I don’t know about you guys, but when the end of the school year comes….. I start to reflect on the year that has passed. I start looking at the lessons that worked and the lessons that need another look over or scrapped all together. I think that if I ever get to the point where I feel I don’t need to better myself, it will be the year I should probably retire. With the changes in technology, the differences of the students, and the challenges that can be found with changing levels, a teacher should never feel “perfected” or even “good enough.”
In this book study, I am going to look back at the practices I’ve done in the past, and the practices I will incorporate into my classes next year. I hope this helps you in your plans.
Instructional Shift #1
“Incorporating ongoing cumulative review into every day’s lesson.”
Mr. Leinwand explains the importance of ongoing cumulative review in each day’s lesson. I do this with my “bell work.” Some teachers call them “bell ringers.” It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you have a handfull of questions at the beginning of the class period. Mr. Leinwand also explains the importance of starting each class on time and using good time management skills.
My students act like completely different children on days that I, for some odd reason (and very rarely), don’t have bell work on the board for them to start on. My bell work is usually about five to ten questions, and are always review problems. Most often, they are a couple of problems from the lesson the day before, a problem or two from other previous lessons, and maybe a question or two review problems that will be beneficial for their learning that day’s concept. These are questions that they should be able to do on their own, without any help.
I don’t take grades, or pick these bell work problems up. With bell work, I want students to not be afraid to try. I don’t want them to worry about a right or wrong answer (necessarily). I want them to think about, and work out the problems. I give my students about five minutes or so, after the bell has rung, to work and finish these problems. Once the vast majority of the students are finished, I pull a name out of a cup (picture shown), and one at a time, students (as I call them) work their appropriate problem on the board. Students at their desk are supposed to pay attention to how the student worked the problem on the board, and check their paper with it.
Bell work is important for many reasons: 1) Students need the constant review of previously learned skills, 2) Students need that structure in their day. They need routine. I often refer to my classroom as “structured chaos.” My students always know that when they walk in the room, they should begin working on their bell work (even though they need to be reminded often). While, between bells, my students may be visiting with their friends, all it takes to get them on task is to say, “you should be working on your bellwork.” It’s not just a random, “be quiet.” Students know what to do and will comply much easier.
Here is a picture of how I put bell work on my board. ps… these are not real questions. I just wrote some up there for a picture….
What I Need to Improve On
1. I need to plan my actual questions better. I generally just write a few random problems out of the top of my head, the evening before.
2. I need to use more higher-level thinking problems instead of just computational. As Mr. Leinwand suggested in the book, questions that require multiple skills and not just one simple computation.
3. Have a better way for students to “organize” this bell work in their binders.
In years past, students would just use scrap paper and throw their bell work away. This made the bell work seem unimportant. This last year students kept them on paper, in a section in their binder. It was still unorganized. For next year, I have made a printable that I will be using. I took it from the idea of “exit tickets.” You know, where you give students a question on a “ticket” and they must finish it, and hand it in as they leave the class. This one is a “Ticket to the Show.” They aren’t big enough for students to “show their work” on, but they can show their work on a different piece of paper and write the answers on the “ticket.” There are four tickets on a page, with the date. I will be copying them off as two-sided copies so that one whole week is on a page (front and back). I didn’t put numbers or anything on them, because I don’t always have the same number of problems. It’s just meant to be a “cute” way to keep bell work in order.
You can get this little freebie by clicking here or on the image below…..
Here is my question to you….. How do you (or do you?) incorporate cumulative review into your lessons? Will you keep it the same or will you change it up next year? I’m curious to know your thoughts on this!! I would LOVE it if you would leave a comment and let me know!
If you are a blogger, I would love for you to link up a blog post about how you incorporate ongoing review into your lessons!
If you would like to purchase the book and follow along with the book study, you can purchase it on Amazon by clicking my affiliate link here. Thanks!