opening routines?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by scooter, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. scooter

    scooter New Member

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    Jul 10, 2006

    I just finished my first full year of teaching high school English. We used a daily MUG shot as our opening routine... it got the kids into their seats and focused on English, which was good, but there were also problems. First, I hate grading these & our curriculum is so writing intensive that it now seems stupid to create yet even more material to be graded. Second, the kids overwhelmingly hate the MUG shot.

    Anyone have any other types of opening routines that will help me avoid the "Okay everyone, open your books!!" thing everyday? Possibly something kids actually enjoy??


    Thanks!
    scooter
    :)
     
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  3. TheConspiracy

    TheConspiracy Companion

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    Jul 10, 2006

    I can only tell you what I plan on doing -

    I plan on my students doing a daily writing journal that is worth a substantial part of their grade. It will be informal response style jounraling. I plan on having a quote or topic or idea on the board every day that they must immediately come in and write down int their journal. They will be asked to repsond to these prompts every night as homework (10 mins of writing time is all that is required - about 1/2 a page).

    I'm hoping this will keep them focused when they come in. I plan on giving them 3 mins or so to write down the prompt and then I will begin instruction.

    This will be for all days except Wednesdays - on wednesdays I plan on having a short grammar mini-lesson (about 10 mins) and I will have a grammar definition on the board and an example along with 1-2 questions to reinforce. They will need to write this information down in their journal instead of a writing prompt.

    I don't know how well this will work - but I thought I would share.

    ~J
     
  4. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    Jul 10, 2006

    I always have a bellringer activity ready to go, and last year I used it as a review of previous material. For example, I would give them five of their vocabulary words and ask them to write sentences using four of them. We would discuss these as a class, and they would go in their notebooks, which were graded about once a month. Sometimes, if I felt they were all off task, i would walk around the room & take a "completion" grade on them....kept the kids working.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 10, 2006

    Well, you definitely don't want to go with something they hate! What is MUG shots? Is it like Caught 'Ya?
     
  6. EnglishMiss

    EnglishMiss Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2006

    I haven't heard of MUG shots, but I think the H.S. I attended did something similar in every English class. We called it Daily Oral Language - two sentences with blatant usage & mechanics errors written on the board, and kids copied it down and corrected it in their notebooks (not orally, go figure.) :) Yes, all the kids at my school hated it too.
    I'm thinking of doing a journal prompt each day, something for them to respond to in about the first 5 minutes of class. I like the idea of doing a review of vocab words; I was thinking also of a quote or question for them to respond to, or during my grammar units I might do a quick review of the grammar rule taught the day before (i.e., is this sentence right or wrong and what's the rule for why/why not?)
    TheConspiracy, I must say I like your idea of having the kids just write down the prompt and then complete it at home - saves class time.
    For other "journal-ers" out there, when grading, do you read every entry, or does that take forever to do? My cooperating teacher in student teaching used more of a skimming/read a few/look for completion grading system. ;-) How about you?
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    With journals (writing, reading and math) after the students have written several entries, they choose one to revise, edit and submit to me for evaluation.
     
  8. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    All of our students have agenda where they are [theoretically] supposed to write down assignments, homework & due dates.

    Every day I have our class agenda displayed on a powerpoint. I also have a journal question that relates / reviews / reinforces whatever we are covering inclass displayed on the same powerpoint.

    Kida are taught to come in the room, grab their journals [I keep them for them], fill out their agendas, answer the journal question in their journals to start class.

    It works pretty well. I don't grade the journals, but once a grading period we have a journal test. Kids who have kept up with their journals do really well on the test. Most do. Somehow they think that they are getting away woth someting becasue I let them use the journal on a test. Go figure.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 10, 2006

    6th Grade / Language Arts:

    The Bellringer will be on the board and must be completed when students enter the room. Students respond in their journal/notebook which I will collect, read, and score every Friday.

    Monday - Writing Prompt (generally "enjoyable" topics)
    Tuesday - Improving Sentences (grammar, spelling, structure, details, etc.)
    Wednesday - Debate Topic Day (Respond the debatable topic in their notebooks and then have the chance to discuss opinions with class)
    Thursday - Improving Sentences (grammar, spelling, structure, details, etc.)
    Friday - Current Events Writing Prompt
     
  10. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2006

    I graded journals once a month and had the students choose 5 and I would choose the other 5 to grade. Most of the time, I just skimmed for 5 more and made sure journal time was being used to write and not to chat. I also made sure to respond to the entries they asked me to look at. Yes, I know this means that I do not grade all 20-25 of the journals, but it didn't seem to be a problem.
     
  11. zoerba

    zoerba Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2006

    Well, this was elementary, but maybe you can adapt some of these ideas.

    When students came into my class last year (student teaching) the board was laid out with what they needed to do.

    At the top was a joke or riddle that they had to read and try to figure out.
    Next, two Daily oral language sentences
    then math boxes (Everyday Math)
    next usually a sentence that needed to be expanded upon, or the beginning of a story that would need to be finished such as, "I peered into the old castle and saw..."
    And finally, a science question. Such as, what country is at _degrees latitude and _degrees longitude?

    Students would write answers in their journals. We would correct/go over questions as a class.
     
  12. DotyMath

    DotyMath Rookie

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    Jul 16, 2006

    I teach math and science and ALWAYS have questions on the board to be answered as soon as the students enter the classroom. Rather than yell at them to get their notebooks open, as soon as the bell rings and I shut the door, I comment LOUDLY "I sure do like the way that Holly is finishing up her Daily Math Review" or "I am very impressed that Johnny is working so well on the Daily Oral Science Question". It sounds corny and cheesy, but believe it or not, it works. This strategy also works when I want my students to turn to a particular page number in their textbooks. I usually write the page number on the board and then search for someone who has made it to that page. "I really like the way that Preston has his book opened to page 439" "Three people have their books opened to the right page, can we get three more?"
    Has anyone else tried this? Did it work for you?
     
  13. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 16, 2006

    Doty, that definitely worked on my 4th graders the last few years.

    I was just thinking that next year I would not grade the Do Nows, but instead I'd have a question about them on a weekly quiz. There would be 2-3 questions about the week's Do Nows (math) such as "what was the answer to Wednesday, question 3?" and "Copy the question from Monday, question 1. I would do it orally on scrap paper and each class would get different questions so 1st period isn't at a disadvantage. It would basically be a 3-minute notebook quiz but just on the Do Now Section. I'd try to balance it between effort and actually getting hte question right by asking for students to tell me some questions and some answers from the week. I think I would make it 10 points. (A regular quiz is 25 points.)

    Anyone have any suggestions or forsee any problems doing this?
     
  14. DotyMath

    DotyMath Rookie

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    Jul 16, 2006

    paperheart - I did something like that with my 7th grade math class the first year I taught. They were to answer short questions about their daily type work. Well, unfortunately, they decided NOT to do the math problems until the day of the quiz. This took them forever to finish and most missed the questions. I do give "notebook tests" for my science kids, which work well, but I don't recommend it for math. Do you teach 7th grade math?
     
  15. DotyMath

    DotyMath Rookie

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    Jul 16, 2006

    ALSO - I do notebook checks for math. Sometimes I walk around and check them, sometimes I have them turn in certain parts of their notebooks, and sometimes I take up their entire notebook. Keeps them on their toes...
     
  16. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 17, 2006

    Thanks, Doty. I'll be teaching 7th Math. It is a switch from elementary (most recently departmentalized Reading).

    I'm going to have to think if there is a way to overcome that issue you mentioned. I see your point.
     
  17. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Jul 17, 2006

    I'm still trying to decide exactly what I want to do, but something I am thinking about sense writing has become such an important part of the curriculum is:

    Monday: Students come into room where a writing prompt will be on the SmartBoard, they will write an opening paragraph to that prompt.
    Tuesday: They write their second paragraph using their first point.
    Wednesday: Third paragraph using second point.
    Thursday: Fourth paragraph using third point.
    Friday: Conclusion paragraph.

    I thought by doing this, I can spend more time on mechanics in class and they can start to integrate those into their writing, plus they are writing one essay a week that way.

    I may not do this every week because I have thought of using Caught Ya's as well.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2006

    I'm in a Catholic School, so as the bell rings we begin a prayer. But phrase like "let's get started" would work as well.

    As the kids enter the room, their Do Now (math) problems are on the board. It's enough work to keep them busy for about 2-3 minutes as I take attendance, walk around and check the homework. It's always either a lead in to today's assignment or a review question like one they can expect to see on the next test. If they don't do it, we don't go over it, and they can expect a quiz on the material tomorrow. They tend to do the Do Now!

    Then I go over the homework for a few minutes and get right to today's topic.
     
  19. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2006

    I start with a different focus and activities everyday.

    Sometimes, I dressed up in a costume (I was teaching in a 6th grade world history class that was mostly about cultures).

    Then on others days I had different focuses, sometimes started with music, taught my students how to Samba and do different things.

    I try to make it different everyday so that they are learning something but it is not the same old same old.
     
  20. MrsAcord

    MrsAcord Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2006

    This is what we do in our 5th grade, put it is possible to work at any grade. We have Cinco first thing. Cinco is 5 questions that are a quick review. The questions come from areas we may be done with, but it keeps them fresh in their minds. You could take something that they are currently struggling on. They don't get a grade for this. They earn points for an auction at the end of each quarter. Point could be accumulated for specific rewards instead of an auction.
     
  21. Gia Lew

    Gia Lew Rookie

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    I like JustMe's Monday through Friday morning agenda. Is their score part of their writing grade? Is this something that has to be taken home over the weekend? Also, my only concern is Mon.-Wed. -Fri. do they have a guideline to follow in terms of HOW to repsond to a writing-debate-current event prompt. Do you teach this before you begin this 5 day morning work idea?
     
  22. sciencenerd

    sciencenerd New Member

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    Jul 19, 2006

    One of the teachers at my school uses mini-mystery books. He said he got them at Barnes and Noble, anyway he typed the stories in larger font and turned them into overhead transparencies.
    He read them aloud to the class and they had to solve the mystery. You can turn this into a "crime report" where they have to report about the crime, and use the information in the story to have quotes and so on like a newspaper article.
    You can kinda make it into a daily contest as well, whoever writes the best one will get something (retype it onto a newspaper like paper and hang it in the class, whatever).
    But you're gonna cover alot with this type of activity; comprehension, writing skills, grammar, etc.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I like this idea... I'll definitely use it with my grade 7's and 8's next year...great for inference!
     
  24. E Bunni 99

    E Bunni 99 Rookie

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    I just keep a warm-up posted on the board the students complete as they come into the classroom. It varies every day- some are graded activities- some are not. The warm-ups can be journals, completing a grammar worksheet, review questions from a reading assignment, or even just take out a piece of paper and a pencil. This keeps me free to do what I wish and to make sure every day the warm-up is perfect for that day and my grading mood!
     
  25. zus_123

    zus_123 Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2006

    Do you know the names of the books he used to do this?
    Thanks!
     
  26. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 20, 2006

    E bunni...I used to work the first 5 minutes the same way too. It was a great, flexible way of handling a social studies class.

    Next year I was thinking of having a piece of fabric that would cover the warm ups after the 5 minutes were over so they would actually stop when the time is up. They are going to keep them in their binder rather than turn them in. The first person in from the next period would just clip it up with a clothespin. Any thoughts?
     

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