I’ve been trying to incorporating more writing in my classes. I say this every year, but now I actually have a battle plan.

My bellwork is normally just a quick skills practice from the day before or a skill that will make the lesson go smoother. However, I’m now giving my students writing as their bellwork once or twice per week. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it’s definitely an improvement over what I had been doing.

Here are some of the writing prompts my students have had. Notice that I frequently have to remind them to write in complete sentences :(

How do you incorporate writing into your math classes?

Bellwork borders by Mad Clips Factory

I love this! We are trying to convince all teachers at our school to use writing to learn. Our math teachers have been a hard sell, but this is a perfect example of how to use it in math class!

ReplyDeleteHonestly, it took me a little while to buy in too. However, I finally realized that even when students can articulate a concept verbally, that doesn't always mean that they can write it as well. After doing this, I've noticed that many of my students don't write at the same level that they speak. I think math teachers just need to see examples of how it actually works in class.

DeleteWonderful idea! I am fortunate to get a second chance at starting over in mid-January. The high school where I teach is on block schedule. I will definitely be incorporating your bell-work model into my classroom. I learned early in my career the importance of going beyond the correct answer. I still remember working one-on-one with a student so I took the time to ask how she arrived at her answer. I was shocked to realize she was lucky enough to arrive at a correct answer even though her mathematics was completely incorrect! The lesson I learned that day made me realize the power of asking Why?, How do you know? and Explain your thinking.

ReplyDeleteIn the past my mistake has been to give up too quickly when students push back about writing in a mathematics class or when faced with keeping pace with the curriculum team. I love your questions and am going to commit to making 2 bellworks a week writing. Thank you for your post.

Joanne

It sounds interesting that you get to start over in January! I was one of those kids that could "stumble" on the correct answer. I really struggled with math in high school, so I understand where some of my students are coming from. I'm lucky enough to be the leader of both of the curriculum teams that I am on, so I can tweak the schedule.

DeleteOne of my standard writing prompts is "Your friend was absent, explain to them how to...." and I make them write in complete sentences. Another good one is to do a problem, but make a common mistake and have the students explain the mistake, re-do the problem, and explain how they can keep from making the same kind of mistake. Hopefully, those two ideas will keep you going for awhile :)

Happy first day of school again (in January)!

I would like to incorporate this into my daily 40 minute period (which feels like only 5 minutes of actual teaching ;-) I have class sizes around 26ish for most periods, but some have 30. Where do you have the students write their responses? Do you check every student's paper daily? Do you score them? I abandoned bell work a few years back because I only had the same 5 kids completing them, and that was due to the fact that I wasn't collecting them or holding them accountable. But I am already collecting and grading (scale of 6 to 10)their exit tickets. What method works for you?

ReplyDeleteMrs. H, I typically had students put their responses in their bellwork (warmup) notebook. I have a post explaining a little more about it here: http://mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com/2014/08/bellwork-keeps-me-sane_23.html

ReplyDeleteSometimes I graded bellwork and sometimes I didn't, but I never told students ahead of time. I sometimes pretended to grade bellwork (I know, I know!)

To "grade" bellwork I did a few things:

- Walk around the class checking kid's names off of a list on a clipboard - My students thought this was super official and got to work quickly when I did this. I always threw those lists in the trash at the end of the day :)

- Walk around the class with a red marker and put check marks on the pages of the kids that were working - same effect as above

- Take a few notebooks out of the cabinet and write notes inside - I didn't do this often, but it would always freak them out a little. My response was usually a very chill, "Yeah, I check your work" with a puzzled look on my face.

- Call random students up to put their work on the board - I tried not to do this often, but sometimes it happened...

Mrs. H, I typically had students put their responses in their bellwork (warmup) notebook. I have a post explaining a little more about it here: http://mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com/2014/08/bellwork-keeps-me-sane_23.html

ReplyDeleteSometimes I graded bellwork and sometimes I didn't, but I never told students ahead of time. I sometimes pretended to grade bellwork (I know, I know!)

To "grade" bellwork I did a few things:

- Walk around the class checking kid's names off of a list on a clipboard - My students thought this was super official and got to work quickly when I did this. I always threw those lists in the trash at the end of the day :)

- Walk around the class with a red marker and put check marks on the pages of the kids that were working - same effect as above

- Take a few notebooks out of the cabinet and write notes inside - I didn't do this often, but it would always freak them out a little. My response was usually a very chill, "Yeah, I check your work" with a puzzled look on my face.

- Call random students up to put their work on the board - I tried not to do this often, but sometimes it happened...