Tag Archives: norms

Exit Tickets and Group Work Norms

Ever experience kids packing up 5 minutes before the bell? I definitely did during student teaching, but half-way through, with support from my cooperating teacher and help from another math teacher, I decided to implement exit tickets. It definitely made a difference. Kids worked until the end of class when I handed out their exit ticket sheets and put the prompt up on the Smartboard. It was great. The other math teacher who did exit tickets used a weekly sheet with a space for each day’s answer, so dutifully followed her lead, but I didn’t really enjoy keeping track of the sheets for a whole week and it was a pain to pass them out at the end of each class. The kids complained that it took too long to get their sheets back so they didn’t have enough time to answer the question.

So anyway, this year I plan to just have a bunch of half-sheets of paper printed out for exit tickets. I am wasting more paper this way, which is a concern of mine, but it’ll have to do for now. On the back of the half-sheet there is a participation reflection. I’m  focusing on group work and creating healthy math culture in my classroom this year, so I want to remind the kids of our group work norms every day, and I want them to do some reflection on the day, hence the three questions on the back of the exit ticket.

I really like all of the norms I’ve decided to use, but unfortunately there are twelve of them, which is probably too many. I should try to shorten the list, but I don’t know which ones to give up. They’re all important to me!

Well, here’s the file with the exit ticket on the front and the reflection on the back. Nothing fancy, but check it out, and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Do you use exit tickets? How do you implement them, and what do you like about them? What classroom norms do you use? How do you get your students to think about your norms?

(I don’t have any word processing software on my computer, so I just use google docs for everything, but in the process of uploading my documents to scribd, the spacing gets a little weird, but you should still get the idea.)

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Filed under culture, formative assessment, group work

Creating math culture

Lately, I’ve been thinking about classroom culture, specifically math classroom culture. I want to create a culture of asking questions, learning from mistakes, sharing ideas, and justifying answers. Basically, I want my students to participate in rich mathematical discourse, and to do this, I am going to have to create an environment in which they feel safe enough to contribute.

One thing I tried while student teaching was to create a class mission statement. I had the students brainstorm ideas about what our class’s goals and purposes should be, and then we came up with some sort of summary to be the class mission. I didn’t do a great job with this activity and never referred to the mission statement again, but it was a small step in the right direction.

My cooperating teacher had group work norms posted on the wall, and I really liked that idea. I think they could be especially effective if we kept returning to them as class. My cooperating teacher suggested picking one to focus on every day, so I would announce one at the start of group work and tell the kids to keep it in mind as they worked. I didn’t do it every day, but I thought it helped the days when I did it. When I worked as an AVID tutor, I also began each tutorial session with an expectation.

So one thing I definitely want to put on my walls this year is a set of classroom norms. Some really good ones from my cooperating teacher’s wall were: “Reach consensus, not majority rule”, “Ask your group before you ask your teacher”, “Criticize ideas, not people”, and “Ask for reasons, not answers”. I’m definitely going to use those. They are similar to the ones Ilana Horn just posted on her awesome blog, Teaching Math Culture. Sarah Hagan at Math Equals Love also just posted the pdfs of the classroom norms she’s going to put on her wall, so check those out.

It’s also important to keep referring back to the norms. They aren’t just going to magically become part of my classroom, so, as I mentioned earlier, I want to pick one to have the kids focus on each day. We’ll see how that goes. If I’m really good, I might figure out some way to get the kids to reflect at the end of class on how they did with that norm.

How do you create classroom culture? Do you use norms? Which ones have worked in your classroom?


Filed under culture, group work