Monday, September 27, 2010

A Warm-Up Solution That Works For Me

This year I am doing something that is really working well for me. At our school we are required to give daily warm-ups. If you don't count them for a grade, most students will not do them. If you do count them for a grade, they are a pain in the rear to collect and grade and record. Last year, I took them up every Friday and gave a completion grade for them, but even then, the task of looking at over 150 papers every weekend in addition to other assignments that needed grading became too much for me.

This year, I have been working hard to encourage my students to keep neat and organized notebooks. They have a warm-up section, a note section etc. After each warm-up I will say, now, make sure this warm-up has the date on it and make sure you place it in your warm-up sections. During the notes, I constantly remind them about the importance of the date, title, etc.

So I came up with this idea, or I stole it from someone, I can't remember which, of giving Binder Quizzes.

The Binder Quiz serves two purposes. I am able to grade their warm-ups without ever taking them up, and two, I get to see who is keeping their notebook in good working order.

We take a binder quiz the day before every major exam. In the quiz, I ask them all sorts of questions like, "On Sept 17, what was the answer to warm-up #1, or on Sept 20, what was the title of your notes, or In topic 2-1, what was the answer to example 3.

They have 5 minutes to complete the quiz. If their binder is in order, they will finish in about three. If they have to dig through their back packs to find their papers, it is impossible to complete in 5 minutes.

Here are two examples from the same class. One person who keeps up with their stuff and one who has never brought his binder to my class one single time.

I can not begin to tell you how much this Binder Quiz has helped me this year. I am no longer stressed about grading warm-up and overall my kids are doing better than ever about keeping a neat and organized binder where they can quickly find their resources when they need them.


Kim said...

I call mine notebook checks. I figured this out after my first year of teaching when I was overwhelmed with homework assignments. My notebook checks are similar to yours - do it right before a test, written quiz format. I don't time it, mainly because I have a lot of ESE kids that can barely FIND their notebook in 5 minutes. But I tell them that the following things are fair game: daily warmups (like you, I ask for them by date), homework assignments, and class notes. I think these types of checks are the best thing since sliced bread!

ER said...

I do HW CHecks, but it is over HW only. I like this, you could add targets (what I call objectives) or even important examples you have done in class. I will probably stick with straight HW checks this year, but hopefully will have the opportunity to change things up a little next year.

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