After my viral Twitter post, I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding my daily Do Now/warm-up activities. I have broken down our routines here for anyone interested in learning more!
MUG Monday: Every Monday, I give students a handout with two grammatically incorrect sentences. They have three or four minutes to correct these independently. Afterward, I project these sentences on the whiteboard and they make corrections as a class. Students are only allowed to make one correction when they come up to the board, and I encourage students to only come up once, in order to increase overall class participation. If they get both sentences correct, I give the entire class an extra credit point. This makes a marginal difference in their grade, but it makes them more engaged and invested in making their corrections. In fact, when students disagree with a grammar correction, they get super passionate about it and even debate about it! If they are really on the fence about a correction, they typically take a vote on it as a class, “Raise your hand if you feel like we should add a comma here!” And you will hear students remind each other of grammatical rules, “If you do that, it’s no longer in parallel structure!” Whether or not they get the sentences correct, I go over the grammatical corrections afterward to make sure everyone in the class understands them. Making grammar interesting has been a challenge, but I found that students really enjoy this! This was an idea adopted by Laura Randazzo! You can find her MUG activities on her Teachers Pay Teachers store. While I eventually made my own sentences, this was a great starting point!
Term Tuesday: Every Tuesday, we start class with notes on a different literary device or literary element. I do this with both my freshmen and my juniors. While some of these terms may be review for some students, I have a rule that I do not expect any students to know something that I did not personally teach them. So whether it is brand new information for a student or review for them, I think it is important to go over these literary terms and phrases that they will hear in English class and will use to better understand and analyze text. I typically give students the phrase, a definition, and an example in their notes, and then some type of task. For example, if their term is “Metaphor,” their task may be to come up with a metaphor for how they feel about school. If their term is plot structure, they may have to tell me the plot structure of their favorite movie. They then have time to share with the person next to them and then as a class. They keep all of their Term Tuesday notes in one running document in Google Docs on Google Classroom and they have an open note quiz at the end of the semester! I also got this idea from Laura Randazzo! I have since changed the notes, added/taken away different terms, etc., but her Term Tuesdays gave me this idea and a starting point for what I do with my classes!
Word Wednesday: Every Wednesday, students get five vocabulary words. (You may have guessed it, but this was also an idea from Laura Randazzo!). I created a graphic organizer for these words for students to better interact with them! I provide the definition, and they come up with an original sentence, synonyms, antonyms, and a drawing associated with each word. The following week, they are quizzes on 2 of the words.
Thinking Thursday: Thursdays are dedicated to what most teachers think of when it comes to warm-ups or do now activities. It is essentially a free-write activity. I ask students a question, typically that has to do with our unit, whether it’s engaging their prior knowledge, asking them to reflect, or sharing their opinion on a controversial issue. I usually give them between 5 and 10 minutes to write, depending on the prompt, and then they share with a partner, and then as a class. Thinking Thursdays can be anything from us watching a video and then reacting, analyzing a political cartoon, answering what they would do in a particular question, and more!
Fact Friday: In the beginning of the semester, I introduce the concept of Fact Fridays. Each Friday, two students will report a current event that happened that week to the class. Students sign up for their Friday the first or second week of school (I have a calendar in Google Classroom of the sign-ups and I remind students when it is their week). While students know about their week in advance, because their current event must happen during their week, it is not something they can work on before their assigned week. During their assigned week, they choose a current event, reported by a reliable source, and they write two paragraphs. One paragraph is a summary of the event and another paragraph is a reaction to the event. On their Friday, they present both their summaries and their reactions to the class. This allows students a low-stakes way to practice their speaking and presentation skills, hopefully making larger presentations less scary, and to also touch upon the speaking standards. The rest of the class listens, and then writes their own reactions and questions they have (touching upon the listening standards). Not only does this activity hit all four ELA standards, but it is a way for all students to be more aware of current events. This idea was inspired by the teacher Schooled by Stultz who does a version of this, called What’s Up Wednesdays!
I love having strong routines in our classroom and I have found that students enjoy the variety of warm-ups, rather than just writing warm-ups (Thinking Thursdays) every day. Sometimes, I change this routine out of necessity, like if we are working on essays and need the full class period, we didn’t have school on Monday so I opted for grammar on Tuesday instead, etc. Part of teaching is being flexible and it’s okay to deviate from this routine when you need to. I have also done variations of this week. With my juniors, I have done MUG Monday, Term Tuesday, and typical writing Do Nows for Wednesdays-Fridays, for example. There is not one perfect formula that works for all teachers or all students, but hopefully this will give you a starting point to think about your classroom routines, and different ways to engage and support your scholars!
I would love to hear what routines you have in your classrooms in the comments below!