New Year, New Warm-Up Format

As with every year, I have good intentions with #Blaugust. I know it’s supposed to be daily, but if I can get myself to post weekly, that would be a huge improvement.

Last year, I updated my warm-up files so that all five days would fit on one piece of paper (front-back); I wanted to use less paper overall and I wanted the students’ warm-up folders to be more reasonably sized. This year, I want to incorporate Estimation 180 into the warm-up, but I want to do it every day. So, I added this section to the top of the page:


Here’s the pdf and the word doc.

Warm-Up System: Again

I loved having warm-up schedules last year, but for pre-algebra in particular, the formatting was not as cohesive as it could’ve been. By only having a template for Thursday and Friday, I had to print out the pages I wanted from What’s Next and from Week by Week Essentials, and then I had to order all of the pages before running through the copier. Occasionally, I made a mistake. Also, my students really struggled with finding and completing the patterns and with answering all 10 questions. Sometimes, they just gave up and we’d end up using a lot of class time doing the warm-up together.

This year, I’ve reformatted the warm-up schedule to incorporate some of Sarah Hagan’s fun tasks:


On Monday, the students will do 6 mental math problems, which will be projected on the board. I think I’ll pull 6 of the 10 featured in the Week by Week Essentials. I’m using “Marvelous Events” instead of “Good Things” just because I wanted the first letter of the subtitles to match the first letter of the day of the week.

Tuesday is going to incorporate a timer and 20 basic facts. I wasn’t sure what to do as the second part (I wanted to keep fun facts on Friday, so I didn’t want to do trivia again), but then I saw Elissa Miller’s newest post with talking points and loved it. I think it’ll be really interesting to get the students’ perspectives on those statements.

On Wednesday, I’ll be incorporating patterns by using Fawn’s Visual Patterns, but I won’t have the pre-algebra students do as much as I expect from the Algebra I students. I want them to be able to draw the next step and then describe how the pattern is being generated. The second part is Wittzle, which I hadn’t heard of until I saw Sarah’s post, but it seems very similar to Krypto, which I teach my students during the first week of school. I think this will be a good challenge every week, similar to how I include KenKen for Algebra I.

Thursday still features “Would you rather…?” questions, but again I rephrased it. The teaser will come from the Wackie Wordies section on

Finally, Friday has a new feature. I’m going to show a mistake on the board for students to analyze. They have to figure out what the mistake is and how they would recommend correcting it. The fun fact is a fill-in-the-blank trivia statement, just like I did last year.

The whole week relies on a template, like my Algebra I did last year, which will make preparing copies so much easier! I hope that the new schedule will work even better than last year’s. I really think the variety and the community-building will pay off. I’m so grateful to everyone that has shared their warm-up strategies and ideas!

Warm-Up System

For the past few years, I’ve relied on Daily Math Practice, Grades 6+ for the Math 7 warm-ups and it has worked well for both the 6th and 7th graders. I would make copies for each 9 weeks and put them in folders with fasteners for each student. This worked pretty well, as the students learned to get their folder first thing and work on the warm-up for the first 3 or so minutes of class (as soon as the bell rings, I hit the timer on the SmartBoard). In algebra I, I would just come up with some review questions to post on the board and the students would write their answers on lined paper in their folders.

The first year I did all that, I tried to grade the folders every week, which was tedious. I’ve stopped grading warm-ups, but the students still do them.

This year, since I’m teaching pre-algebra, I don’t want to use the Daily Math Practice because it’s too elementary. So, I went about searching for a new system. There aren’t any good warm-up books for either pre-algebra or algebra I, as far as I can tell. But, I came across Fawn Nguyen’s post, which inspired me to work on something for pre-algebra, and then when I read Matt Vaudrey’s tweet, I decided to keep going for a real system for algebra I.

The first thing in all of the warm-up folders this year will be the schedule:

Pre-Algebra Warm-Up Schedule

(Fonts used are Sketch College, Raditad, Organic Fridays (Lined), Bradley Hand ITC, Matura MT Script Capitals, MV Boli, and Segoe Script)

So, pre-algebra’s warm-up schedule is borrowed heavily from Fawn. Monday uses patterns from What’s Next. Tuesday (choosing 3 of the 5 problems) and Wednesday use the Grade 8 Week by Week Essentials provided by North Carolina. On Thursday, I decided to use questions from the Would You Rather? blog. Finally, Fridays will be the Fun Facts, available on Fawn’s blog, and review questions related to that day’s quiz.

I plan on printing everything out and assembling it in order beforehand, to put in the folders. So, to keep the students organized, I’ve made a template for Thursday’s and Friday’s responses.

For algebra I’s schedule, I wanted to increase the rigor a bit and also have it be different enough from pre-algebra that students that have me twice won’t be bored.

Algebra I Warm-Up Schedule

On Monday, students will be given 5 mental math problems; I’m using the ones from AEA 267. On Tuesday, I’m going to show one video from Graphing Stories for the students to practice graphing. On Wednesday, the students will complete the form from Visual Patterns on one pattern. On Thursday, students will answer the algebraic sense problem from this daily problem solving doc and will complete a KenKen puzzle (starting the year with 3 x 3). Finally, on Friday, it’ll be Fun Facts & Review, just like in pre-algebra. I also made a template for the algebra I warm-up, which includes writing space for all 5 days.

I’m feeling really great about having figured the warm-ups out for both classes. This is my last day “off” before going back to work tomorrow (meetings all day!), but I’m riding this wave of productivity as long as I can.

One Unit Down, 9 to Go

I have one week left until I go back to work and I’m finally feeling good about my first unit for pre-algebra. I’ve never taught this class before, but since I’ve taught the ones immediately preceding and immediately following, I think I’ll be okay. The curriculum map I got originally was a bit of a mess, but I think I’ve figured out a pretty good system for the year.

The first unit is called Algebraic Expressions and the five skills of focus are: verbal translations, evaluating expressions, identity/inverse/zero properties, the distributive property, and associative/commutative properties. I finally have exit tickets prepared for all the skills as well as the entire homework/vocabulary packet complete.

The part I’m giddiest about is the class website. I’ve been using Google Sites for the past few years for each class and really like it. It makes it so easy to update and organize.

The home page has the Google calendar, which will actually have each day’s plans on it once September arrives.


Each unit will have its own page and the homework file will be included in case anyone loses the original. I actually already have the Unit Organizer prepared and posted for the first unit:


And… the best part of all is that I’ve actually updated all the skills for Unit 1 so that the SOL is posted as well as helpful YouTube videos for review and attachments of notes at the bottom.


Of course, I’m going to have to make myself keep doing this for the other 9 units. The good thing is that this is fun for me! Maybe I can use this next week to get Unit 2 done…