Procedure: Play music and give the students the following instructions:
- Set your things down in your seats
- Get a whiteboard pen and go to a whiteboard
- Complete the Warm Up.
Because my whiteboards are panel boards and are NOT magnetic, I bought little plastic clips from Dollar Tree to hold warm up problems on each whiteboard. The students know not to write on the warm up sheets and they stay up for all of my classes.
I get my warm ups from: Open Middle, Visual Patterns, Illustrative Mathematics, Engage NY, and our online textbook Pearson Digits (I re-type them etc...)
Management Note: At first I tried posting the warm up on our TV monitor but it was difficult for the students to see and they would leave their whiteboard to go read and then they would socialize and I ended up having students "gathering around the monitor". The second way was to push the questions out digitally on the Chromebooks - saving paper right?? Again this ended up taking too much time because the students would lollygag and check their grades etc... I want them up and doing math as soon as they get into the classroom!
Here is how having students begin math class on whiteboards has shifted the learning and teaching in my classes.
- They want different colored whiteboard pens so that each person's contribution can be seen
- They are up and moving and not able to hide behind their Chromebooks or pretend to be writing work on a piece of paper or in a notebook.
- They are willing to take risks, try to work things out, and learn from their mistakes
- They have meaningful math conversations and are thinking critically and discussing
- They are showing multiple representations - this is the way I did it... that is the way she/he did it
- We see everyone's personality dancing on our walls
- During the warm up I am able to get around to each group and have meaningful math conversations with my students. I ONLY ask questions to keep them moving, get them unstuck, or to extend their thinking if they are close to finishing up.
- If the students are struggling, I do not help them, as stated above - I only ask questions!
- I let any/all answers stay up whether they are right or wrong so we can discuss as a class and the students learn from each other which takes the stigma out of making and learning from their mistakes.
- I take notes on misconceptions and direct my instruction accordingly. If all of the groups are struggling on the same thing then I go over it during whole class instruction. Otherwise, I give each group personalized support in the moment.
- I am flexible with the needs of my students:
- Some of my students were very fearful of putting "their math" on the board for everyone to see. For those students, I provided a copy of the warm up and they could complete it at their seats. This was only about 1 - 4 students each period. Once they got over their fear and observed how it worked, they were up and at the whiteboards with the others. The students still have to do the work, but I'm flexible with their needs because so much goes on with middle schoolers from period to period.
- Gallery Walks - now that the students are getting more comfortable with each other, I'd like them to start looking at each other's work and place stars and/or question marks to whole class discussions: I like how you... Can you explain how you...
- We've started writing explanations of mathematical thinking but now I want to have the students write group explanations on the whiteboards which will hopefully lead to better individual explanations.
- Flipgrid, Padlet, Google Suite etc... - Digital sharing of work and thinking!
- More student led learning of mathematics
- Whatever else we can think of...