I'm revamping my Math program a bit this year and I'm thinking of having part of that be a 5 point "serious thinking" time in which the students would work on a set of problems for say 5+ minutes. They would get only as much done as they could but it would be a time where they needed to work as hard as they could on the problems at hand. There are a couple of thoughts that are bouncing around in my head... ~Is 5 minutes too much time or not enough time for 5th grade? ~How to determine if a kid is really working on their problems vs. day-dreaming or meandering around in his/her head? ~Will it be hard to do a 5 pt participation type grade on this? What are your thoughts teachers?

I think it depends on the problems. Would these be problems that you are currently teaching (or have taught during the year) or would these be more difficult word problems and brain teasers?

I was thinking about this today and thought I should clarify more of what I'm thinking... So we have a 50 min math period and a brand new Math series called "My Math." It comes with a workbook for each student and the workbook has both an Independent practice page and a Homework page. I was thinking that I would use the Independent practice page for the 5 minute "serious thinking time." Then we would correct them (however much they got finished in that amount of time). Anyone that got a 90% or higher on their Independent Practice page would get that page graded for homework... anyone who did not would get more instruction and then have the Homework page to do. That is really what I should have put in the original post! WHOOPS! So what do we think of this idea?

I think that you might want 5-10 minutes depending on the concept that you are working on. But it would definitely be a great way to see if the students understand what was taught. You'll know if kids are working because their goal should be to finish as many problems as they can. I wouldn't tell the students about the 90% rule. Also, if a student only completes 2 problems in the 5 minutes, they probably need more practice (even if they got both problems correct). They need to work on building fluency. I think that the participation grade could be as simple as you want to make it. But I'm not sure you even need to assign a grade to it if it is classwork. On another note...a friend of mine does this the day after she teaches a lesson. So all the students have homework on a concept. Then the next day, she has the students solve ten minutes of problems which determines what the student works on during class time and how much reteaching she needs to do.