I am really experimenting with the first 10 minutes of class lately. It is my 10 minutes of whole group time. On Mondays, we play "the White Board Game" for state test review and to keep something consistent. Any other day is up for grabs.
With my first ten minutes I am trying to accomplish a couple tasks. First, general review of a learning target. Second, practice and feedback for every student on a learning target. Third, exposure to all the types of problems on a learning target.
Students can work different "levels" of a learning target in my room. So a 7th grader may practice most of their time working on circumference of a circle, but never practice finding the "arc length" of a sector of a circle. So I at least want all students to have exposure to that type of problem.
One of my favorite activities to open class with is My Favorite No. If you have never seen the video on Teaching Channel, you should watch it. Pretty cool stuff. (Here)
So I have expanded "my favorite no" to include student choice. I started with posting 2 problems instead of 1. The problems were on different "levels." The students were asked to answer at least 1 of the problems.
An 8th grade example would be two Pythagorean theorem questions. 1 question was about finding a missing leg of a right triangle. The second question was solving a distance formula problem from 2 coordinate points. When I did this with the 8th grade students, most students answered 1 question only. It led to two quick discussions of each problem. The best positive out of this was that the "level 2" students, saw a level 3 problem, and some thought that it didn't look that hard and were inspired to go try level 3 stuff.
Last week with the 7th grade I expanded it even further. I posted 3 questions. 1 from each of the Levels (2, 3 and 4). I asked students to try 2 of the questions. It was on Circumference of a circle.
Level 2: Find the circumference given the radius.
Level 3: Find the radius given the circumference.
Level 4: Find the arc length of a sector.
The good news was that most students answered 2 questions, and some answered all three. All students were exposed to the arc length problem. Some students even used notes from the My Favorite No to skip the video, and go right into the level 4 practice. I am okay with this as long as they write down their notes and get the practice done with some feedback. The goal is learning right?
So I am at a point now where I am trying to plan the progression of my first ten minutes to lead students through all 4 levels of the learning target. Sometimes this is difficult with students going at different paces. However, in the end it seems to be a good review for some, exposure for the others, and good practice for the rest.
So my first ten minutes of class are taken up by:
White Board Game
My Favorite No
Daily Algebra Challenge (thatquiz.org)
Peer Instruction (also leveled)
Other Various quick games
So a progression through all levels of a learning target could stretch over a 1-2 weeks. Using the various activities above to slowly progress through all the levels of a learning target.
Now if I could just make my last 5 minutes of class as productive...