Warm Ups and Exit Slips Revisited
Almost 4 months ago I wrote about my plans for warm ups and exit slips. I received a nice comment tonight asking me to revisit the topic. Of course that means I first have to re-read my post to see what the heck I was talking about.
Ok I'm back. I have alluded to different ideas in posts throughout the summer of more solid plans but this seems like a good time to explain.
Basically I used the feedback from that post and formed a new idea.
I'd suggest that the warm up should be something that all kids can do with minimal guidance from the you. There should be (virtually) no (mathematical) barrier to entry. The last thing you want to have to do is to reteach/tutor while you are trying to take role, get kids settled in, etc. Think of it as time to build procedural fluency and automaticity.
At the Minnesota Math Conf. I saw some warm ups that interested me. 2 week cycles of questions, 3 review type questions of past material or skills needed for next concept. Use of vocab in directions, as the cycle gets into week two you take out the key vocab and Ss fill it in.
Also excellent thinking.
I combined those two ideas together and made a PowerPoint of pre-algebra skills, mostly three questions a piece, for three days a week of the entire school year (the fourth day is a practice quiz and the fifth day is a school thing). In the first half the questions go through a 2 week cycle where the first week contains hints and the second week does not. I use this PowerPoint for all my classes Alg I - Alg II because they all need refreshers and hopefully can at least start on the problems without me.
Creating that PowerPoint was a godsend although it took me hours and hours and I temporarily hated my life while doing it. But I always have a way to start class smoothly and it gives me a couple of minutes to get my stuff together. Oh, and I've been using blank quarter sheets of copy paper by the door that kids just grab on their way in. I told them at the beginning that I may or may not collect them and some students choose to keep them even when I tell them to throw them away. Truthfully, I've only collected them once. I've had a few issues with students not wanting to do them, especially since I don't grade them, but it's pretty hard for them to refuse when I stand beside their desk and ask them if they will do these problems for me. Overall I've had a very positive reaction.
As for exit slips....they died on the table. In a later post I briefly mentioned exit slips in my new beginnings and then proceeded to talk way more about summarizing. I've been using that more as a way of summarizing the lesson and getting feedback rather than an exit slip. I built this right in to the guided notes- after almost every example I force students to stop and write in words what we just did. I think it's been a really good idea and I hope that it has started to build the habit of frequently stopping and thinking about what we're doing as well as putting it into words. I don't really have any hard facts to support my thinking but I know that in review games and on assessments I have been asking students to explain, tell the difference, write examples, write analogies, etc and they haven't balked yet. I would say that's an improvement.
I had mentioned unit summaries which morphed into my PEEL graphic organizer but that just took way too much time and has since fell by the wayside.
The quarter ends this week so I'm thinking of trying something new. Since we made a summaries tab in our math binders, I've got to use that for something. I'd like to try Nora Oswald's Learning Log Prompts Poster. I could modify my original unit summary sheet to work for this where students write the date, the concept taught, and then answer one of the prompts. Actually, the more I think about that, the more I really like the idea.
That will be another good habit to get into and something I could use after the bell ringer to promote some discussion: turn to your partner and share what you wrote at the end of class yesterday. I don't know, that will probably take up too much time but you never know when you will need a time filler.
All in all, I'm satisfied with my bell ringer and I'm happy with how often we are summarizing- I guess if I can get this exit slip idea nailed down then I'll be all good.
Thanks mrsaitoromath for motivating me to write this blog post- you've reminded me of something I could be doing better.