Monthly Archives: August 2014

Do Nows (and KenKen)

Inspired by James Cleveland and Lisa Henry, I’m thinking deeply about my start of class routine. I need those first five minutes to do business stuff, set the tone, get kids working, set up the day’s lesson and a million other things. So here’s what my start looks like:

  • Students come into class,  start the warm up problem.
  • The warm up problem is a “Try Now”, as anyone can try it. I was also sick of the term Do Now.
  • When the bell rings I turn off the lights and students must immediately be silent.
  • We math-etate to get our minds focused on math. More on that here.

Often, the Try Now problem is a review of what we are working on, sometimes leading to a debate-y share out. I’m working on putting more thought into these problems, but it is the norm, with two exceptions:

ESTIMATION WEDNESDAYS – something I want to start this year with Estimation 180. I’ve only used it once in the past year. I want to make it a routine.

KENKEN FRIDAYS* – For years now I have had students work on KenKen puzzles on Fridays. I find a 4×4 and a 6×6, put them side by side on a half-sheet of paper, and pass them out at the start of Fridays. In the beginning of the year, I make sure to find easy ones, and really walk students through them. It’s tough for new people. However, I think the number sense (improving their times tables-ish math) and the logic are great for all students! After a few minutes of silent work time, we go over the KenKen at the board:

I or another student fill in the KenKen at the board based on directions from the class. The catch is that we do it with a “pen”, meaning that we can never erase a number we put on the board. So, students can not make guesses. They can only have us put a number (anywhere on the board) if they can convince us that it is the right number in the right spot, with no other options possible. Here’s where debate stuff comes in.

*This coming year, I will offer students the option of KenKen or a Friday Letter on Fridays. I’m so excited about this idea I got from Rebecka Peterson at TMC!


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