Spiral review through the use of a math warm up is a great way to keep learning fresh for students and preview new material. Their power is infinite!
The math warm up is an important part of the daily math block routine. It opens the lesson up on a positive note that will get students’ math brains working and build on their prior knowledge.
To read more about how I set up my math block check out this post.
Using a Math Warm Up
A math warm up should be a quick no-frills way to open up your math block without wasting time while getting a big impact. The PERFECT way to achieve this is by sticking to the same familiar format each day so your students can worry about the content, not directions.
A math warm up is the perfect way to start your math block. Upon entering your classroom students can immediately get to work on answering the questions either independently, in partners, or as a team. This routine is the same every morning and provides the predictability that students need, but keeps the content rigorous.
After giving enough time to complete, go over the questions together modeling the strategies you would like to see your students use.
When I began using a math warm up I chose to do each day of the first two weeks together. This allowed me to showcase my expectations for my students as well give them great examples of how to solve problems they may not have seen before.
Finally, to close out the math warm up process I have student track their data. This is as simple as a check sheet with the topics and weeks for students to color in what they got correct and set goals for areas of improvement.
I have found that having students track their own data is not only helpful, but empowering. By having the responsibility of holding their own data students are able to take ownership of their learning, set goals for growth, and celebrate their successes. This keeps student engagement high throughout the year.
This data can also be used to build your small groups for re-teaching by standard.
Cooperative Learning Strategies for Completing a Math Warm Up
Math warm up questions are perfect for completing through cooperative learning strategies such as Sage & Scribe or Find Someone Who. After students have completed their questions, go over the questions together modeling the strategies you would like your students to use.
Sage & Scribe
Students are partnered and given one weekly warm up. Partner A (the scribe) is seated with a writing utensil and partner B (the sage) stands behind them. Partner B reads the question and tells the scribe what to write explaining their th
inking and mathematical reasoning. Partner A writes, coaches their partner, and praises them. After each question partners trade positions and roles.
Find Someone Who
This strategy is a great way to complete a whole weekly warm up in a single day when you aren’t able to dedicate the time each day. I wouldn’t recommend using this strategy every week, but it is an engaging way to mix it up!
Each student has a copy of the weekly warm up. Students stand up, put their hands in the air, and pair up with a
partner. They greet their partner, trade recording sheets, and choose a question to answer then trade papers again. After thanking their partners students repeat the process with a new partner until all their questions are answered. I challenge my students to work with as many partners as possible and answer as many different questions as possible.
Other Ways to Use a Math Warm Up
As a Home-School Connection
Are parents asking you what you are doing in math during class or what they can do to help their students? Use these questions to occasionally send home so that students can read and complete the questions with their families. After giving to students to complete at home take some time in class to read through and answer the questions together modeling the strategies you would like your students to use.
Small Group Re-teaching
These questions are perfect for completing in a small group setting with you guiding your students through the process of solving each problem.
Choosing a Math Warm Up
I prefer to have students working on grade level during their math warm up to review skills learned during the year as well as preview content that is coming up later in the year. By spiraling content throughout the year, students become familiar with rigorous questions and how to solve them.
I have created grade level warm ups that are TEKS based and focus on the readiness standards for each grade level. Each warm up includes 2-3 rigorous questions per day, answer keys, student data tracking sheets, and a place for weekly goal setting.