One of My Favorites


This school year I am doing something I have never done in the 30 something years I  have been in education. I am teaching only one subject!  You would think that this would simplify my life and make things much easier.  In some ways that is true and in others it is not.  I find not having the same students all day makes it more difficult to create meaningful relationships with each of them.  Without meaningful relationships reaching and teaching students is difficult!    Time, that old enemy.  We can’t get enough and yet so many times we can’t wait for it to pass quickly!

With this in mind I am constantly looking for ways to stream line procedures in an effort to create more teaching and connecting time with my students.  Each of my five classes, grades 6-8, engage in daily instructional routines.  We use these routines as bell ringers as they are low threshold, high ceiling activities designed to promote critical thinking, number sense, problem solving, communication skills and the joint construction of knowledge.  At the beginning of the year I was finding that the logistics of these routines was taking up valuable time therefore, I created a Google Slide Presentation that I embed in my lesson plans on as well as a bell ringer form that students record their thinking and work on.  Since students are familiar with the routines they come into class, pick up their bell ringer form and begin thinking and working together on the routine that is projected on my interactive white board while I greet students and post attendance.  Not only has this form aided in creating more time for connecting and teaching, it has helped students stay more organized.  I am also finding that that more bell work is being turned in than before!


2 thoughts on “One of My Favorites

  1. Welcome to the 2017 Blogging Initiative! I’m also a middle school teacher, so I just had to check out your blog from the middle school list. Unfortunately, the list linked to an old post of yours from 2015, but I did find your post in the end.

    I also teach all three grades 6-8, so I know how tough it is to have three preps. I also start my classes with a bell ringer of sorts. I either ask a simple math problem whose answer is the date, or I get questions from our textbook website.

    I look forward to reading your blog the next three weeks!


    1. Thanks Dave! We are all in this together. I love my routines because they allow students to access the math where they are able. We spend time discussing our strategies which leads to the joint construction of knowledge. I am also able to bring a lot more math than what we are covering in our units. For example we practices measures of central tendency when we are engaging in Estimation 180 and many geometry ideas are covered in our Quick Draw explorations. These routines assure that my students will be exposed and have experience with many more ideas and concepts than in a classroom that simply follows a curriculum map. They also are a great way to add more practice and application to the content I am covering. Especially in my Think it Through Thursday routine. Looking forward to reading your blogs as well! Happy Mathing!


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