warm-ups for the 1:1 Classroom

One of the things that is new to me this school year is that my classes are now 1:1, as each of my students has their own chromebook.  I love the fact that I have that technology available to me and there are lots of different things that I have students do online, but my absolute favorite use of the chromebooks is for my daily warm-ups (do nows).

I have always started my math classes each day with “do now” questions.  For my do now’s I typically give students two questions based on the lesson from the day before.  I do this for a couple of reasons:

  1. It settles the kids down when they first come into class and gives them something to do right away
  2. It shows me who understood the lesson from the day before (since I don’t actually collect their homework)
  3. It shows the students whether or not they actually understood the previous day’s lesson.  (They may have thought they understood it but if they get the questions wrong they might realize they need to go back and study it again)

There were two problems with the way I used to do my do now’s (on old-fashioned paper and pencil), though.

  • It was very time consuming to grade two questions per day per student (I teach about 100 students)
  • I didn’t actually know who understood the previous day’s lesson until I graded the do now’s

So….this year I started using Socrative, which I absolutely love!!!!  Setting up an account was simple (and FREE).  I use my own name as a room name, so students just type in my name to get to their do now’s each day when they get to this login screen.

socrative student login screen

 

I still just use two questions per day.  I type the questions and answers the night before (which takes minimal time) and at the start of class I just hit “start quiz” on my teacher Socrative dashboard.  Students are prompted to enter their name.  I have them enter their last names first so that they are automatically sorted alphabetically and I can later transfer their grades into my gradebook very quickly.  They are then taken to the first question.  They will see something like this:

student question screen

 

I sometimes do multiple choice questions, but typically do short answer questions.  They do the problem on scrap paper (or in their notebook) and just type their answer.  They get automatic feedback on whether they were right or wrong.  When I make the warm-ups, I also put in explanations, so when students get a question wrong, they see something like this:

incorrect answer screen

 

This saves me time!  I do not need to explain how to do the problems after the warm-up because each student can see the explanation for themselves.

After the first question, the second question comes up, they answer that, and then they logout.  It typically takes less than 5 minutes at the start of my class.

While I LOVE the immediate feedback the students get, my favorite part of Socrative is the immediate feedback I get!  While the students are completing the do now, I have the results screen up on my computer, so I can see students’ answers as they submit them.  Here are two examples of my class result screens (a multiple choice do now on the left and a short answer do now on the right):

socrative class results

 

As you can see, it is really easy to see which students “get it” and which students need to go back over that concept with the red and green colors.  I can see if the class generally understands a concept right away by looking at the class total percents at the bottom.  If only 50% or less of my class gets a question right, I reteach that concept that day instead of going on to the next lesson.  It really has made such a difference for me this year!

After the do now is finished, you have lots of different choices of ways to get the results.  You can get a student’s individual report or get class reports.  You can download them, open them with excel, or send them to Google Drive.  There are so many options!

If your students have access to computers, tablets, Ipads, or phones I definitely encourage you to check out Socrative.com (if you haven’t already) as it really is an awesome, free way to integrate technology into the classroom every day in a meaningful way.

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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First Week Reflections

After one week in school (well, actually 4 days), I thought I’d share how my school year is going so far.

The first day of school was spent mainly with my homeroom.  I did the “who am I” getting to know you activity with the class that I described in this blog post.  The kids had alot of fun with that activity and were very good at guessing who wrote what!  (Most of them know each other pretty well from being in the same classes for years.)  I used the rest of my homeroom time to go over organizational and procedural stuff with my class.  I also had short 15 minute sessions with each of my math classes.  I used that time to assign seats, introduce myself, and distribute & briefly review my syllabus (which you can read more about here).

The second day of school I jumped right into teaching!  My favorite activity that I did this week was with my 7th grade math class.  I briefly reviewed decimal operations with them – I had them tell me how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals and went through examples of each operation with them.  I then told them to get into groups of 3 or 4 and gave each group a set of decimal word problem task cards and had them work together to complete them.

Decimal Word Problem Task Cards

The task cards were about Back to School shopping.  The students had to use the information on the recording sheet about the cost of various school supplies to answer the questions on the task cards.  I had them show their work on the recording sheet.  (If interested in these task cards, you can get purchase them in my TpT store for $3).

The kids really got into the task cards!  This particular set of task cards varies greatly in difficulty level so the students found some of them pretty easy and struggled with others.  It was great for me to see how different students handled the difficult problems and the different techniques they tried to solve the problems.  It took the students two class periods to complete all of the task cards.

The reason I thought this was such a great first week activity was because it gave me insight into several different things about my students:

  • their problem solving skills
  • their decimal operation skills
  • who their friends are (since they chose their groups)
  • how they work together in a group

This is the first year that I have ever done task cards with my students during the first week, but it is something I am definitely going to add to my yearly routine!

 

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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Assignment Checklists

Happy Labor Day!  Tomorrow is my first day back at school so I figured I would write one more summer blog post about how I am getting organized for this school year.

Today’s post is about one of those simple organizational ideas that I probably should have come up with 5 or 6 years ago but didn’t think of until now…

I typically try to wait until everyone in the class has taken a test before I grade it.  I do this because I think it helps me grade fairly.  When I grade them all at once it is much easier for me to be consistent with the amount of partial credit I award for problems.  If, for example, I grade some math tests one day and others a different day I may not remember how many points I took off of Jack’s test for not writing a negative sign so I may take off more points on Sara’s test for the same mistake.

The problem with waiting until everyone has taken a test, though, is that in the past I have been pretty dependent on students reminding me that they still need to take a test when they come back from an absence.  Sometimes I remember who hasn’t taken a test, but with so many other things to worry about I often forget.

So…this year I decided to fix this issue by making simple assignment checklists.  They are basically just a list of all of my students’ names with little check boxes next to them.  I made the checklists small (I fit 5 copies of the checklist on one sheet of paper) so that I wouldn’t waste alot of paper on them.

Assignment Checklist

Assignment Checklist

My plan is to go through my stack of tests the day I administer the test and just make a check mark next to all the students who have taken the test.  I will then paperclip the checklist to the top of the pile of tests so I can look at it real quick and see who still needs to take the test.  It’s a really simple idea (that definitely should not have taken me 7 years to come up with) but I think it will really help with my organization this year!

If you want to print out checklists that you can use for your class, click the picture below to download an editable Microsoft Excel version of them.  I set it up so you can just enter your students names in the first column and they will be copied 4 other times so that you have 5 copies of the checklist per page.  Then you just need to cut apart the 5 lists and you are good to go!  Enjoy!

assignment checklists editable

Wishing you all a wonderful school year (whether you are starting this week, like me, or have already gone back)!

Thanks for reading,

Christina

 

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