Thursday, January 9, 2014

Monday Morning Math Game: "you down with WBG, yeah you know me..."

Blogging Challenge:  Day 2
Share an organizational tip from your classroom.

When I started, I struggled with the idea of bell work, especially on a Monday.  I solved it with this idea, that I totally stole from some teacher at a MN Teacher's Conference (MCTM) many years ago.

Every Monday, we start class with what the kids call the "White Board Game" (WBG for short).  The "game" is pretty simple and takes the first 10 minutes of class.

1. The students are grouped into teams of 3-4.  My room is always arranged in a groups so this is no problem.  Each team gets 1 small piece of white board and a white board marker.  (hence the name of the game).

2.  I display 3-4 questions on the smartboard.  They are math related questions.  Sometimes they are related to our current learning target, sometimes they are more math puzzles.  I get a lot of the questions from the MathCounts handbook.  (here)  

3. The timer begins when the bell rings to begin class.  I give them anywhere from 4-7 minutes depending on the questions.  They must place all their answers (only their answers) on the white board and place the white board at the front of the room before the time is up.  (with answers facing the whiteboard, hidden from the class).  If they get their board up in time, they get a bonus point.

"Wait, where do I get that many pieces of white board" - a lot of teachers ask
The trick is go to to a Home Depot type store.  I found a 8' x 4' sheet of whiteboard.  I had them cut it into roughly 1 foot by 1 foot squares.  I suddenly had 32 small white boards for less than $20.

4. Students must also write down the problems and work in their notebook.  This just helps with everyone participating.

5. A scorekeeper is assigned each week.  They turn the boards around, reveal the answers on the smartboard, and of course, keep score.  The winning team(s) get a small reward (jolly rancher, werther's, small sucker, etc...)  Students then volunteer strategies to solve the questions and it becomes some review as well.

This starts off every Monday in a fun way and I rarely have anyone late on Monday.  Even when students have to go to the bathroom they will either hold it or get yelled at by their group for abandoning them during WBG.

I am sorry to the teacher that I stole this from.  It was years ago and I can not remember your name.   Thank you though, your idea has given my students and myself years of fun and excitement.



  1. What a great tip! Thanks for sharing! The bit about the whiteboards is totally true. Around here, if you tell the folks at Home Depot or Lowes you are a teacher, they will even cut them for free.

  2. What a great way to start the week. I'm going to give this a try.