And, surprisingly, my students love the bellwork. Students from last year often pop their head in during the passing period to try their hand at the projected question. Students compete against each other to see who can solve the problem the quickest. Bragging rights are earned among one's friends by correctly solving the bellwork question.
So, what was the addition? It's the box in the upper left hand corner of the screen. I started writing out exactly what supplies my students need that day. Why didn't I think of this sooner? The idea came to me out of frustration. I would ask my students to get out their notebooks. Three hands would shoot up. Mine's in my locker. Mine's in my car. Can I go get mine from so-and-so's room? Ugh. Wasted learning time.
Then, there was all the time we wasted going to the back of the room to get scissors or glue or rulers or whatever was needed when I asked students to complete a task involving any of these. Some days, students would go ahead and get scissors when we didn't need them. I would look up to see these scissors being swung around their pencils when they got bored. Seriously? Yes, I promise I teach high school. My students just don't always (or ever?) act their age.
My students now have no excuse for not being prepared for class. And, you know what? My students LOVE this. They love knowing exactly what they need. I am empowering my students. I am helping set them up for success. No, I am helping them set themselves up for success. And, it's something that takes me 30 seconds out of my day to do.
I became convinced of the power of this last week when I overheard one of my special education students talking to herself before class started. She is one of the sweetest girls you could ever meet. Math just doesn't come easily for her at all. But, she tries so hard. Here's what I overheard:
Writing Utensil? Check!
Dry Erase Board? Check!
I'm on top of it today!
I'm less frustrated. My students are less frustrated. We're using time more wisely in class. I just can't figure out why I didn't think of this earlier. Did I expect students to read my mind? I don't know what I thought. But, I guess it doesn't matter now. This is going to become a permanent part of how I run my classroom from now on.