This is the landing page for a school year’s worth of Algebra-centric warm ups. The reason they are “for Geometry teachers” is due to the original motivation for the project, which you can read more about in my explainer post. The short version is this: Algebra skills are important and ought to be practiced often. However many schools incorporate Geometry in between Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, leaving a yearlong gap in Algebra experiences. Utilizing quick Algebra warm ups is one way to bridge that gap.
Below you’ll find warm ups centered on Algebra topics for every day for 36 school weeks. It’s possible that’s a few too many or a few too few. You have the option and allowance to make copies and edit as you see fit.
The planning document and accompanying matrix showcases the topics and the types of problems. The warm ups showcase a variety of problem-types that you may wish to imbue into your regular teaching practice. These problem types include all-access tasks such as “Which One Doesn’t Belong?”, Number Talks, Pattern Talks, “Tell me what you know”, Notice and Wonder, “think like a test-maker”, thin slicing, and many others. While these are smaller tasks, many of them aspire to quality pedagogy. In particular, I’d like to shout out the following websites, books, and resources as they offered inspiration for task-types:
- Michael Pershan’s Teaching Math With Examples
Warm ups occur at the beginning of class, typically taking 3-5 minutes. In my class I have warm ups posted before class starts and have an expectation that students begin work on them immediately upon getting settled into their seats, allowing for some socializing. That expectation occurs from Day 1 and does not stop for even a single school day. You may wish to facilitate them using journals, discussion, or weekly turned-in recording sheets.
While these are intended to be a years’ worth of warm ups, I could envision other uses. You may wish to pull some of the individual problems to incorporate on regular assignments. You could even develop a pre-assessment by cobbling together many of the problem types.
The warm ups are presented in two formats: on viewable google documents and viewable google slides. You may copy them to adapt and use in your class. You’ll find both formats and an outline by clicking the button below.
OK, so what is this again?
A bank of quick problems intended to keep students Algebra skills on the up and up, ideal for 5-minute warm ups.
OK, so why is this again?
Check out the explainer blog post. Algebraic thinking is crucial for academic success, so it’s important to keep students engaged in it even during a year of Geometry.
How many warm ups are there?
Thirty six weeks times 5 days/week = 180 days of warm-ups.
Do you expect me to use all of these? I have, like pep-rally days and random off days.
Of course not! Just like my problem based curriculum maps, you’re probably not going to use all of the tasks. Use the ones you want.
How do I facilitate these warm ups?
My recommendation is to establish an expectation from the first day of school to have students begin to work on warm ups immediately. On the very first day of school I have a warm up. I greet students at the door and welcome them. I then direct them to their seat and tell them to begin working on the task that is on the board/screen. If you’d like, you have have them record their warm ups using this recording sheet. Or they can keep a notebook. It’s up to you!
Should I grade these?
I’ll tell you what I did. I gave an existent, but statistically insignificant grade for warm-ups. Think: 5 points in a week where students may accumulate 150 points. I graded for completion, not correctness. But it’s up to you!
How did you select the topics?
I examined Pre-Algebra and Algebra textbooks and Common Core State Standards. I want to note that these are intended for students who have taken, completed and passed Algebra 1. I also chose to emphasize topics that are either crucial for Algebra 2 or topics that my students require additional practice with.
Are these original problems?
Mostly they are, unless there is a link pointing to the original source.
Will you update the warm ups?
I intend to when I come across pedagogically sound (but small) routines or as I further enhance my learning from my colleagues.
What about topic X? It’s not in the document and my students should know that from Algebra!
Is there an answer key?
No. Maybe half of the problems are answer-less or have multiple answers. And I encourage teachers to do math with students rather than do math at students. So do the warm ups with the students! Maybe you’ll make a mistake! That’s ok!
I’ll add more info to this post as I continue to get questions on them. Feel free to ping me with additional questions or feedback!