How To Effectively Use Daily Warm-Ups In Middle School Math

January 2, 2023 The Teaching Files No Comments
Daily math warm up system that is easy to implement and effective

Learning how to effectively use daily warm-ups in middle school math is simple. With a system that is simple, easy to maintain, and targeted, using daily bell ringers with your students can be super effective. If you’ve been looking for how to incorporate daily math warm-ups with your students without the extra work, keep reading as I break down the system I use in my classroom.

Why Use Daily Warm Ups In Middle School Math

Reinforcing Previous Grade Level’s Standards

As a middle school math teacher, you know how many gaps we have to try to close year after year. And to be completely real, a lot of the time we just don’t have the time to replace grade level lessons with previous grade’s standards as full on lessons. The reason this is so problematic is because 9/10 times, we need to draw back on prior learning to bridge the new content we are going to teach. Daily warm-ups are an amazing system to utilize to do just this without taking a whole day to reteach. Sometimes, students just need a reminder on how to do something, not a whole lesson.

Daily Math Warm-Ups

Spiraling New Learning

I am a huge believer in the constant spiraling of new content we teach. Students need multiple interactions and opportunities with a skill to fully understand it and learn it. We obviously can’t take multiple days on every single lesson we teach, so warm-ups help provide those additional opportunities to students.

How To Structure Effective Daily Warm-Ups

There are multiple things to think about and consider when implementing a warm-up system. Remember that simple is better because it will allow for you to stay consistent all year and for your students to master the routine. 

How To Effectively Use Daily Warm-Ups

Presentation of Daily Warm-Ups

The first thing you will want to decide on is how you will present your daily warm-ups to students. Here are some examples:

  • A slide displayed
  • Hand written on a whiteboard
  • A daily, weekly, or monthly print out

I personally use a slideshow to display my daily warm-ups because it allows for me to do a few things:

  • I can include sections for other important information I need students to see when we start class (their assignments, reminders, supplies for the day, etc.)
  • I can refer back to previous year’s slideshows to check my pacing and reuse questions instead of starting from scratch.

Because I project my warm-up questions, my students complete them on a whiteboard. I will get into this process in more detail below but be sure to consider all of the options and what would work best for your students.

The “How” With Daily Warm-Ups

Once you have decided on the presentation of your warm-up system, next you need to think about “how” students will make this happen daily.

Will this be a part of their morning or “starting class” routine? Where will they complete their actual warm-up questions if it is not paper-based? 

Here’s what this looks like in my classroom:

  • Students walk in and go to their seat
  • They look at the slide that has what they need to write in their planner, take out the supplies listed, and glue their notebook pages in
  • Then, they complete their warm-up questions for the day on their whiteboard

The whole process is about 5-6 minutes and students are expected to be done and ready to check and share by the time the timer goes off.

How To Effectively Use Daily Warm-Ups In Middle School Math

Accountability With Daily Warm-Ups

This piece of using warm-ups in your classroom is the trickiest for many. The worry that if there is not a grade every single day for the questions, students will not actually do them is a legitimate concern. Everyone has different students, classroom cultures, and expectations, but what I will say is that it is doable and it happens daily in my classroom.

My students complete their warm-up questions Monday-Thursday as described above. Once time is up, I have them, check with a partner and then we go over it whole class. They get the same 2-3 question types for the entire week. I am constantly monitoring the room during these first 5-6 minutes of class and reinforcing my expectation if students are slacking. 

On Friday’s, I give a “checkpoint”. This is basically a half sheet with the same 2-3 question types they did all week. They complete this independently (5 minutes or less) and it goes in for a grade. 

This allows me to keep students accountable (I just do a few points but we do one each week so they do add up) and it allows for me to see what students are still struggling with a concept even after the extra practice all week.

Differentiation With Warm-Ups

As the year progresses and you get closer to state testing, daily warm-ups are a great way to provide differentiation to your students. Although you could do this at any point in the year, it is helpful for the students to know the routine to the t and be extremely independent for this to be productive.

What I do when I am ready for this with a class is provide a different slideshow to a group of students who can use the extra challenge. I either place my iPad in front of their table group so they can see the questions or put the slideshow in their Google Classroom so that one student can access it for the team each day.

This strategy has been super helpful in providing that much needed differentiation to students who are ready to move past the basic spiraling!

Resources for Effective Daily Warm-Ups

This process is super beneficial to students, but can also be very overwhelming as the teacher. Here are some tools and resources to help you get started with implementing daily warm-ups in your middle school math classroom:

  • 12 Weeks of 6th Grade Math Warm-Ups:  If you’re a 6th grade math teacher and looking for something that is 100% ready to just implement, then this resource is for you. I created an entire 12 week bundle of slideshows with warm-up questions, a pacing guide, and implementation tips. This resource follows the exact system that I use and described above.
  • Daily Warm-Up Student Template: If you’re wanting to grade students’ warm ups and/or want more accountability, these printable warm-up templates can be used for your students to solve/answer their questions daily. There are 5 options to choose from in this resource.
  • Daily Warm-Up Slideshow Template: Looking for a ready to go slideshow template to just input your own questions into? This template will allow you to easily implement a streamlined system for students.
  • Free Template: If you’re just looking to get your feet wet with the idea of daily warm-ups and want to figure out what will work for you, I have multiple free slideshow templates that are free. They’re simple and will help give you a better idea of what kind of system will work for you and your students. 

If you’re interested in more ideas like this and freebies, be sure that you are on my email list by clicking here.

How To Effectively Use Daily Warm-Ups In Middle School Math

Daily warm-ups are a huge component to supporting students in the math classroom. With the right system and procedures in place, you can make it happen in your classroom with very little effort. Remember, do what will work best for you so that you are not doing extra work.

I hope you were able to grab some ideas on how to effectively use daily warm-ups in middle school math.

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