professional development · teaching resources

Class Starters

myfav

As part of the #MTBoS initiative, week 2 asks us to post something that we consider our favorite.  I have been wanting to compile a list of all of my favorite was to start a class to be able to share with the teachers I coach and to have it all in one spot.  So the perfect storm is creating this post!

Last year was what I considered my transition year.  I moved out of the regular classroom and became an enrichment and intervention teacher.  It was a “specials” class or related arts is what we call it at my school.  Teaching this class allowed me the flexibility to try out some of the things I have always wanted to do in the regular class.  One of the things I got to try was different types of class starters.  Here are the ones I tried (and a few I didn’t but wanted too).

  1. WODB (Which One Doesn’t Belong) – I really like the discussions surrounding which one doesn’t belong.  There’s not one right answer which is perfect for all students to be able to participate.  In order to get past the obvious answers that are not necessarily math related, I made the students give me 6 different examples of what they though didn’t belong.  Usually the first 2 or 3 were not mathematical, but then the next answers would represent more mathematical reasoning.  The students got better with more practice.

shape14

2. Visual Patterns – This is great to use in the middle school because you can help the students make tables, write equations, and graph the situation.  It was tough for the students at first, but I got to the point where I could give them an equation, table, or graph and they could actually create their own visual patterns.  Fawn has done a great job with this website and I know a lot of blog posts have been written on using visual patterns.  There are so many ways you could go with this.  Just a great resource to have on hand if you teach middle school.

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3.  Estimation 180 – My students would BEG to do Estimation 180 which is funny because at first I had a lot of resistance.  I know tons of people on the #MTBoS use Estimation 180 and there are a tons of resources for using Andrew’s posts.  Seriously, if you don’t know about Estimation 180, stop reading now and go check it out.  You’ll use it on Monday for sure.  Building estimation skills in students is so important for them to understand reasonableness in their answers.  They will stop saying, “But I know that’s the answer because that’s what the calculator said.”

4.  Open Middle – I also really like Open Middle.  The students don’t like it as much because it makes them think, so they think it’s “hard.”  But if you can hit that sweet spot where you pick a problem that they feel like they can easily get the answer, they will work hard on it until they get the answer.  I also really like this site because it’s broken down by grade level and depth of knowledge.  Here’s an example:

Open middle

5. Math Mistakes – Truth time here.  I’ve never actually use this site with the students, but boy, I could see the benefits!  I also think it could be used really well in PD sessions with teachers to spark conversations.  I have always wanted to use this site.  I think looking at mistakes is really important for developing a deeper understanding of math.  If you use this site with your students, please let me know how it went!  I want to try it and would love some perspective before I did.

6. Agree or Disagree – I also never got to use this site in my classroom.  I found it a long time ago and he has updated it since I first wanted to use it.  Talk about developing Math Practice 3!  Students would defend their answers and critic the reasoning of others.  Please let me know if you have an any success using this in the classroom as well.

OK!  Enough of that.  I hope someone finds this list helpful.  Like I said, I’ve just always wanted one spot for this list and my blog seems like the perfect place.  I would love to hear from anyone who has used any of these sites.  I want to share this with my teachers, but having evidence that it works is very powerful for them.  Thanks for hanging with me on this post!

 

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7 thoughts on “Class Starters

  1. I’m a big fan of the first 3 math class starters you listed. When doing PD with teachers having them create their own estimation 180s then sharing was a great way to curate some local content. Lately I’ve been using Graphing Stories with my grade 9s. This reminds that Would You Rather Math is another one I want to try with my classes. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a big fan of the first 3 math class starters you listed. When doing PD with teachers having them create their own estimation 180s then sharing was a great way to curate some local content. Lately I’ve been using Graphing Stories with my grade 9s. This reminds that Would You Rather Math is another one I want to try with my classes. Thanks!

    Like

  3. A lovely list! The thing about mathmistakes.org is that I don’t use it much in class either. I mostly just like thinking about student work — that itself helps me with my teaching.

    I know that a lot of teachers want to use these mistakes in class. Someday, I’d love to spend time turning some of these mistakes into usable activities. But, seeing as these activities are a really minor part of my teaching life, I don’t know exactly when this will happen.

    Who knows? Maybe someday soon! I’m always thinking about ways to make my site more helpful, but right now a lot of my energies are in other directions. Alas!

    Like

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