I Made a Simple Change to my Classroom Warm Ups and saw Surprising Results!I have always done bellwork, or a "Do Now" when kids come into class. I have always made those either an open ended question to what we are doing now, or a review question or test question from what we did yesterday. This year I am changing it around, and I have to say I am very happy with the results. I wrote more about my bellwork routines here
Students can't test well when they can't understand the questionsI have a lot of kids whose reading scores are very low this year (average reading level about 4th grade, give or take, in 7th and 8th), and a lot of SPED and ELL kids. This is discussed further in this post
What I did to focus on vocabularyI decided to focus bellwork on those "tier 2" vocabulary words. You know, the ones that are not content specific, but kids don't know....words like
essential, abundant, similar, variation....
Each day I put up a word and either use it in a sentence, or put pictures with it, and then have the kids do two things:
- infer the meaning of the word
- use it in a sentence of their own.
Some examples are in in these inferring vocabulary resources.
At the end of the week bellwork is a matching quiz on those words. I am so happy to report that the end of the week quizzes have been great. I'm hearing things like "I know these! These are the words we've been doing"
To make sure we are quizzing/reviewing content, I'm doing a ticket out at the end of each class. It really allows them to settle down and process, puts a good closure to the class, and I can catch misconceptions before they go. They are in the habit now of handing me their ticket out on the way out.
I have also worked with them on vocabulary using the strategies discussed here but I have found a focus during warm ups to be one of the most effective strategies.
I have seen a dramatic improvement in their confidence levels, their comprehension, and their overall test scores.