See my Do Now video that explains my beginning of class routines.
Often, I create do nows that have problems that connect to the task that students will be working on that day. Today is the first day of math class, so it is going to include learning and practicing the procedure of entering and starting class.
I meet students outside my room. I explain what I expect of them as they come in. I will greet them and they will walk in and grab a do now off of my counter and find their seat. As students are getting settled and getting started I make comments about positive things I see students doing, like “Joey has put away his binder and is copying the rules”. I walk around with a stamp and stamp students do nows if they are on task.
After a few minutes, I tell students to put down their pencils. I ask for volunteers to summarize the expectations for entering math class and working on the do now. I ask for volunteers to share out things we did well and things we can improve on. I explain that students are going to leave their materials at their desks and line up by rows at the back of the class. We are going to enter the class again. I tell students that when they reach their seats they need to answer the question, “Why is it important to enter class efficiently and quietly start the do now?”
After a minute of students writing, I ask them to raise their hands and share out ideas. I want students to realize that we have no time to waste. Coming in efficiently and quietly lets us refocus and get ready for math class. Then I explain that on the bottom of each do now they write two things they are going to do that will enable them to have a productive math class. This is a way for students to focus on what they will do in order to make the best of math class. I give some examples and call on students to share examples.
I have a volunteer read about birthdays as I pass out one post-it to each student. I call students up by rows to place their post-its. Then I tell students to answer the questions independently and quietly. I walk around and ensure that students are quiet and writing down their ideas.
I call on students to share out their observations. Some students will mention the month that has the most birthdays or fewest birthdays. I ask students, “Can you tell whether you have a birthday twin just by looking at the histogram?” I call on students to share out.
I tell students that in order to figure that out, you have to talk with the people that were born in the same month. I explain that when I call students by rows they will stand up and tuck in their seat. They will walk to their birthday month and wait for their classmates. Their task is to figure out the birthdays of everyone in the group and whether they have a birthday twin. I let students know that I will ring a chime when it is time to stop talking.
I ring the chime. If students take a while to quiet down, we will practice it again. I ask groups to share if they have birthday twins. I call students by months to quietly return to their seats.
I tell students that we are going to review a few more procedures that we will use regularly in math class. I have students read over the passing in and passing out papers procedures. We practice a few times by passing in do nows and passing them back out. A common mistake is that students who are not in the back row start passing in papers before they receive the papers from the people behind them. If this happens I will point it out and we will practice again. I stress that we do not have time to waste, so we need to do this efficiently and calmly.
I have volunteers read about the Think (Write) Pair Share procedure. I have a volunteer come to the front and pretend to be my partner. Our task is to talk about why procedures are important.
I go through several examples:
I thank my volunteer and ask my students to share out observations about what they noticed. Students will easily identify my rude or ineffective behavior. I ask if they saw any examples of productive and respectful conversation. I tell students that their challenge is to use pair share time to talk about the math topic. I ask students to brainstorm things they could say to a partner is off task.
I tell students that they are going to participate in a Think Write Pair Share. They will have a minute to brainstorm and write down ideas. I tell students to turn to their partner and share what wrote down. I walk around and listen to student conversation. Students are engaging in MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. If partners are silent, I have them go back to the think pair share guidelines and explain what they need to do. I ring the chime so students quiet down. If this takes too long, we practice again.
I tell students to go to the first column in the table and label it “partner”. I tell them that their job is to write down everything they remember their partner saying. This may take some students by surprise and they may not remember everything. After a little bit of time, I remind students that an important part of a Think Pair Share is listening. Sometimes we are so excited to share that we don’t concentrate on what our partner is sharing. I mention positive things I saw and heard as I was walking around.
I call on students to share out a reason math is important to them or their partner. I want students to understand that math skills are applicable to many things outside of school. Then I introduce the video I made. I explain that students need to take notes on how these people use math as they quietly watch the movie.
After the movie, we share out what they noticed. Then I mention that many careers use math. I tell students they are going to watch another video about how math skills can apply to a career. We watch the We Use Math video. I pause the video when they list a lot of jobs that involve math on the screen. I ask students to raise their hand if they know about one of the jobs and they explain that job to the class.
After the video I tell students to look at what they wrote down when they brainstormed about what math is important earlier. I give them a minute to add any more things they have thought of since they watched the two videos. I ask students, “Why is math important to you?” I call on volunteers to share out their ideas.
For Closure I ask students to reflect on the class period. What are specific things that we did well as a class? What are specific things we can improve on? How exactly can we improve them for tomorrow?
I show students where they should put their notes in their binder. Then I explain that many days students will end the day with a ticket to go and homework assignment. I explain that students do the ticket to go quietly and independently. It needs to be quiet so students can focus. On the bottom of the ticket to go, I ask them 4 questions about how they were in class today. I explain that they need to reflect and give themselves a number 0-4. I will reflect on what I noticed and give them a number 0-4. These numbers will be entered in my grade book and will make up their citizenship grades.
Right before class ends I review dismissal procedures and where students will turn in their ticket to go on the way out of class.
For the first day of class, I met the students outside my room and made sure they were in a line. I told them the expectations of coming into the room, getting a packet, greeting me, and finding their seat. Students started having conversations about seats, so I had them put down their binders, exit the class, and re-enter. I wanted students to make sure that they knew they needed to enter class, take a seat, record their homework, and start their do now quietly. After they had a few minutes to work on the do now, I stopped them and explained the last question. It is important to make short term goals to help stay focused, so what are you going to do so that we have a productive class? I gave students time to write down ideas and then we shared out. I also asked, "Why is it important to enter class efficiently and quietly start your do now?" I want students to recognize that we have a lot of important work to do and that we have no time to waste!
Throughout the first lesson I would ask students to use their fingers (0-5) to show our mastery of a procedure. Zero being the lowest and five being perfect. I find this is a way for students to make observations about areas of improvement, instead of me just saying that a particular procedure wasn't good enough. We take a few seconds to talk about how it could be improved next time. I also time procedures like responding to the quiet signal, passing in papers, and moving into groups. For each section, I post their fastest time for each procedure on the board. This gives students a sense of urgency and competition. I also compare times throughout a lesson and remind students that they need to do their best.
I introduced the ticket to go procedure and the reflection questions at the end. This was another opportunity to practice passing out and passing in papers. At the end of this lesson, I previewed the homework assignment with kids and explained the criteria for success.
I took students' birthdays from the ticket to go and filled out a birthday poster for each section. I posted it in my room. I plan on giving each student a birthday certificate that I bought at a teacher supply store. I have students that have summer birthdays celebrate their 1/2 birthday. This is a great way for me to build a sense of community with my students.