Elissa posted her weekly warm-up schedule, and it inspired me to think about how I want to structure my warm-ups this year.
2014-2015 Weekly Bellwork Schedule
Well, I’ve decided on my weekly bellwork schedule for the upcoming school year. This past year, I had 3 special weekly tasks – Good Things Mondays, Weird and Wacky Wednesdays, and Friday Funnies.
All year long, my students begged for something to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I never implemented anything on these days because I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted to do on a weekly basis.
This school year, I am aiming for consistency. So, I decided to start off the school year with a small activity for each day. These are short activities that don’t take a lot of time. Good Things probably takes the longest. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve learned so much about my students from doing Good Things–things they probably wouldn’t share otherwise.
Good Things Monday
At the beginning of class, students will have the opportunity to share with the class a good thing that has happened recently in their life.
Plenty of bad things were shared too…
Every Tuesday, I will research a fun trivia fact to share with my classes.
I had trouble finding trivia that my students found interesting.
On Wednesdays, we will begin class by playing a game (or two) (or three) of Witzzle for a piece of candy.
This and Good Things Monday were the hits of the week. These were the two days students would complain if they missed!
I love brain teasers. Every Thursday, I will select a brain teaser to share with my students. I will set a timer for 3 minutes or so and give the students a chance to work on the problem. This is going to be hard for me, but I’m not going to give my students the answers.
My kids make fun of my jokes. A lot. They give me pity laughs so I don’t feel bad about myself. But, it’s fun. And, I enjoy looking up a joke or two to share with my students on Fridays. It lightens the mood. I stole the Friday Funnies idea from Lisa Henry.
Students were also invited to share a joke with the class. Sometimes I would show a comic strip or two. Most of the time was spent talking about how terrible of a joke teller Ms. Hagan was. It has become a running joke throughout the school. I’m known as the crazy cat lady who can’t tell a decent joke.
2015-2016 Weekly Warm-Up Schedule
Here’s the current plan for 2015-2016.
I’ve decided to keep Good Things and Witzzle since they were hits. I’m replacing Trivia and Funnies with short games. Brain Teasers are sticking around, but I’m changing the name of the day.
Good Things Monday – Students can share a good thing with the class. I need to work on teaching students to be respectful when other students are sharing their good things which has always been a problem in the past.
Taboo Tuesday – I always get a kick out of playing this game with students. This is one of those games I pull out when they call a class meeting and 80% of my class walks out the door. Though, I’ve changed the game set-up a bit to work in my classroom. Here’s how I plan to use it on Tuesdays at the beginning of the class.
I’ll create probably 4 taboo cards for the class. 2 will be fun and will be stolen from the actual board game. The other 2 will be math vocab words. I will use a random name generator to choose 4 students to be the guesser. On each student’s turn, they will turn so their back is to the SMART Board. I will put up the taboo card on the board. The card has the word the class is trying to get the student to guess AND words they aren’t allowed to say. The class will take turns trying to get the student to say the correct word.
Wednesday Witzzle – We’ll play 3 rounds of Witzzle. I’ll keep with my tradition of giving them two positive target numbers and one negative target number. They always complain about the negative numbers, but it’s exciting to see them improve in that area as the year progresses.
Train Game Thursday – I meant to blog about this at the end of last year, but it hasn’t happened yet. Last Christmas, my sister gave me the game 20 Express by Blue Orange Games. The game is pretty quick. It involves lots of thinking about probability. There is strategy and luck involved. I played it with my students last year, and they really enjoyed it. The scoring system is a bit difficult for students to wrap their minds around at first. And, I had a few problems with students trying to cheat.
But, other than that, it was a fun and engaging game. For the rest of the year, students kept begging, “Are we ever going to get to play that train game again?”
Of course I had to make a new set of posters for my new weekly warm-up schedule.